One of my 2-year-olds just does not like food. She's a very happy & bright girl, but she needs to eat. Her parents recently met with a panel of experts and one of the new rules is that food is only available when she is in her chair and only during a meal time or official snack time. It makes total sense to me and I've started incorporating it the other 6 days a week when she's not here. I've been really lax about snacks and allow goldfish/ etc to be constantly available (ie scattered across the couch). Also, if the kids can't stuff themselves with processed carbs (the easiest type of snacks), they'll actually FEEL HUNGRY and EAT THEIR DINNER!
As you may know, Hazel LOVES food. Her favorite foods are hummus and pb/honey sandwiches. She tries everything and likes almost all of it. However, often by meal times, she isn't hungry enough to eat much of the good stuff. I do offer fruit and veggie snacks, but not as often as I should.
Back to today, the other part of the new rules for this sweet pea is that she must be in her chair for 15-min snacks and 30-minute meals. Suffice to say, there's a lot of screaming and crying. She thinks I'm torturing her. (Though I did see her sneak in a few snacks between cries!) Her crying was so loud that it woke up a slumbering infant who then also cried for a 1/2 hour since I wouldn't stop everything else and hold her.
I'm setting boundaries... did I mention that? When an infant cries, I offer a quick hug, a snack, a diaper change &/or a toy. If none of those work and the crying continues, OFF TO BED!
It all feels much meaner then it's sounding. However, there's a reason I mentioned that my sanity has been precarious lately (in a previous post). I have a grad degree that pretty much can be summarized into empathy skills, active listening skills, and understanding the devastating effect indulging OR neglecting children can have. Yet, there are days when if I were a fly on the wall in my own home... boy would I have some scolding and lecturing to do with myself (not with neglect though... hope you didn't wonder about that!).
So, yeah, dear hubby did not get the peaceful lunch he was hoping for. In fact, he immediately began calculating how much extra work he'd need to pick-up so that this wouldn't happen to me every day (of course, that was one the most difficult 1/2 hours I've had).
I'm positive that things will soon improve as I hold my boundaries and the kids adjust. However, this article that I read this morning really says it all. The title is: How much childcare do you DESERVE? Wow, me deserve childcare? Aren't I mother-of-the-year for choosing to spend 90% of my waking hours with my children? Aren't I the most generous friend ever to welcome in 3 of my friends' sweet children? Actually, I feel GUILTY (a chronic problem of mine) that my friends pay me for my time and that I don't give them evenings free to do their shopping/ housework/ pursue their own interests.
It's true. All mothers DESERVE childcare. If I forced myself to ask for/ accept just a few hours a week, perhaps I'd write that book I'm constantly dreaming about. Perhaps I'd go on a walk all alone. Perhaps I'd have energy to be a loving wife and not just the mother-of-his-kids...
FYI: I typed this with a kitchen counter overflowing with dirty dishes, juice containers, soup pots, things screaming to be returned to the fridge & while 3 toddlers and 1 infant nap... and one infant climbs back and forth over my lap (I rarely sit on chairs anymore).