Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Maddie on Vegetables

When it comes to the dinner table and what is served on it, we have a "no negotiating with terrorists" policy. You eat what I cook and that is the end of that. For the most part this has worked out fantastic in Weeland as Wee 1 and Wee 2 will eat anything you put in front of them (even spinach and Wee 1 often actually requests brussels sprouts).

Wee 3 is another story. In the past few days especially she has put up noticeable resistance to eating anything which sprouted from the ground, off a vine, fell from a tree, or was harvested by anyone who even remotely could call themselves a farmer. Sticking to our guns, dad and I have firmly reasserted our stance on not leaving the table until Wee 3 was a member of the Clean Plate Club. This has resulted in the kind of sobbing and clothes rending reserved for major events like the fall of communism or the US someday winning a World Cup.

So this evening Wee 3 was put back in her chair multiple times and with my last ounce of patience fleeing me I raised (read here yelled) my voice and said "Maddie, just eat your ever lovin' vegetables".

Maddie's response "I don't want to play this game anymore."

It was difficult for me to keep a straight face, and even more difficult for her to finish her plate, but we both did it and have lived to fight the battle of the side dishes another day.

A wee bit more nutritious,



  1. That is awesome! Welcome to the club. My firstborn was pretty much the same way as your third. She broke pretty much every preconceived idea I had about what it would be like to be a parent and how I would do it.
    We have slightly different rules - that keep them from ruling the table but also keep dinner time from becoming a battlefield.
    We only make our kids eat one bite of a food they don't like. They usually eat more but they are only required to eat one bite.
    We do not require them to eat everything on their plate but there is a strict "no snacks after dinner" policy and we often remind them "eat this or get nothing" they almost never pick the "nothing" option.
    We also have a rule about complaining about what I've made. I know I'm not the most amazing cook in the world so I don't expect them to rave about everything I set on the table, but we do have a standard of being polite. If they say "eww gross" or "I hate that" or something like that they get a reminder that if they complain they will be excused from the table. It SO works. They are usually allowed back after a few minutes and they have a better attitude about eating with us.
    My kids are now 9, 7, 5 & 3 and they eat really well balanced meals and have learned to make good choices for healthy foods so I feel like I've done a good job so far.
    Just my 2 cents!
    Hope you'll check out my new blog:

  2. I remember being served chicken livers as a kid. Now, I know they are no longer considered healthful, but anyway, my brother told my Mom that if he had to eat them, he would puke. She made him, and he did. My hubby feels the same way about beets. I have an aunt in her 50's who does not eat ANY veggies except potatoes. Yep, her health is fine.

    Not sure what my point is, except having been through the whole non-negotiation drama with three very divergent personalities (now ages 17, 14 and 7), it's not really an all-or-nothing proposition. At most any age, a kid is able to discern the equitable (or lack thereof) nature of a situation. Eat an entire plate of food regardless of actual hunger, desire for a certain food, etc?

    The most I will do is assess which food groups have been left out when my child proclaims he or she is "finished." I consider all germane to good health or I would not have put them on the plate. Have they finished all the veggies and carbs and left the proteins? "Eat 3 bites of your fish, etc and you can leave the table." Each of them would binge on a different food category if left to their own devices, so it's a different tactic with each one. They are not allowed to leave an entire portion untouched, but take it from someone who struggles with weight issues and who is married to someone who has always struggled with weight issues: we should probably have been taught to put down a fork when the food is no longer appetizing.

  3. Haha - oh dear! Kids and veggies is a never ending issue I think...I always tried to hide them in things and fill them up with ones that I knew they liked..but never let them get away with simply not trying something just because they felt like it! As long as I was satisfied that they'd eat least made an effort and a dint into some of each of the foods we were having..I generally picked my battles and didn't sweat it..but that job had way bigger fish to fry..haha!

  4. This reminds me of when my brother Andy was a kid. Mom put something oh his plate he didn't want to eat and he said, "you might as well spank me now because I am not going to eat that!"

    The tactic that seems to work best is the one mentioned by Faith- make it known that when their meal is not finished there will be no snacking between meals. I have gotten children to eat all sorts of healthy things (like carrots and peas) because the fear of no goldfish at snack time was a far worse scenario than eating something healthy.


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