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Advice on going on holiday with sis and niece over eating issues

(136 Posts)
pingu2209 Tue 28-Jun-11 17:01:39

I have typed a few subject headings but they all seemed quite explosive and I want advice rather than being shouted down, so I opted for a plain subject with detail in the message! I was the OP who started the fussy eating thread, so those of you who have read/taken part in that you may now understand why I started it.

My niece is 13 and an increadibly fussy eater. For the first 4-5 years she would eat anything, she was a human dustbin. However, over the past 8 years she has become more and more fussy over food. My sister and brother in law do not see it, I believe it is because they have adapted how they eat over the years so they end up only buying what she likes etc. But it drives the rest of the family mad as we end up selecting where and what we all eat based on purely her fussiness.

I have eaten with my sister and niece a lot, for Sunday roasts and bbqs etc. My husband and children think it is extremely unfair that my niece (their cousin) gets a huge portion of meat (because that is literally all she will eat) and they get a small portion with veg and potatoes. However, we put up with it because it is normally just one day.

When we get together my neice will eat secretly away from my children so that they don't get any of whatever she is eating - normally this is a whole tube of Pringles, or Jaffa Cakes or those yoghurty pudding things by Cadburies. I don't mind her doing this as I actually don't want them eating all that junk around meal times and they would nag for it if they saw their cousin eating it. However, when she comes to my house she often ends up eating far more than her fair share of the junk food, which has not gone unnoticed by my husband, children or myself. Once she ate 4 Screwball icecreams in one sitting - but they were supposed to be 1 each (1 for her and 1 each for my children).

For the first time ever I am going abroad on a self catering holiday with my father and step mother, brother and wife and son, sister and husband and daughter and my husband and children. There will be a lot of us!

In order to share the work load my sister has asked that there is a jobs rota. She has asked that she does the cooking and others do the cleaning etc. I asked to share all the jobs especially the cooking because I enjoy cooking (as does she, sister in law and step mother). My sister asked me what I would cook. I said I don't know but it is unlikely to be hot meals as it will be warm weather so it is most likely to be platters of food such as tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, cheeses, ham, pate, freshly cut bread, dips, crudite etc.

My sister has said that her daughter won't eat that and she really only eats roast meat or pasta with Ragu sauce. Therefore, she would rather cook so that her daughter can eat with the family without there being any issues around the table with the family making comment over what her daughter eats (my sister is correct, we will all make comment over my niece's attitude to food). My sister said she would cook roast meats and pasta as this is pretty much all her daughter eats.

I said to my sister I wasn't happy with the cooking arrangement and if we shared the cooking, on the days she cooked her daughter could join in the family meal, but if she didn't like what was on offer from her step grandmother or aunties, then she could have pasta boiled up for her with some Ragu sauce poured over it.

To be frank, i don't want roast meat or pasta every day of the holiday!

I have not yet said this, but I would also like to ensure that all the children (and adults) get their fair share of the things like biscuits, ice cream, crisps etc. I want to suggest that when we buy something like biscuits or crisps etc, that the person who has opened them does not hoof down the lot of them. I can picture the scenario, 1/2 hour before lunch my niece opens the crisps (because my sister will let her) and she offers them to my children and everyone else. I will say no my children can't have any as we are soon to eat a meal. So she will then eat the lot, not saving my children's fair share.

Am I being unreasonable? Over controlling?

pingu2209 Tue 28-Jun-11 17:02:52

Forgot to say, my father is paying for all the food. So it is not as simple as my sister buying her daughter junk food and me buying my children junk food and keeping the two separate. It will all be in one cupboard etc.

worraliberty Tue 28-Jun-11 17:06:36

Sounds like a nightmare, I don't know what to suggest.

She does sound very greedy, but to be fair you've all pandered to her..including yourself.

She wouldn't have my kid's screwballs, that's for sure!

worraliberty Tue 28-Jun-11 17:07:15

I meant she wouldn't have 'eaten' my kid's screwballs blush

LaurieFairyCake Tue 28-Jun-11 17:07:31

I'm sorry but if your father is paying for all the food why bother getting annoyed.

Take the kids out for meals or ice creams if you feel they're being hard done by with regards to junk food - or take your own and keep it in your room.

On a simple level (with no emotion) you do not want to eat what your sister is preparing - so don't. Prepare separately or add extra things to the (cold) meats that you do want to eat - salads/breads/dips etc.

I would try and ignore the nieces food issues and not comment - frankly it won't do her any good having you all mentioning it.

Nixea Tue 28-Jun-11 17:09:27

If it's that much of an issue then you just need to say something to your sister. You're both adults so surely you could just tell her that you don't want to eat two meals for the whole holiday.

Sounds like you've all let her have her own way for a while and now might be the time to put your fut down - especially if everyone else feels the same way.

SpringFollows Tue 28-Jun-11 17:09:38

TBH I do not know what to suggest either. The sensible suggestion- when you cook she eats it or self caters you have already suggested.

This kid is holding her entire family hostage over her 'eating issues'. It is a control issue that Alfred Adler would have used in a case study, I swear it.

I do not have a 13 year old yet, but i sure as heck would be saying 'make yourself beans on toast then Missy or eat what we eat'.

Numberfour Tue 28-Jun-11 17:09:39

YANBU. I would insist on having my turn to cook and would explain that neither my family nor I would want a roast or pasta every day.

Your planned trip sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen..............

Popbiscuit Tue 28-Jun-11 17:09:39

She sounds unreasonable and over-controlling. That arrangement is not fair to the rest of you. Someone needs to tell the child to lump-it or like-it and that person should be your sister.

WorzselMummage Tue 28-Jun-11 17:10:05

I would really struggle with this but i dont know what to suggest.

