Mealtime – A Parent’s Nemesis

Lunch took really long for Phoebie today, so long that I felt like pulling my hair. From talking nicely and gently reminding her to finish her food, I eventually caved and ended up raising my voice.

Mealtime is one part of the day I dread the most.

Don’t get me wrong, not all days are bad. Phoebie has her good days. She finishes her food without prompting and even eats more than we expect her to sometimes.

But then, there is also every other day, every other mealtime, where I feel like I am a broken tape recorder that repeats non-stop. “Eat!” “Eat, Phoebie.” “Do you want to grow? If you want to grow, finish your food.”

Recently, my husband and I discovered a new way that worked well in getting Phoebie to finish her meals. We will be going for a holiday in December, so we told Phoebie that if she didn’t finish her meals, she wouldn’t grow tall enough to go on the rides in the theme park. Upon hearing that, she started doing well and finished all her food almost every time.

And then, I started to notice a trend.

She would eat all the carbohydrates, like rice or noodle, and leave all the protein, i.e. the meat, till the last. By then, she was full and couldn’t eat more and would start stirring whatever is left.

That maddens me because protein is crucial, especially in the diet of a growing child like Phoebie.

It’s not like the protein in her food is extremely tough and hard to chew and swallow. In fact, I make sure the protein is soft and tasty. So I really didn’t understand why she would leave most of the protein in her bowl.

It doesn’t help when people who haven’t seen Phoebie in a long time recently saw her and made a comment that no parent wants to hear, “It looks like she didn’t grow at all.”

Didn’t grow? You have got to be kidding me! Of course she grew! She grew taller and her clothes are getting shorter, but her weight has been stagnant, that’s all.

“Phoebie, you know what? You must eat the meat, so that you will grow. The protein is important to help you grow,” I would try to explain to her, “And if you want to take the rides when we go on holiday, you need to grow taller right?”

Sigh… If only mealtime was easier, then I wouldn’t have to worry about Phoebie growing or not. I have come to a point where I am so tired of the mealtime confrontations. I wish there was a button on Phoebie that I could just press and put food in her.

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