May and June have been a crazy couple of months for the McGrew family. My husband, Tim graduated from the MBA program at William and Mary, AJ graduated from preschool, we have had tons of family visiting and most recently our family has relocated to Alexandria, VA. It is just a few hours north of our happy home in Williamsburg, but it is like living in a totally different universe. While my husband and I are excited about all of the great things our new city has to offer, the Babe and her brother are not quite as enthused. We are trying our best to make a smooth transition as possible for them, getting the house together, visiting the new school, joining a pool, but it is still definitely challenging at times. While AJ is really just moody, the Babe is trying her best to take control over every aspect of her world that she can. Truthfully, I am not sure if it is the move or her setting a prime example of the terrible two’s. Most likely it is a combination of both. The most frustrating thing is that she has decided to demonstrate her power over her food. As every parent knows, you cannot force your child to eat, and it appears that the Babe has figured that out too. We all know how it goes, making progress (in any aspect of child development) and then BOOM!, back to square one. She had been doing so well, sharing meals with us as a family, eating most of what she was given. Now who knows where her mood will take her, there are some meals where she literally will take one bite.
So what’s the game plan? We are sticking by our guns and still starting with the same foods that the rest of the family is eating at the meal. On average, she is initially refusing the meal about 90% of the time. At that point one of two things will happen (after sufficient time has passed for her to debate about it and for us to at least eat something). We will A. bribe her with small pieces of a coveted snack (currently pretzels) for taking bites of her dinner. Or B. offer her other nutrient-dense, easily prepared foods (cheese, PB & J, fruit, etc.). Now you may not agree with these tactics, but in our house they are not permanent and our goal is to get her to eat the dinner or something substantial. Dinner is really the picky time around here for both the Babe and AJ, mainly because it is the one meal where they do not get to choose the main course. It is the meal where we push them to try new foods and new ways to prepare familiar foods. At breakfast and lunch, they are given several options for what they would like to eat, so those meals are usually met with minimal resistance. Just as we have done before, we are going to stick with it, try not to get frustrated and just keep moving along until this phase is over. We have to remember the big picture, that as long as she is healthy, growing sufficiently and happy it really won’t matter that for a month or so she had to eat a piece of pretzel between every few bites to motivate her. This too shall pass.