Toddler vs food

7:51 PM

I had plans to blog about I don’t even remember what today, but this morning I decided to walk 5.7 kilometres and then still had 1.5 left to hack to pick up Ishita in school and walk back home. My original plan was to blog once she was in bed after dinner, and that is where it became complicated.

Toddlers and food are an epic battle the world over, I wonder why they say there are fussy eaters, because fussy eating seems to be the norm and the exceptions are actually the kiddos that will eat without protest. Simply put toddlers test their boundaries from the age of two until I have no idea when, and right now I laugh at the fact a 2 years old is said to go through the terrible twos…give me these back anytime, 3 years old are usually far worse, and for me it pretty much should be called the taxing threes.
Ishita will eat well of course, provided that the food on her plate is: or dal and idli, Maggi noodles, rice, mushroom, cheese and French fries. I will not count chips and chocolate, because that doesn’t count. And there are the hit or miss food such as apple, grapes, bananas and strawberries.
Anything else is apparently inedible, or edible but only after serving the chef a solid dose of drama, a few disgusted spits a la Gordon Ramsey on either Masterchef USA or Hell’s kitchen (your choice).

Leaving me like all parents frustrated, some will take the easy way out and give in to the kid serving them what they want, I’m of the other school, thinking that kids should at least taste a little of everything, and of course if she is really truly hungry she will eat what’s on her plate regardless of what was on the menu. But on days when she is not particularly super hungry I get battles of the type I got tonight.
Tonight’s menu was steamed snow peas, ginger and garlic prawns and egg ribbon noodles. Except that to Ishita it felt more like steamed kryptonite, seasoned toxic waste and rip off Maggi noodles. She took one bite at the noodles and decided they were inedible, tried asking for Maggi instead…not happening, then she tried negotiating having chocolate instead (yeah right as if it would even work!), then sensing and knowing that I would actually send her to bed if she didn’t eat she tried jumping the gun, but not without asking for a sippy cup of soy milk. I told her that yup she was fine to go to bed, but that there would be no soy milk, no light and no bedtime stories if she didn’t finish her plate: Mom 1 – Toddler 0. She looked very annoyed at the fact that darn choosing to self punish herself still meant mom gets to hammer some details to said punishment in. So she sat back at the dinning table and took a fork full of the offending non-Maggi noodles, and not without making a martyr face accompanied with over the top sobs and choking sounds (little does she knows both my sister and I tried to pull that trick on my mom when we were kids and that it doesn’t work). A sip or two of her water and she tried calling it quit asking casually for the bed and milk, not working, I got her to eat the prawns, which surprisingly got down much better than the noodles, then another fork full of noodles and the last few prawns. The snow peas refused to go in her mouth, and when about half the noodles went down I agreed to let her go to bed, with her milk, but when she asked for a story that one was turned down, explaining that next time she should finish her plate.

I’m sure many of you can relate here, all have stories of pint sized negotiators trying to outsmart the parent who when they were kids just tried to do the same. each and every time we are having a toddler versus food issue I suddenly find myself suddenly knowing what my mom went through and finding the way she stood her ground fair, when of course as the fussy eater I was the one thinking she was in fact a cruel monster. My mom of course must be smiling from ear to ear each time she listen to me cribbing about Ishita’s eating habit for she has been there and probably hoped all along that one day I’ll be on her side of the fence. And here I am dealing with a Junior that is trying to pull all the same tricks I attempted to pull myself, equally in vain might I add.

I know that she will turn into a grown up that likes good food, and variety simply because I refused to give in to a childhood long of starchy goodness on her plate. But until we get there, there will be moments I’ll just feel sapped out of all energy after a meal finding comfort in a cup of tea at the least…apparently that’s what being a parent can be like at times. And the other day when I announced clearly that I was not cooking for the dustbin, I heard my voice sounding like the one of my mom who used to say the same things to me when I would whine in front of my fish gratin!


  1. I think you handled it well. My grandmother used to cook different foods for everyone and I saw how much time and effort that took. For some of us it was a bad thing as they grew up still eating the same old foods and none of them were that good. I actually liked veggies though because I got to go out to our garden and help pick them so I almost always ate what she had. A few times I asked for special meals like maggi type noodles though. I really don't think it's good to let a child eat whatever they want. It's the parent's job to guide them and teach them and you're not doing that if you let them make all the decisions.

  2. I remember my mom saying "I am not running a restaurant" each time we attempted to ask for something else to be on the plate LOL
    I used to love my paternal grand ma's vegetable garden too, I was after the cherry tomatoes like they was no tomorrow. My Grand ma knew that when I would come for a week for the summer a lot of them would never make it to the kitchen because I was eating them straight off the plant :) We got used to see lots of fruits and veggies at her place because she put her garden to good use, the vegetable patch was growing a lot of seasonal varieties and she had a cherry tree, plum tree, pear tree and a red and a green vine, so all these were home grown, the pear tree grew so giangantic that it was yielding enough pears for all of us to grow sick of them by the end of the season LOL, she would share them by the shopping bag load with family and neighbours and still find herself with more than enough to make compotes, jams and pies and even then there were still some left that would rot away, that's how crazy that pear tree was. She had to cut it down a few years ago because it was sadly rotting, but my dad said it was an old tree too because they planted it in the garden when he was a kid himself. Anyway the point was that fresh fruits and vegetables were something we got to see all the time at my grand ma's place :)

  3. You handled it really well, I must say. Calm Restraint. My mom never said I wont cook for the dustbin - but her line was always I am not running a restaurant and unless this is your house and you have cooked - you better eat what I have cooked for you :)

    I used to get sent to my room if I were creating a scene too. I was asked to finish my weeping and self pity drama in the room and come out half an hour later to finish my meal. The others would have eaten and my portion of the meal in my plate would be left on the dining table covered.

    Half an hour of self pity later and lots of tears shed in my room, I would come out of the room vowing to my mom that I would be a better parent who would understand my child better than her :) and eat my meal!!

  4. My mom also frequently used the "I'm not running a restaurant" line :)
    And like you I claimed I would be a nicer, more compassionate less mean parent than she was each time I was punished. And my mom used to say "Yeah right, we'll see about that when the times come". Oh my oh my she must be constantly grinning from ear to ear these days.


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