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Childish or 'parenting'

(47 Posts)
Kif Mon 16-Jul-07 18:29:00

My Dd (3.5) didn't touch her lunch - even though it had her current top food - corn on the cob.

3 on the dot she starts wailing she's hungry. I offer a snack of.... butternut squash or hazelnuts.

Then we had lentil soup for dinner - and I was still a bit cheesed off so I made it to my taste with garlic, cumin and coriander. She was not best impressed - ended up eating mainly cream crackers and an apple.

Was I childish? Or is providing no alternative to adult eating patterns just what you 'do'? If I let her choose she'd eat plain white starch every day (pasta/rice/bread)

She took it manfully - but I feel a bit mean.

FirenzeandZooey Mon 16-Jul-07 18:41:36

Well, you kind of shot yourself in the foot with the soup, I think (I presume you would prefer her to eat lentil soup rather than crackers).

I think it is ok to offer healthy family food without endless alternatives, yes, but it sounds like what you did was deliberately make something that you knew she wouldn't like, to prove a point and because you were hacked off with her.

I also think offering only healthy snacks in fine, but she needs a range of stuff to choose from, in general. If I was hungry between meals and was told "you can only have this or this" I would be pretty fed up quite quickly.

Kif Mon 16-Jul-07 18:52:51

I guess the logic was that it'd stop me getting cheesed off with her if I'd made it more with my own taste in mind rather that 'specially' for her taste. She has to learn spices eventually, no?

That ruddy sweetcorn - I went half an hour out of my way with not-impressed ds to get hold of that, since she'd been talking all about it...

I'm big on family meals, and it winds me up when kids don't eat at the table, and then endlessly fish for toast, yoghurt and biscuits. The whole point of having kids was to have more mouths to cook for

<<I'm a child. I admit it. I'll just go off and mix up an extra glass of chocolate milk for myself>>

FirenzeandZooey Mon 16-Jul-07 18:59:18

Well, I am 35 and I don't like spicy food or garlic. They aren't to everyone's taste...I can manage them if I have to, but would prefer not to. The only things I REALLY cannot abide are two things I was forced (just once for each thing!) to try as a child against my wishes.

It winds me up, as well, and ds is a very adventurous eater. Food is super emotive in many ways, don't you think?

GooseyLoosey Mon 16-Jul-07 19:08:06

I have to say I agree that they should eat what I eat but would avoid putting things in it that I know they hate.

However, ds (4) is currently going through a phase of hating everything, even things he previously liked and there are times when I just can't be bothered with his ever increasing list so will cook what I want. I have no problem with genuine dislikes but suspect that ds is now seeing how far he can go with this and if that is the case with your dd, think I would have been tempted by the spice jars too.

Kif Mon 16-Jul-07 22:19:09

I think you 'like' whatever your mum fed you when you were a child.

My East European roots express themselves in that I'll eat anything pickled and I don't see any contradiction in the words 'black' and 'bread'.

The problem may be that I don't really salt her food - I think I may need to start. I've been turning it over in my mind - she always prefers properly seasoned food, though I tend to routinely underseason for Dh's sake. Perhaps I can afford to drop the baby feeding conventions. I tried the soup again, it really wasn't 'spicy' (no chilli or anything), but I ended up chucking in an extra teaspoon of salt for my taste.

She's generally a good eater, but she's become a little indiffirent on the ewhole issue the last few monthas. Mind, she's been eating better since I started finishing off most of her meals with and inch of butter stirred in - she may be a gourmet yet .

harpsichordcuddler Mon 16-Jul-07 22:21:27

next question
<this is my flashpoint, can you tell??>

Kif Mon 16-Jul-07 22:26:50

I know - else I wouldn't have come on MN to confess.

pointydog Mon 16-Jul-07 22:39:21

You feel a bit mean, you were a bit mean.

Let go of your desire to control food to this extent.

nooka Mon 16-Jul-07 22:45:27

I think that you were a bit mean, but understandably so. It's difficult to get it right with meals though isn't it? I think in future don't go out of your way to find things you think she really likes so you wonn't be annoyed if she doesn't eat them. Would you normally have kept aside some soup pre adding spices/herbs? I have a very plain eating dd and it is quite upsetting sometimes as we end up eating very boring food.

Kif Mon 16-Jul-07 22:53:37

Whoa! I wasn't controlling - I just wasn't facilitating.

I'd done breakfast, elevenses, cooked lunch, and cooked meal for baby (the aforementioned butternut squash) - and was getting on with the soup for everyone's dinner. I'm not a restaurant - and the options were to offer what was there or to cook extra. Nor was it fair on the rest of the family to make the main evening meal pasta-with-no-cheese-to-go-on-top or some other dull nursery food choice.

I'm a bit low on groceries, actually. I think bananas, cucumber and bread are on the shopping list for tomorrow.

pointydog Mon 16-Jul-07 23:02:52

sorry, kif, but your butternut squash or hazelnuts option made me larf

maybe that's usual fare in your house

FirenzeandZooey Tue 17-Jul-07 08:50:19

"I think you 'like' whatever your mum fed you when you were a child."

whoa - no way. I don't like 75% of the food my mum cooked me as a child and would never choose to eat it now. I can eat most of it - except the meat - but I could never say I "liked" it

DoubleBluff Tue 17-Jul-07 08:53:00

Hmm I can't say I would be excited about butternut squash or hazlenuts as a snack.
A bit of Dairy Milk would be much nicer.

