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She doesn't like WW's food.

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dbellanon posted 9/13/2013 09:23 AM

So DD (3YO) seems to be adjusting fairly well to the separation. She seems pretty enthused about her new room at mommy's new apartment, etc. One problem, though, appears to be the food.

Apparently she is not eating much when she's with her mother because the food isn't like mine. While of course it's flattering that she likes my food better than her mother's, this is an actual problem. She told me after I picked her up last weekend that she ate raisins for dinner one night because she didn't like the pasta that her mother had cooked (something about the consistency of the sauce). Apparently, she's being picky even about things like white rice. If it's not exactly like mine, she barely touches it. I feel like this is strange because while she can be finicky sometimes, she'll usually eat well at restaurants and at other people's houses.

WW seems to think that I should introduce more variety to the menu on my end to try to break her out of her rut a little bit (I do tend to make the same things ever week). Anyone else have a problem with their kid being extra picky with the other parent's food? Does this mean anything about how she's adjusting?

(Recipe ideas would also be welcome, although I wonder if that wouldn't belong in the "off topic" forum).

roughroadahead posted 9/13/2013 09:36 AM

I would venture that this isn't actually about food texture/consistency or whatever else. Those issues present across the board. DS5, who survived for years on crackers and air, had feeding OT for that exact purpose. You can certainly start to mix things up a little bit recipe-wise on your end, but that may not solve the problem.

It sounds more like an adjustment issue with the separation, rather than stbx's cooking. It may work itself out with time, but stbx ww is not going to ever win a food battle. Also make sure she's not drinking tons of milk instead of eating, or constantly grazing with snacks. Healthy kids do not allow themselves to starve, so don't freak if she misses a meal or two.

Do get professional help if, for example, she starts to lose weight.

Pass posted 9/13/2013 09:46 AM

My kids learned years ago that they don't get a choice over supper. We always tried to accommodate their tastes if we could, but the rule is that you eat what's plopped in front of you.

Even if your WW is the worst cook in the world, eating raisins for supper just shouldn't be an option. It sounds like your WW is unwilling to exert any authority.

TrustGone posted 9/13/2013 10:01 AM

I think it boils down to (no pun intended) the fact that some kids are just picky at this age. I know my DS at 3 yrs old only wanted french fries and chicken nuggets. I took him to see the pediatrican because I was concerned about his refusal to eat vegetables or anything else. The peditrian said to just feed him what he liked and to introduce other foods a little at a time and he would grow out of it. He eventually did grow out of it and as a teenager he could practically eat you out of house and home.

It might also be the fact that your WW is in a new environment and your daughter is having to adjust to her new surroundings. Maybe she feels more comfortable being at home with you, so therefor she eats better there. I would not stress myself about it too much, unless you think your wife is being neglectful, which it doesn't sound like she is.

S and D are hard on children, especially at this age. She doesn't really understand what is happening and why her world is changing from what it has been before. She wants the familiar, which may just be your way of cooking. I wouldn't start to throw too many new foods her way at this point in time. I hope that helps. Maybe discuss it with your WW and see if she might be willing to cook some of the same things you do for awhile until your daughter adjusts to her new normal. I hope that helps.

7yrsflushed posted 9/13/2013 10:14 AM

IMO this is likely a combination of a little anxiety about the new situation and typical 3 year old pickiness. Ath this age one of my kids would eat anything I put in front of them the other not so much. It took exposing him to different things over time.

If you were the main cook in your household before then your little one is likely just used to your cooking. Even if you weren't it won't hurt her to expose her to different foods with different textures. Your WW should keep at it with different things as well. Your DD will eventually adjust to WW's place as well. At the end of the day they eat when they get hungry.

Three was a funny age for my kids. It took forever for my son to get over certain textures of food. He refused to eat puddings, yogurts, applesauce, or icecream. To this day he still refuses to eat ice cream, not that I am complaining about that one.

[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 10:15 AM, September 13th (Friday)]

Nature_Girl posted 9/13/2013 10:29 AM

This is totally normal for that age. It's worth quite a collection of grey hairs until you figure out that your child will not starve to death. Children will not starve themselves to death. They will eventually eat something.

In the meantime, you probably could be making more of a variety, and your STBX could make sure she has food items available which your DD will eat.

million pieces posted 9/13/2013 11:08 AM

It sounds more like an adjustment issue with the separation, rather than stbx's cooking. It may work itself out with time, but stbx ww is not going to ever win a food battle. Also make sure she's not drinking tons of milk instead of eating, or constantly grazing with snacks. Healthy kids do not allow themselves to starve, so don't freak if she misses a meal or two.

I'm a pediatric dietitian and pickiness and food battles are quite common at this age. What a 3 yo eats is literally the only thing they can control, so control it they will

Read the book "how to get your child to eat, but not too much" by Ellyn Satter.

