No More Family Dinners – For Now

For years, even before having a child of my own I was anxious to getting childhood feeding underway. I had so much training on how to feed babies and young children and I had been providing guidance to parents for years, I was excited to get a chance to try it out for myself.  Feeding SP was one of the biggest things I was looking to as motherhood approached.  I’ve already documented the struggles I had with breastfeeding, but I was still ready for the next step in feeding –solids, table foods, family meals.  I was even ready for the challenges – selective eating, messy eating, throwing food on the floor, refusing foods – I knew just what to do.  Luckily, once we got past the breastfeeding trauma all other feeding ran smoothly, almost too smoothly.  SP LOVES to eat, she loves almost anything we put in front of her, to the point that she says “more, more” when there is still plenty on her tray.  But not all has been roses and butterflies – it is for exactly this reason that I am giving up on family meals, for now.

You see, SP is so excited about eating that it’s just about all she can focus on, and her attention span is that of a typical 16 month old – about 30 seconds.  Here’s the scenario – we’re sitting at the table, we all have our plates – same food for everyone.  SP has a pile of food on her tray which she plows though before B and I have our napkins on our laps and then she’s asking for more, which sounds like, “mo-mo-mo” relentlessly until she gets more.  So, we hop to it getting her more.  We encourage her to eat slowly, but to no avail – she’s done in half a second and wants mo-mo-mo.  In about two more minutes she’s full and now the cry is “all done, all done, down, Teddy, wash!”  These requests, if ignored, are quickly followed by screams.  Now B and I are still on our first bites, yet one of us is up washing SP and getting Teddy, dinner is getting cold and we’ve barely said “Hi” to each other.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that this all goes down at 5pm, about 45 seconds after we walk in the door from work and daycare and at an un-Godly early hour for B and I to eat dinner.

So, after a few of these experiments with the family meal at dinner I’ve decided that, for now, it’s over.  We can do breakfast, lunch and snacks but dinner will be just for B and I and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

3 responses to “No More Family Dinners – For Now

  1. Oh, Katie,
    I remember those days. She will never know you ate without her. Savor the adult time. At this stage that is more important to all of you.

  2. Interesting, I am almost a little envious of your awsome little eater. My 3 year old is such a pickey eater even to the flavor of medicine he takes when he is sick. I am about tostart dinner at the table hope it works.

    • HI Debra, I think 3 years old is a great age to do family dinners. I’m going to give it another go at 2 with SP. In my professional experience, selective eaters do better at a family dinner. They are happy and excited to be spending time with Mom and Dad and they are getting eating cues from the people around them. Always remember that you are in charge of WHAT foods you provide, but your son is in charge of WHETHER OR NOT he eats it. And of course, to keep meals a pleasant and drama-free as possible. Let me know how it goes!

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