Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The little adult fights on...

I suppose turning two heralds the beginning of a child’s first tiny step into becoming a little boy from being a little baby. And it brings with it the tussle between parent and child both trying to estimate the lengths to which each can be pushed to the limit. Neither aware of the process consciously but looking at it in retrospect each day that’s how it seems.
I don’t mean to rant on and on about the food battles that I have been having since the last three days. Even if it doesn’t make for interesting reading, I wanted to put it down for myself to organize the clutter this seems to have created in my mind. What am I doing wrong? Is it me or is it just the stage of development? Should I be working harder in figuring out alternatives? How do I spend the time it takes to keep trying many different alternatives and schedule variations when I have a little one to nurse every two hours? Does he just not like rice/dal anymore? That being our staple, how do I come up with nutritious alternatives at each meal? When he flatly says no for most things! Such questions clutter my head. At the back of my mind I know it is not just about the meal. He just turned two and he is entering a different stage of development. At 21m I felt like a switch had turned on. And once he turned two another new facet of my child emerged. He is increasingly stubborn and fights me fiercely when he wants his way. I give in and let him be his own person rather than crushing his spirit with my adult might. But when it comes to meals I can give in only so much. For if I give in, a few hours later the lingering child who still cannot fully express himself becomes cranky and wants to fill up on junk food like coco puffs. He asks me for that and for “pori” (puffed rice), for “jooch” (Gatorade) every now and then but he does not stuff himself with any of those. But when he is hungry he has the potential to fill up on those. Or so I fear since I have never let it go that far. I am trying now to make changes in his diet – reduce the amount of milk he has (he loves his soy milk – so far) and thus try to increase his solids consumption and also make the process less difficult on me during meal times. Problem is, as of now the milk consumption is going down but the solids consumption has not gone up. He is an active and healthy child but he is thin (not scrawny) and I worry he will get thinner. How does it matter if he is thin – he is the answer to America’s obesity problem – my doctor says. But it matters to me. The proof of my efforts does not stare at me starkly in the face in the form of rolls of fat. Forget the rolls just a little bit of solid flesh. I have come to accept that he will be thin but I cannot be relaxed about compromising on his nutrition. As B aptly put it with the saying, “When you want to go from the top of one mountain to the top of another mountain, the first step is to go down”. I suppose we are in the down phase now. I hope we get there slowly and steadily and start moving up the next mountain and enjoy the peak for a while. I hope the battle I had with him today to get him to eat his lunch – which he eventually did as if it was no problem in the first place – does not happen every day as a regular feature. He used to be a slow eater but these days he fights me hard. Which is why I need to collect myself and stay calm. For the next day.
There is something that is so wonderful in all this. When I see him smile and hug and exude joy when I play silly with him in the evening after having fought him so much, I wish I could be him. To be able to forget entirely what happened a couple of hours back when I had been his opponent in the tussle over his meal. We battled, he ate, we moved on. Now it was time for play and laughter. I suppose there is one reason this works between us – true unconditional love we have for each other. I feel anger and lack of any fond feelings for him the moment he makes me feel like an enemy. But when we cross the difficult road for that day, the gloom clears and the sun shines….the love I feel for him is beyond words.

20 comments:

Swati said...

Ohh dear , don't think too much.These kids do not understand what we go through when they don't eat.After every few weeks, there are a week or two , when Aryan does not open his mouth at dinner time.Whatever I cook , whatever variety.Its so painful.He cannot express in words the reasons and I just keep trying for an hour or two , when finally he looses his patience and becomes cranky.So we end up with milk.My hubby doesnot understand the need for my trying for 2 hours and the frustation thereafter.He feels I should not wait for him till he gets cranky and give in earlier.But after reading this post I guess you would understand what I go through.After milk he is just too fine and happy and I end up frustrated.

I also wonder , if this can change ?

WhatsInAName said...

Oh dont worry :) It will pass soon. Yeah 2 to 3 is a tough time - we say "rendu kettan". You cant explain, you cant shout, and meanwhile the kid realises that he is capable of decision making :)

Its a sweet stage and you will laugh at it sometime from now!

DotMom said...

noon.. i understand hwt you are going through. Don't blame yourself. Firstly, its alright if he skips a meal or two. Children never starve themselves. Give him a few choices and stick to your ground. I did that when Chip was 19-20 mo. He skipped lunches for a week, hoping that come snack time, he won't have to eat this stuff. But at snack time too, the same food was offered. When hunger took over he ate it. I hated myself for doing it, but he was going to go to a daycare soon and he had to learn to eat well and on his own. Also, make sure he is getting an hour or two to play outside. Boys have lots of energy and they need to burn it off. It also makes them hungry! Good luck.. this will pass soon!

shweta said...

Hi,
Don't worry..this phase passes off soon..But as dotmom said..boys have tremendous amount of energy..We let S play everyday outside(while the weather permits)for 1 hour or so..so then later at dinner time he eats properly !!(but I must confess Thomas CD play about 10% part !!)BUt he needs to eats..SO I feel any help is ok as along he eats his veggies & rice & dal !!

Poppins said...

Oh noon, I know how you struggle with kutti boy regarding food. I can't give any advice however, because I just don't know any better.

Sending a lot of hugs and love your way. It was a very beautiful post though.

