Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

21 May 2010

How I Won the Vegie War - Part One

I don't usually write posts about our boys.  They get mentioned in passing but that's about it.  But I thought I would make an exception here and record how we won the vegie war with our youngest in the hope that it may be of encouragement to others who may be experiencing similar battles, just as a conversation that took place over at the lovely Jean's blog here and here and here gave me hope and good courage to press on.

When N was a baby he devoured bowls full of mushed up vegies like the best of babies.  And then he moved onto sticks of steamed vegies at the finger food stage.  His favourite was to suck on cooked broccoli.  He was a seasoned vegetable eater.  Then ever so gradually he started to become selective, rejecting various vegies.  I almost didn't notice it at first and then when it really caught my attention I didn't overly worry because he was still eating some vegies and fruit. Their tastes do trail off, after all, and then pick again a little further down the track.

Gradually fruit dropped off the menu. 

In time I realised that I had a real problem on my hands and at that moment in life, I didn't have the personal strength to take on that particular battle.  Eventually it became a huge problem.  Over time he went from eating a full range of fruit and vegies through to eating none.  He subsisted on carbs (pasta, bread and rice) and meat. He would drink juice - and for a while I tricked him into drinking V8 juice, which he wolfed down, until older brother showed him the carrots on the side of the box...

In the year or two that followed I tried EVERYTHING.  Vegies hidden in bolognese sauce - which eventually led to the rejection of bolognese sauce too and he just ate his pasta plain.  Cute pictures made out of vegies on his plate.  Kebabs.  Yummy dips with vegetable sticks.  Growing carrots. Zucchini slice, carrot cake and banana muffins.  Bribes of chocolate.  No snacks between meals. 

We even did the boot camp thing.  He had breakfast and then for morning tea was offered a miniscule piece of carrot and apple with the promise of delectable, delicious offerings after that, and if not eaten, nothing else until it was eaten.  Executed kindly and fairly.  He had no snack.  No lunch.  No afternoon tea.  No dinner.  Off to bed. We started the new again with breakfast and then the same routine.  Over three days he demonstrated his capacity to stage a hunger strike.

He became so adept at rejecting vegetables that one day,when we were having fried rice, I hid a piece of carrot the size of a grain of rice in a spoonful of rice and within three seconds of it being in his mouth, his vegetable radar had detected it and his little fingers were in his mouth successfully extracting that tiny piece carrot from the rice.  This little guy was hard core!

I received great comfort from a couple of commenters on Jean's blog, one who said there was a great deal of nutrition to be derived from peanut paste sandwiches and cups of milo, and the other who suggested waiting until the child in question turned four and was more rational - to then tackle it as an obedience issue rather than a toddler training issue.  This was very welcomed advice that gave me considerable hope.

So imagine my surprise and complete astonishment when on his fourth birthday we didn't awaken to a completely rational child ready to be reasoned with on the virtues of fruit and vegetable consumption.

And then one evening in January, as we sat down to yet another summer dinner that involved salad, child in question now four years and five months old, I hit the wall.

To be continued.


mattnbec said...

Nice work with the cliffhanger-style ending. Soap opera in Meredith's household! ;-)

Meredith said...

My sister thinks I am watching too much West Wing and that it is affecting my writing style.