MamaGryffindor Tue 17-Jul-07 08:54:41

I wouldn't eat my mum's overcooked cauliflower now if you paid me

nailpolish Tue 17-Jul-07 09:08:32

my dd is exactly the same - i say "pasta for tea" she is delighted but says "can i have it plain?" she would live on plain pasta, plain rice and bread

but i have to say, as tempted as i would have been to make the soup spicy to my taste, i wouldnt have done. im sure you regret doing so . next time you serve the soup she may very well say "i didnt like that list time" and refuse to eat it

when i cook spicy food i make the base (chilli is an example, dds get mince and tomsauce with veg/garlic, i remove theirs then add the chillis etc for dh and i)

i like cooking but im not preprared to slave over the hob cooking seperate things for fussy children

suzywong Tue 17-Jul-07 09:16:28

can't wait to hear custy's take on this

SweetyDarling Tue 17-Jul-07 09:34:02

I haven't got to this stage yet so please forgive me if I sound ignorant, but what happens if you spice a baby's food right from the start rather than begining with bland food? Is this possible?

hurricane Tue 17-Jul-07 10:08:51

Dds eat what we eat. Always have. If they don't eat what's in front of them then they don't have anything until the next meal (very few but some exceptions to this i.e. if they're very tired or if they have said they don't like a food more than once). As a result we have good, unfussy eaters who like a wide range of foods - tomatoes are a particular favourite - and almost always eat well at every meal. We don't do separate food for the kids as a result it would never occur to the dds to ask for plain pasta or white bread because they've never had it that way. Neither do we do separate meal times or snacks. We all eat together. If they don't eat (much) we accept that they're not hungry and they usually eat brilliantly the next meal. I've found that children who are pandered too learn to be fussy and manipulative with food and never learn to eat healthily. Children should have very little choice until they're much older.

hurricane Tue 17-Jul-07 10:11:37

Never ever make a fuss about what kids eat. If they pick up on your hurt or tension or anxiety they will respond to it. If you play games with them like punishing them for not eating or doing the if you eat your veggies you will get ice cream thing they will pick up negative and unhealthy messages about food.

serenity Tue 17-Jul-07 10:27:06

sweetydarling - Dcs have always eaten what we've eaten, the only 'difference' is that I was very careful with salt when they were little (weaning little) We don't eat hot spicy food, but I use garlic, spices, mild chilli and have never seen the need to leave it out of the DCs food. I don't think it's made any reall difference to how they eat tbh. I have two who eat pretty much anything and one fussy bugger (who won't eat pasta with a sauce, but will eat calamari until he's sick )

I have to say though that I will compromise if there is something they really don't like. None of them are keen on 'meat' (chops, steak, roasts - general lumps of meat) so if we fancy that I'll do them an alternative, just that same as when I do them tuna salad (bleurgh) I'll have something else.

HenriettaHippo Tue 17-Jul-07 10:27:20

I think you were mean.

did DD have a snack in the morning near lunchtime? Sometimes if DS has something an hour or so before lunch, he doesn't eat much then, but that's my fault really for letting him eat before his meal... Although tbh, I don't worry if DS has eaten a banana then isn't too hungry for tea, after all, you can't get much healthier than fruit.

I don't think I'd be too keen on a snack of squash either...!! Or strong lentil soup, I think that's quite a sophisticated taste. My children do eat spices, like chilli, but not as strong as us, so I add the spices after doing the base.

Wouldn't it be better to have a bowl of fruit that she's allowed to choose a piece from if she's hungry between meals?

FirenzeandZooey Tue 17-Jul-07 10:34:34

Sweety it is fine to add mild spices to a child's food right from the start but like everyone else in life, children do have preferences and they can't always be overcome by giving certain foods early. Ds is always excited to try new foods but there are certain things he just doesn't like, same as me. Forcing him to eat them or go hungry would be mean.

suzywong Tue 17-Jul-07 10:37:46

If someone offered me hazelnuts or butternut squash as my afternoon snack if I were not
a) morbidly obese
b) vegan
c) in detention
d) part of a controlled experiment

I would be ropable. And affronted.

I think it was childish to overseason your dd's food, and I can say that now because I tore my hair out and cursed and ranted and was seditios and performed childish acts of subtefuge to try and get my 3yr old ds2 to eat proper food, however, he doesn't. He eats a satisfactory though limited range of food and now there is no tension between us.

Honestly, don't be so uptight and I know from bitter experience that is easier said than done

Good luck

edam Tue 17-Jul-07 10:45:40

Hurricane, I'm sure feeding the children what you eat is all very admirable, but I'd be cautious about claiming it as the inevitable result of your parenting. If you had another child, you might produce a born fussy eater - honest! I know people who have one child who is very easy and one who is extraordinarily fussy. Same parenting, different children.

Kif, I do think you were a bit unfair over-seasoning her dinner because you were cheesed off. But you admit you feel mean so probably won't do it again. I wouldn't give a child a double punishment for not eating her lunch ie making it an issue at the next meal as well. That's a bit mean and the start of a slippery slope towards making food a real battle.

Wouldn't salt a child's food either, salt is bad for you and giving her a taste for salt early won't help her long-term health. Check out the Food Standards Agency website for guidance on how little salt children should have - if she eats bread and pasta she's probably getting much of that anyway. Think it's

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