Friday, May 11, 2012

Post-Dinner Yuck

I posted about this on FB last night because I was feeling a bit, well, ENRAGED at the time.  I'm just so tired of it.  Every night for dinner, the kids generally serve themselves and the rule is you eat what is on your plate.  Obviously, you can always have more but their first serving is fairly non-negotiable even though they still try to ask how much they have to eat.  Bah!  Then generally, they jump up from the table and go play.  Fast forward to 1-2 hours later and they are whining that they are HUNGRY.  Waaaaaaaaaah!

Last night's dinner though was a perfect example though because it wasn't a dinner that they hate.  Tacos.  We actually make them to order so no one complains.  Bryce and Piper's are vegetarian and Caroline's is carnivorous.  Each child was given one taco (a small flour tortilla) filled with the things they like.  Caroline and Bryce each ate theirs without issue within a few minutes.  I almost always ask if they want more and they didn't.  They just wanted to get back outside to PLAY!  Some nights I remind them that this is it for the night, other nights I don't waste my breath.  Piper picked at her food and ate bout 1/3 of it and said she was "sooooo full."  I told her she wasn't getting anything else and I left it on the table as I often do with her plate.

Last night we ate around 6pm. At 7:15 when we were getting collected to go upstairs to start the bedtime routine, they all 3 start whining that they are SOOOOOO HUNGRY!  Now, Piper still had food on her plate and I can understand why she was hungry so then Caroline throws a fit that Piper "gets to eat."  Nevermind the fact that she ate the same amount as Piper was given.

I told her that the kitchen is closed after dinner and you need to be sure to eat enough that your belly is still satisfied 2 hours later.  I'm not saying to stuff yourself, but if you eat a satisfying meal, 2 hours later is reasonable not to be truly hungry.  (3 hours later and yes, I'd be willing to offer a healthy snack.) My children cannot grasp this concept.  To them, a meal is where you eat the bare minimum to get up from the table.

What I don't understand and having a hard time with is that this has generally been the policy at our house for a long time.  You'd think that we indulge them frequently and that's why it keeps up.  Nope.  And some nights they literally eat 5 bites of a meal that they don't like and then get up from the table.  I'm not going to mandate ever that they have to eat a certain amount, but when will they learn from their mistakes of barely eating anything?????

I also know that quite often when they say they are starving or hungry that they aren't truly hungry, they just want to snack.  It makes me nuts.  We are not a snacky family.  If you look in my pantry for a snack you're not going to find very much.  I do that on purpose!  Some fruit, whole grain crackers and such, yes, but no snacky stuff.  I do have some "snacks" on hand for school lunches but that is the ONLY thing I use them for and I don't like the kids eating them at other times.

Sometimes I just feel like I'm banging my head against the wall.  Consistency is one thing but when they still aren't getting the concept, it's hard.  I want to put a lock on my fridge and pantry to keep them out.  Caroline suggested a "Kitchen is Closed" sign but I don't know what good that would do since we basically say that and it has no impact.

The whole food/feeding/eating part of parenting is probably one of my least favorite parts of the job.  Why do we have to feed them?  Remind me again.  Some days, I don't know why I freaking bother.  Caroline is determined not to eat anything healthy and gets pickier the older she gets, I think, no matter how much healthy stuff we introduce her to.  Thank goodness the younger two are a tiny bit better but they are still major food complainers.


Heather said...

Can Aunt Chrissa help with the healthy eating thing? If they help you cook are they more into eating? We have the same rule--and when Gretchen wakes me at 3AM because she is hungry I say, "You should've eaten your dinner..." What about making them stay at the table a set amount of time...they can't play until everyone is done eating (say 30-mins)?

Katie said...

Emily eats her dinners and still asks for food later. I tend to let her eat pretzels or bread after the other girls go to bed. Just don't want to fight that battle and she is so skinny anyways. Oh well. Teagan is a different story. She's pickier than the other two, so I am struggling getting her to eat at meals and not to demand fruit snacks on the hour. Sheesh.

Erika said...

Yeah, we've tried those things. Bryce has cooked a whole meal with me and then will eat almost nothing. They talk about wanting to eat healthy but then won't eat much. As for sitting at the table, yes, we enforce this as a family rule. We don't answer the phone, we sit and talk about our days even if they are supposedly done eating. They help clean up after dinner too. It's just that they can't grasp the concept that they should eat a reasonable amount of food so they aren't hungry in an hour.

@Katie - T sounds just like Piper. She's always begging for fruit snacks too after almost eating nothing for dinner. Makes me mental.