Kid’s got worms…….

28 Mar

…….or at least I assume so. Why else would he be eating 3 times his own body weight every day?

Ok, rewind woman.

It’s fair to say that Oscar’s relationship with food has been been rocky these past 3 years, and has been a source of much tension and anxiety for me.

I know all the parenting books tell you not to make a big deal of it, no kid ever starves, but I can’t help it, I’m like a closet Jewish mother or something, expressing my love through food, and never happy unless my boy has a full tum (although the same can’t be said for hubby who could do with a decidedly less full tum).

I have also made a pledge (despite working full time) to only ever serve him home cooked meals and have spent many a late night batch cooking all manner of exotic dishes for his delectation. So when the boy turns his nose up, it’s something of a personal insult and wounds me deeply. I know it shouldn’t, he’s got every right to have his own tastes, but after 3 hours slaving over a hob cooking goulash or home made lamb burgers, it’s like a knife to the heart when he refuses even a mouthful.

So i’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a few truly shameful tantrums being thrown over Oscar’s refusal to eat my labours of love. Big deal you say? Problem is, those tantrums were thrown by me whilst the boy looked on utterly bemused.

I’ve tried to stifle my feelings and pretend I am wholly unmoved by Oscar’s fussiness. I also tried the “fine, go hungry” approach. But thing is, Oscar has, to date, been pretty happy to go hungry. I thought maybe it was just me he was winding up. That he could feel the tension oozing from my pores and through my gritted teeth. But no. He also spent a whole year refusing to eat any of his childminders meals. I thought she’d crack it, god knows she’s spent 20 years in the game dealing with the most challenging kids, this would be a walk in the park, right? Wrong. The harder she tried, the less he ate. After months and months of frustration she eventually relented and asked me to send my meals to her to feed Oz.

Reluctantly I obliged, not wishing to cause her hell, and for the past 2 months I have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen to provide 6 meals a week.

One other pet peeve of mine is Oscar’s recent obsession with junk food. As a toddler I was careful not to expose him to any crap. No chocolate, no squash or fizzy drinks, no sweets and no fast food. The kid can’t miss what he’s never had right? Admittedly, this plan was greatly assisted by his dairy allergy…. No biscuits, no cake, no chocolate, no ice cream. I know you are pitying him now, well don’t, he’s happy as a sky lark when given an apple.

BUT, one term at pre-school, along with a plethora of kiddies parties have turned him into a crap fiend. Suddenly, the boy seldom talks about anything other than “Old Macdonald’s”‘, “juice”, “ollipops” and sweets. Balls. Curse the demon that has lead my healthy eater astray.

At first I fought against it. Argued black and blue that juice was bad for the teeth and hurt his tummy, that ollipops would make his teeth fall out, and that Macdonalds were well, yuk. But refusing only made him ask more. So I changed tack. First I made a reward chart for dinner time. For every six days eating mummy’s cooking, Oz would be rewarded with an Old Macdonald’s on the seventh. I also put his sweets and ollipops in the good boy jar and let him have one if he ate his breakfast. Juice was restricted to once per day with a meal. I will not budge on that.

I won’t lie. I still flinch when I see him eating junk, but I know it is a necessary evil. And in exchange? Oscar is eating anything and everything I cook him (almost). Even the blasted ham sandwiches that used to be mutilated and eaten in pieces over the course of many hours buggering about are now consumed in minutes without fuss.

Meals are devoured in their entirety, bowls licked clean.

And whilst the boy is still somewhat choosy about his repertoire (the morrocan lamb I slaved over is still being refused after 3 attempts) he is improving. He has recently taken a shine to broccoli, after years of turning his nose up, and carrots are no longer picked out of casseroles.

And his appetite is soaring. Gone is the boy who will happily go to nursery on an empty stomach, replaced instead by a monster eater who can’t get enough.

Lord only knows how long this hungry phase will last, but for the moment, while it does, I intend to relish every minute of it.

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