So I've(or we've) been having a rough few days.
I'm happy to say that after about a week of emotional run-ins with my 5 yr old about school and quality time and the demise of extended periods of video game play my son is going to school without any crying! Somehow though this has morphed into very upsetting dinners. Both Owen and his 22 mo brother have been making dinnertime nothing short of torturous lately. I think Travis and I becoming a little unhinged with the challenge of it all. The baby scream-cried all through dinner 2 days ago and couldn't eat because we think Travis may have touched him with a hand that was cutting Habaneros. Mind you Travis washed his hands about 5 times before he touched him but those peppers are crazy. Last nite or a day, a shower and several handwashings later my husbands hands are still burning and our children are still making dinnertime difficult.
So we are brainstorming on how to release the tension from our dinnertime. We are mentally finished with staring at our 5 yr old not eating for no apparent reason day after day.
Now I don't believe in completely catering to your kids growing list of food demands. I try to make things that everyone can eat and although children enjoy finger foods I can't see myself making them for every meal.
This website may help with finding healthy foods that kids like: http://www.kidkritics.com/index.cfm?page=products&pg_start=301&pg_current=4&tagID=0&manufacturerID=0&keyword=
It has kids between 5 and 14 blind taste test products. They give an approval to foods that get 70% positive or above.
I didn't really find any answers for issues with my 5 yr old here but it talks about toddlers and food and some of the suggestions are pretty universal: http://www.babble.com/toddler/toddler-feeding-nutrition/mealtime-tips/
Plus it looks like a helpful new parenting site for me to glean from.
I think Chill Out is pretty good advice. Also they are not going to die, you are not going to die.
And my personal favorite: Their (or anyone else's) actions do not have to dictate my peace or happiness. They are not eating and having a hard time trying new things, etc but it will pass and not being upset usually seems like the 1st thing you have to change for the experience to change.
The problem I have with Owen( 5 yr old) is he finds sitting at our table to eat a bore. Which seems to affect his attitude on anything we eat whether he likes the food or not. So I'm considering switching it up a few a days a week and soon. For toddlers babble.com suggests to eat with him, lower distractions and focus on conversation. Which is what we always do. Owen is constantly grabbing at anything that could distract him on the table( pen, ripped piece of paper, toy, whatever is closest to him.) It's like he has food ADD!
Ideas to release compressed irritation from these mealtimes:
Picnic on the floor
Taking a walk and bringing filling snacks( fruit, veg, protein)
Cheap nite out
Healthy kid friendly meal made with Owen( so he has more pride in what is put on the table)
Yelling into a pillow before we eat dinner( jk)
Ideas for healthy kid friendly meals:
http://www.thesneakychef.com/ ( I don't mind being sneaky as long as you still offer fruit & veg)
Last piece of advice for myself or anyone listening- Be Thankful! Remember what's going well. My son was distracted last nite by just about anything around him but both him and my toddler were scarfing down mushrooms and bok choy without hesitation.
Also when you think about all the effort you put into dinner and how you gathered your food from afar and no one is showing you appreciation don't say you are like the Proverbs 31 woman and they better RECOGNIZE! They won't get it and you're just being weird now.
A proud mom of two very independent and creative boys. :)