Sunday, September 7, 2008

Feeding a Toddler: Subterfuge

It occurred to me today. I've mentioned here that MetaBoy is a good eater. He's always curious to taste new things, especially food he sees us eating. The other day, I heard myself saying "no, you have to finish your pasta first. Then you can have some fish." He definitely didn't get this adventurous streak from me. I can't wait until he learns to cook!

But I digress. The reason for this post is to say that regardless of how well he eats on average, he's not always game for eating a meal. If he's tired, for example, getting him to eat a meal comprised of his favorite foods is nearly impossible. He insists on holding the spoon, but in his tired state, food ends up everywhere except in his mouth. He might start to pick up food with his fingers, or even better, toss said food with his fingers. Once the tossing begins, everything tends to find its way to the floor. Food, his cup, his place mat, his bib, my sanity, my dignity...and so on.

Short of ending the meal, there's little that can remedy such situations. I stumbled upon one thing to help the derailed meal back on track: distractions. I start doing something simple to engage him. Singing a favorite song like "row, row, row your boat" is something he can follow along to and add in a few words here or there (e.g., boat, dream). Or I start asking him questions that he has to think about like "where's your nose?" This tends to help him forget about how awful he feels, he starts to smile, and responds. Once he's smiling, it's almost like he forgets how disinterested he was in eating, so I'll sneak in a spoonful here or there. In a few minutes, dinner's gone.

It's worked well enough to ensure most meals get at least close to finished. I'm not sure of what we'll do once MetaBoy catches on to my little scheme. Then again, I'm hoping I won't have to trick MetaTeenager into eating his dinner by singing "Old McDonald."


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

MetaTeenager? That just doesn't sound right.

And wow, he is a mini-you, no?