Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Like Mother Like Daughter

Some would say that I'm stubborn, I prefer to think of myself as tenacious.  With each passing day it is becoming evident that this is one trait I have passed down to my oldest daughter.  She not only looks just like me, she might just be even more stubborn, errr, tenacious than I am, which is really saying something.

Lately, we've been battling over food.  I don't have the healthiest relationship with food so I'm hoping for a little something more for my kids.  I'm not the type of mom to buy only organic foods or to serve only non-processed fair.  I enjoy a slew of both healthy and unhealthy foods and I have been exposing my kids to a wide array of things and teaching moderation.  I know many would disagree, put I don't really think that a Happy Meal is the end of the world so long as it's balanced with healthier foods the rest of the day/week/month.  So, that Quinn's favorite food is mac 'n cheese doesn't bother me as much as her refusing to even try a raspberry.  Yep, you read that right, she won't try a raspberry, or a strawberry, or an orange, and don't even get me started on vegetables........

I started off by just putting these foods on her plate with the hopes that one day she would actually try them.  That didn't work.  With my oldest son I had avoided ever telling him that he had to eat something.  I was always told to clean my plate when I was little and didn't want to pass that kind thinking down to my kids.  I was fine with him stopping eating when he was full.  After months and months of offering new foods but absolutely no trying of them going on, I caved and told her that if she didn't eat them she wouldn't get any more food until the next meal.  That didn't work either.  She'd eat everything else on the plate, ask for a snack later only to have it denied, but then she would go about her business and eat again at the next meal.  So, next, I tried bribing her with saying that if she ate some of the new foods she could then have a few chips (she loves chips) but nope, she'd rather just not have chips than try something new.  Next came bribing her with the help of Hello Kitty.  If she tried one new thing each day we'd go to Build a Bear and she could buy a new outfit for her Hello Kitty.  This worked!  Yes, finally, something worked.........until the next week when her Hello Kitty was dressed in a beautiful new purple flowered frock and my little girl was once again refusing to try anything new.  Didn't Hello Kitty want her own bed to sleep in?  Nope.  Didn't Hello Kitty need a swimming suit for over the summer?  Nope. Nope. Nope.  Not if it meant a strawberry would have to pass little Quinn's lips.

This lead to utter frustration on my part.  How could she not just give in and at least try one bite of something new?  So, I chose to escalate things and tell her she would have to sit in her chair until she at least tried whatever new food was on her plate.  She didn't have to eat all of it, but she did just have to take at least one little bite.  Except that she wouldn't take even one little bite, instead, she'd sit there until it was time to go to school or time to go up to bed.  Sometimes she'd sit for almost two hours.  I thought maybe it wasn't so hard for her to sit there since she was still with the whole family, she could talk to us and watch tv if it was on and so I thought perhaps it would be more effective if she had to go to her room if she was choosing not to try something and then she could choose to come back downstairs and try the food whenever she wanted.  Only that didn't work either because she would lie in her bed for hours with no sign of ever giving in.  She's just that stubborn.  Actually, she's that stubborn and then some.  When asked if she'd rather try a raspberry or not have a birthday party she said she'd rather not have the birthday party.  When asked if she'd rather try a raspberry or have to give up ballet lessons she said she'd give up ballet.  What in the world do you do with a kid for whom there is nothing you can offer or take away to help motivate them to do something?  I could get Shannon to eat an entire bunch of broccoli just by saying if he didn't he wouldn't be allowed to play his Nintendo DS.

In an attempt to not fall into Mommy Dearest mode in which I serve the same rare steak to my strong willed child over and over and over again, I might just be throwing in the towel (not that I'll tell her that.)  I think I am going to move to here is dinner, take what you want, but if you won't at least try everything then there's no food until the next meal and then hope against all hope that she grows out of this. This being both her unwillingness to try any new foods and her unbelievable stubbornness.  I won't hold my breath though.

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