Phoenix1 posted 9/13/2013 12:24 PM

Like others have said, there are probably some adjustment issues at play here, and for all intents and purposes she has no control over any of it, except what she puts in her mouth (as million pieces said).

But, FWIW, my DD16 (17 in a few weeks) was by FAR the pickiest of my three kids. The other two started out that way, but they will now pretty much eat anything. DD16 has been picky her whole life. I was concerned when she was younger because she never seemed to "grow out of it," but my pediatrician assured me time and again that as long as she continues to "thrive" medically (grow) she will be fine. I knew that from my other kids, but was also hoping it would change over time as it did with them. It didn't. To this day, she is as picky as ever (but if you ask her you will get a different response ). She has a repertoire of maybe half dozen things she will eat (and NO veggies). We always had a rule at our house that I was not a short-order cook and they ate what I prepared or they did without. Well, guess what. She was willing to do without. I also did the "slowly introduce new things" routine. Didn't change anything. I did the "you have to at least try one bite of everything before you say no." She did, but it didn't change anything. She has expanded her diet with probably less than five things in the last 16 years. She knows she should be eating healthier, but doesn't care. I do get her to choke down a multi vitamin daily.

Now, having said all that, DD16 is as healthy as a horse, is active in sports year-round, is almost 5'8" and still growing, her weight is perfect, and she rarely gets sick! So, my point is to continue to do all the suggested changes of trying to mix it up a bit and introduce new things, encourage her to at least try them, but if she continues to grow and remains on track, don't lose any sleep over it...

[This message edited by Phoenix1 at 12:24 PM, September 13th (Friday)]

StrongerOne posted 9/13/2013 15:10 PM

As everyone else said, normal for the age. Maybe heightened because of moving from house to house, different house rules, mom and dad not living together. Etc.

All that said: think of this as a way to help your daughter learn to adjust to change, and to understand that while she may not LIKE certain things, she will have to DEAL WITH those things. My folks had an unpleasantly rigid attitude about food and eating. So I didn't want that, but I also did not want my child to see himself as The Emperor.

Our food rules have always been -- 1. you don't have to eat it, but you do have to taste it. 2. Your meal is to be chosen from what's on the table. Because this is a house, not a restaurant, and I am a mom, not a servant.

So, if DS did not like the sauce, fine, he could have plain pasta. If he did not like the lettuce in the salad, fine, he could eat the cucumbers. Didn't like the yolks in the eggs? Fine, eat the whites. Or the toast.

Snacks between meals -- milk, fruit, veggies, pbjs. Or leftovers from the previous meal. That's it!

Your child will not starve, nor will she suffer a nutritional deficit from missing vitamins or whatever. If you're concerned about it, check with the pediatrician.

The other thing to do, and this is fun! but requires time and patience on your part, is to have your DD help you make the meal, especially the healthy stuff -- salads are great for little kids to make. They can choose the ingredients, tear lettuce, rinse veggies, turn the spinner, dump it in the bowl, shake up a (well closed!) jar of salad dressing. Or, peel and cut bananas for a fruit salad(you can use a butter knife, totally exciting for the kid because, look! I;m **cutting** with a **knife**).
Bananas, blueberries, mandarin oranges from a can -- squeeze some honey on it or stir in yogurt -- your three year old has now made a dessert!

Have fun!

SBB posted 9/13/2013 16:50 PM

Even if your WW is the worst cook in the world, eating raisins for supper just shouldn't be an option. It sounds like your WW is unwilling to exert any authority.

I am one of the worst cooks in the world (I'm learning!) but my girls have never had sultanas for dinner.

Interesting that XW is quick to jump on what YOU need to do but not so quick on seeing that there are other options. Plain pasta with steamed veggies and cheese or something like that.

Once kids are given the choice to have something sweet for dinner they will often start refusing anything else knowing that they will eventually be given the contraband.

My girls are awesome eaters. They jostle for broccoli (I have to count them out so they both get the same number of trees), love Thai, LOVE Sushi - everything. They both have really adventurous palates. I have noticed my 5 year olds taste buds have developed over the last year as she is finding stronger flavours a bit overwhelming. My 3 year old doesn't like mushy textures like porridge or breakfast cereal.

The sad clown (who was the main cook in the M) was giving them ham and salad for dinner most of his time with them. For a few weeks there I was faced with "Yuck! I don't like this. I want ham and salad".

It hurt like hell and I'm sensitive because I AM a novice cook but I held firm and told them they didn't have to eat their dinner but they wouldn't be getting anything else (not another dinner or fruit or ice-cream). They'd usually then eat their dinner. It took a few weeks but the whinging did finally stop.

XW needs to find her own groove and stop expecting you to fix this for her. There's no need for you to change what you're doing. She isn't eating the same thing every night or anything so XW can get back in her box.

Not your problem. If its an emotional reaction no amount of changing up the menu is going to fix it. There are few things kids can control in their life and maybe DD is doing that.

