Ollie will be 5 this year and still I am having horrendous problems getting him to eat properly.
The thing is - mention this to any other parent - and they will always have some advice for you, based on their own experience. The simple fact is though that none of this clever advice ever works because they don't know my son.
I don't mind people who have had similar problems who offer advice - even though I know it won't work. What drives me up the wall is the endless leaflets, books (gourmet food for babies etc) that simply assume it's easy to cook and prepare healthy food for your children. It applies to people in real life too. Now I have no problem with people who offer well-meaning advice, it is those who patronise and assume you are a bad parent because you cannot get your children to eat properly. How I would love to hand over my son to some of these people for a few days and see how far their advice and strategies get them.
I've tried all the advice going - the give them what they want and have what you want strategy. Sooner or later they will show interest in what's on your plate. Wrong. Ollie has shown zero interest in any food ever, every single thing he has ever tried he has had to be practically force fed. And he never asks for food, unless it is biscuits or sweets or cakes and that certainly isn't down to bad parenting as we barely let him have anything like that in the first two years at least.
Quite simply, he wants what he wants, and that's it. If we did not control what he ate (as much as we can) he would quite happily live entirely on bread.
Here are things that he will freely eat:
Here are a few things he will eat under protest and with great stress and aggro for all concerned. For example at breakfast time I can get a bowl of cereal down him but it takes half an hour of screaming, protesting etc etc. Very stressful for me. Now I could give him a slice of toast every day but it's not enough.
Cereal (Shreddies - refusal to try any other)
Fruit (Bananas only - very occasionbal raisins or pineapple)
Roast Dinner - Potatoes and Yorkshire pudding only.
Cheese - cheddar only and grated
Meat - a small amount of ham.
Casserole - if forced - carrots and potatoes only.
Rice (very occasionally).
Like I said any of the above I can get down but only with a huge and stressful battle. Also the portion sizes he eats are laughably small, less even than his 1 year old brother - who incidentally is also starting to show negative signs on the food front.
Before I go any further - please don't anyone reading this try and offer me any advice - That's not meant as an insult, as I know you probably mean well but I really have heard it all before. Only Lynda I would think having lived here for a while would understand.
Here are things he totally refuses to eat:
Meat (nearly all)
Vegetables and Salad
And virtually every other foodstuff known to man that you can think of.
For example if I were to make something quite simple like a little Chicken, Mushroom, Pasta, Sauce sort of thing - well he would simply refuse it outright. Same goes for anything like Pizza.
Also any meal that has anything unidentified on it - herbs being a good example. But even if a roast potato has a speck of anything on it, even if it's just a crunchy piece of potato or a stray speck of pepper, anything that does not conform with his ideal of perfection is rejected.
Also everything is too hot, he cries and screams - this is with things that have been out of the oven for 10 minutes and I am already not enjoying mine because it's got too cold. Allegedly his is still hot enough to burn his mouth though.
He sniffs everything - and then rejects it if it does not meet with his approval. He constantly asks what flavour things are - which is incredibly annoying - what flavour is a potato? It's potato flavour!!! Things are the wrong colour "don't want this slice of ham, it's too dark".
To those who say give him what he wants well I don't want to stink the house out with the chip pan every night, we have chips once a week, sometimes twice and that's all. I can't pretend my diet is the healthiest in the world but at least I make an effort to cook different dishes. But now my will to do it is fading rapidly due to the lack of appreciation and the way things are going I feel he is dragging me down with him.
Because nearly every mealtime is hell, I spend a couple of hours preparing a lovely fresh meal from scratch and all I get is a screaming child (or two) a stressed out wife because of it and after a tough day at work, and I am stressed out, the dinner table is a battleground, before we can even eat I have to clear up all the crap that's been left lying around the kitchen and all over the table, some days I just want to cry. Note - this is also after I have spent the entire day clearing up after them, making this house a lovely clean family home for them all. Most nights after tea I just go up to my room for an hour, listen to some Emma B to chill out for a while, then I can come down and just about relax and enjoy the evening. With the help of wine. Even then he won't go to sleep, I've tried banning music, toys even removing his light bulb (draconian measures) but to no avail. Other nights I come in from work at 1am and he's bouncing up and down on his bed, oblivious. Then he's in a foul mood next day.
Oh well, obviously I am a rubbish parent, can't get him to eat properly, can't get him to sleep.
Never mind, it's my job I suppose, I could be still sat back at Nielsen's being unappreciated by them, so you can't win. Just some day though, it would be nice to have someone do something nice for me, guess I can dream, I suppose it's unrealistic to expect any appreciation from a 4 year old, he had better pay me back big style for this when he's grown up.
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Jason x x