Cutiecat Tue 28-Jun-11 17:10:27

I think you should share the cooking as you suggest and if your neice doesn't like it you sister makes her something else. As for the snacks try to make it fair but explain to your children before you go that just because their cousin is wolfing down the pringles before supper they can't but you will make it up to them the next day. I hope you can resolve it and have a nice family holiday.

thisisyesterday Tue 28-Jun-11 17:11:55

no yanbu

i would suggest to them that you all look after your own food. are you staying in one house??

it is totally unfair that you all have to eat what she dictates

scurryfunge Tue 28-Jun-11 17:13:17

I just wouldn't go on holiday with them as it sounds too stressful. If you feel you have to go could you book accommodation nearby so you can please yourselves. I would also go to a restaurant where people can choose what they want.

FellatioNelson Tue 28-Jun-11 17:13:45

This kind of thing is why I have learnt the hard way to never go on holiday with other people and their children. I have had similar issues over the years with my sister's kids. The biggest bugbear for me is that they expect gallons of fizzy drinks at every meal, and that has never happened in my house.

I think you should ask your sister to just cook for her daughter completely separately. I don't know what to suggest about the crisps and biscuits though, except to have a little chat with your own kids before you go, and agree between yourselves to just grit your teeth and let it pass - and maybe keep a little stash in your room for your own children.

If they want something and there is nothing left from the joint supplies, you could say 'here you are, I brought along a few bits myself in case we needed them ' and just give it to your children. But keep a smile on your face and don't let it spoil the holiday or turn into a row.

Numberfour Tue 28-Jun-11 17:17:56

I am with scurryfunge on this - I would probably not go away with them. DH would not be too charmed either: and our DS is a right bloody fussy twit.

ScarletOHaHa Tue 28-Jun-11 17:18:29

yanbu

I am in a similar situation with the 6 YO son of a friend. I have got to the point that I just don't want to talk about picky eating and pandering to him be the centre of attention EVERY mealtime.

If you share a kitchen I would have it out now and say that you are not prepared to have the menu dictated. Agree times for meal preparation. At 13 she is old enough to make pasta and ragu.

pingu2209 Tue 28-Jun-11 17:19:20

Laurie - I do love my niece and I don't want her to be upset with us all getting on at her. I am very aware of that, which is why I am wondering if I am being unreasonable.

No one in the family wants plain pasta with Ragu sauce, it isn't just me. However, my sister wants us all to eat the same as her daughter so that her daughter can join in the family meal. So 12 people's meals will be determined by 1 person - and a bloody fussy one at that.

Although my father is paying he won't go replacing things like crisps and biscuits if they are all eaten in one day. Grandad will be buying things like that for all his grandchildren, not just one. I want my children to have their fair share. But do know that I am sounding a total nutty control freak.

holyShmoley Tue 28-Jun-11 17:19:28

her eating sounds deeply disordered, would your sister expect you to tow the same line if her disorder were anorexia? Thought not.
I personally could not go on this holiday. Or i would prepare my familiy's meal separately, on addition to the rota. It is stressful even reading your post, but it doesn't sound like a holiday.

Lotkinsgonecurly Tue 28-Jun-11 17:21:33

Can you not sort of have a snack time. Ie, one thing mid morning, afternoon or early evening. Also, you need to man up and stop your sister letting her compulsively eating like this, what they do in their own home is one thing but communally she'll have to share everything like everyone else.

superjobeespecs Tue 28-Jun-11 17:22:24

we always eat out on self catering hols so im no use there but i think you need to let your sis know in no uncertain terms that is is not just her holiday all about her daughter, also if my daughter acted that way i wouldnt be giving in i'd be setting some rules down and apologising for her greed. eating everyones share in one sitting is foul.

grumpypants Tue 28-Jun-11 17:23:23

Load of you so why not have adults eat separately from kids? One meal, one portion of pasta for the fusspot/anorexic and then a grown up meal once they are in bed/ occupied. No reason to comment, no need to eat roasts all day and much less stressful for all incl the girl.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 28-Jun-11 17:23:38

Pingu- your sister is of course, ridiculous. You can't possibly eat ragu and pasta every night on holiday. Tell her to stop being a twat. She's clearly a loon who has made her daughter the way she is.

But the way round it is debatable. I would simply add (entire meals grin) to the pasta/sauce combination - cold meats/cheeses/nice breads/olives/salads and just keep saying with a grin on my face "Oh, I thought these would go nice with the pasta" and just put them on the table.

I would not enter into discussion about it in any way apart from to take my sister privately aside and call her a twat.

ruddynorah Tue 28-Jun-11 17:24:21

So leave her to the cooking. You say you'll lay the table. You put out knives, forks, cold meats, bread, salad, cheese. Job done.

pingu2209 Tue 28-Jun-11 17:26:21

It seems I should put my foot down re meals - which I pretty much have. My sister in law is getting all excited about making spanish omelette or everyone and a large paella. My neice went green when she was talking about it and my sister asked if the paella could be made but without any fish as her daughter wouldn't like it - WTF! I put my foot down then too and said I liked my paella with squid, prawns and muscles - the more the merrier.

However, I need to make a choice. Totally let it go (even if it pisses me and my husband and children off) if my niece eats her way through her and most everyone elses share of the junk food.

or...

Say something and ask that the junk food is put into separate boxes/plates etc to ensure each child gets their fair share.

I have a feeling I may need to let it go. I pissed my sister off enough with the whole insisting upon a seafood paella!

squeakytoy Tue 28-Jun-11 17:27:00

I would be more than happy to tell a teenager and her pandering mother that her attention seeking is not going to over-rule my family holiday.

A 13 year old is more than capable of making her own batch of ragu sauce and boiling up some pasta every meal if that is what she wants.. leave her to it.

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