My vote is that she knows her mum is easy to crack so she's holding out for the good stuff. These little monkeys are fast learners. Bless.

dbellanon posted 9/13/2013 17:36 PM

For the record, I don't allow substitutions for dinner. And as far as the raisin thing goes, that was surprising to me. In my experience, WW was always more of a hard-ass than I was (Not always more effective, though, I might add). Not really sure what's going on there.

I'm sure DD could benefit from switching up the menu a bit, so that's something I can do, but you're right that ultimately her mother is going to have to set the standards in her house for the time that they are together. Hopefully she'll get over this hump soon.

[This message edited by dbellanon at 5:38 PM, September 13th (Friday)]

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 9/13/2013 17:42 PM

My kid was incredibly picky, especially about texture. I cooked separate meals for her for YEARS- until she was about seven. She's fourteen now and eats EVERYTHING in the house!!

Nature_Girl posted 9/13/2013 18:29 PM

I've had to let go of my hopes that STBX would provide my kids with healthy food. Hell, I've had to let go of my hopes that STBX would even feed the kids when he has them.

I cannot control him. I cannot control what he does or what kind of a parent he is. All I can do is re-parent the kids when they get back. I always assume that they'll return to me starving, and if they aren't it's because he just filled them up with junk food & soda pop before bringing them back, in which case they'll be starving an hour later.

I have to let it go.

Ashland13 posted 9/13/2013 19:35 PM

This is a familiar issue.

What comes to mind are words like "compromise", on the part of each person. At three years old, the kid's I've known have all had some kind of compromising mechanism, and certainly the adult in charge should, too.

I'm sorry for the child and for WW's lack of understanding with her, because it sounds like adjustment problems to me, but also a finicky eater beside, which we have too.

This was a complaint of Nearly Exh, who would go to no extra length at the beginning of the separation to provide food that DD would touch and it was very hard for her. It was an adjustment for me because prior to separation and divorce I would be more like my growing up and push her at new food. Right now, however, she's got enough on her proverbial plate to get stressed over eating so FWIW, for my part, I'm making food that I know she will eat so it will go by without a problem...we don't need anymore right now, you KWIM?

When she was 3, we made her similar things like you are with the white rice or pasta, but we introduced grilled cheese and hotdogs and she took to them, too. I like to give her berries, also and veggies she can dip that are raw. She's older now but hasn't changed for taste buds too much.

One thing that's consistent with her and cousin who's younger and far pickier is nothing saucy foods or things with spice. She saw the spice and wouldn't touch things. Chicken, too, nuggets or plain boneless chicken and broccoli with shredded cheese, starting out raw was a hit and still is. It doesn't have to be expensive.

I think of it like portable, hand food or dry consistency food that's quite plain. Bread is a big favorite and cold cuts without being a sandwich.

I wish you's not easy.

She is gluten free for the most part and also picky.

SBB posted 9/13/2013 19:36 PM

dbellanon, Sorry - I wasn't suggesting you allow substitutes, I was suggested XW does, hence the sultantas and fussiness.

cantlivewithouth posted 9/13/2013 19:46 PM

DSS went through this and still does it. Food is the one thing in his life he could control when DH and his XH split.

Even at 8 years old he has distinct lines that he draws. At our house, he knows we eat balanced meals and very little junk/snack food. He is still picky about vegetables, but he eats them because he doesn't have a choice. When I pack his lunch, he always wants healthy unprocessed foods.

At his mother's house it's the opposite. They eat more fast food and more processed food. When she packs his lunch is mostly processed and packaged food. He is fine with eating there.

At our house if we happen to grab fast food for whatever reason, it seems to bother him. He will question us about it too.

It's just something he can control. As long as he's getting what he needs, I'm okay with some pickiness. Every so often he refuses to eat dinner and that's fine. he won't starve to death.

What did help us at 3 and 4 years old was we had him help plan and make a meal once a week. That really helped with a lot of his pickiness as well.

ninebark posted 9/16/2013 12:46 PM

I got nothing to offer beyond what has already been said. But kids are funny.

For years my DS insisted that only Grammie made proper scrambled eggs, and he would never eat oatmeal that his father made because only mom makes it properly. The list went on. He outgrew all that, except the eggs and the oatmeal, he is still adament on that one.

Brandon808 posted 9/16/2013 13:48 PM

I do tend to make the same things
That can also be described as consistency. If the food is healthy then it shouldn't be a problem.

I feel like this is strange because while she can be finicky sometimes, she'll usually eat well at restaurants and at other people's houses.
It's not so strange. Children are wiser than they're often given credit for being. Restaurants and other people do not cook food out of love. You do. You don't have to spoil a child and feed them cake and soda for them to love the food mommy or daddy cooks for them. I guess she just feels more of the love when she has what daddy makes.

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