Ulp did I miss his birthday? Bad Aunt:(

Kodi's Mom said...

omg, omg! This is me, this is my post, my anxities, my kid you're talking abt!! only your post is so much more calmly and beautifully phrased. eg:
We battled, he ate, we moved on.

if I went to my dr. with this, he'll say, let him eat what he wants. and thats it. accding to him, toddlers know how much to eat and what to eat. I would subscribe to that theory, except for this part: a few hours later the lingering child who still cannot fully express himself becomes cranky and wants to fill up on junk food

I don't have a solution for you..you might have seen my post calling for help on DMC - the comments are quite useful and some tell you how you can make a meal out of good junk food. there was Jaelithe's post on the same (linked via MM).

and I want to say, if the food battles continue, please continue the rants. (my) misery loves company.

noon said...

Hey Swati - gosh yes the same thing I deal with...It is painful really on such days...very exhausting.

Whatsinaname - Yes yes Rendungattan for sure! :)
I hope I can laugh about it some day...for now it is not fun!

Dotmom - Problem is I find it hard to have him get so hungry and cranky because I go upstairs to feed the little one every two hours and it is hard for me if he comes there and gets cranky on me and if he is downstairs my mom has to deal with it...he has to be fed or it is plain difficult. He was slow thus far but last few days he adamntly refuses food - he makes his own choices of what he wants to eat...

utbtkids said...

Noon, the last part about the child moving on was so beautiful.

noon said...

Hi Shweta, Yeah I agree. It's just that I find it hard to take him to park and run around with him these days because of the second baby who has to be fed every two hrs and changed etc. And if I take her with me I can't run around with him - he just runs so fast I have to be alert - I can't carry baby and run with him.

Hi Poppins - thanks so much.
No no you are not a bad aunt - very sweet of you to even think of his b'day even if belated. Yes Aug 3 was his b'day. I should have done a post about it because it turned out to be a fun evening for him - he thoroughly enjoyed the spontaneous/unplanned party he had just before bed time.

noon said...

Kodi's mom - it feels good to read your comment - because - yes - misery loves company. My cousin went through the same thing with her kids - but now they are 6 and 4 and they are eating much better now - when she tells me it will get better, I feel like - well you can say that now...
But in your case you are going through the same thing now and you know exactly what I am going through...thanks - glad you enjoyed the post...

noon said...

UTBT - thanks. I enjoyed your last post too...

rbdans said...

What a sweet post. The last para, so beautifully written :)

Moppet's Mom said...

Oh dear, I don't have that problem yet - but I cannot claim any credit for it. So far, touchwood, Moppet has been ok food-wise.

I know it's easier said than done, but try not to worry so much. As long as he's happy and healthy, he's getting enough food....

ranjani.sathish said...

If we moms feel that kids are not getting adequate food and sleep it certainly makes us anxious, helpless and finally frustrated ! Have been there and sometimes go through this with my daughter these days..so can very well relate to this post !

noon said...

RBdans - thanks...

MM - I know - so far it was ok - just that he was slow,needed to be read to etc while eating but now it's the adamant refusal and crying that bugs me...hopefully it won't get worse than this!

Ranjani - it must be a little less worrisome the second time around - a tleas that's what I hope when it's time for solids for my second child!

Something to Say said...

The docs in the US give you the tuffest advice - let the child be - if he feels hungry he will eat. But how can you just let the child be?
I hope this time passes fast for moms of 2 yr olds...

Tharini said...

HI Noon....I know I'm not there in that exact state that you are right now....but I can claim that I know this stage very well. For Akhil went thru it for about a whole year, and a little longer. Somehow, closer to this 3rd bithrday, he got noticeably better. Even now we have a tought time with him and his eating which I have written about.

What I do remember about that time is that while rice/dal is a staple for us and the kind of comfort food that makes us feel like we are giving our children the best....there are also lots of other options of healthy food, that you could offer him for a change. And he might not eat enough to full himself up for the next 3 hours, but its okay sometimes to break up his meals into littler portions so that at the end of the day he has still eaten a resonable qty.

Give a little and take a little....alternatively...seeing how it works out.

noon said...

Stosay - I know - it is hard...I find it so hard to even reduce his milk intake (which is what the docs tell you to do to increae solids) because he loves his milk...feel bad to cut downon the one thing he really likes...

Tharini - oh dear a year and half! Hmm...guess I will look forward to his turning three hoping for smoother meal times!
Yeah I am trying the "Vittu pidi" method now - let him go with whatever he wants for dinner...

Sue said...

Will it make you feel any better to hear that I was a lousy eater all through my childhood and only started eating my veggies when I was pregnant; now that I have a child to set an example for, I eat up everything in front of him!

If you hang in there long enough, you'll see your son eat everything. If nothing else, a taste of hostel food will have him running back to your kitchen!

Manchus said...

Oh boy!! a topic I can totally relate to right now. My daughter is 17 months old and I really struggle with her for solid food intake. But ever since she started daycare she has become better, but still her snackster tendancy exists. She will always eat small meals. She is off the weight chart and next week I have to meet the nutrionist..something I have been dreading!! That meeting will only make me feel awful and a bad mom.

Of all the suggestions the doctor makes like give Avacado, Pediasure etc...she just hates them. In fact, I hate avacado too...and the pediasure smells like medicine and I hate it too. I really pity my daughter when I have to feed her all these.

Guess it is just a phase and I am waiting for it be over soon.