Sometimes I think a habit has to get really bad before you're willing to address it. You have to hit the breaking point before you realize that something's gotta change.
That's how I felt a few weeks ago when I realized that my kids were getting pickier and pickier about what they were eating. They've always been pretty decent eaters - eating certain things that other kids won't eat. But it was getting to the point where I was starting to make separate meals for them (something I thought I'd never do) and a few of the staple meals that they used to enjoy were suddenly becoming a fight. I hated the whining when we would go to someone else's place for supper - a basic meal like pizza was an issue because it tasted "different" than ours at home. I sensed we were on a downward spiral and I knew it would only get harder to change the longer I waited. So, one day the inspiration/motivation came to me. It was time to do something.
I decided that from now on the kids would eat what I serve them. The rules for myself (& Erik) were no nagging, no spoon feeding, no doing countdowns to coerce them into taking each bite. The rule for them was if they didn't finish what I had given them by the end of the meal then they would get it at the next meal or snack before they could have anything else (with the exception of breakfast). Keziah wouldn't eat her carrot soup the other night for supper. So, I heated up her bowl for lunch the next day and she still chose not to eat it. Finally, for afternoon snack, she grudgingly polished it off. I've always hesitated to "deprive" them of food - since my children fall in the "featherweight" category, but really, they are NOT going to starve themselves.
As for Silas, I can't quite reason with him yet so he's exempt from the rules - but I'm still serving him whatever I make, instead of assuming that he won't like it. He's surprised me a couple of times by eating something that I wouldn't have thought he would.
I'm not typing this to boast at what a wonderful mother I am.
OK, maybe a little bit of bragging - because last night I saw that my efforts were starting to pay off. I pulled out an old recipe I hadn't tried in awhile - probably stuck in the back of my recipe box because I figured the kids would NEVER eat it. One of those chicken & rice casseroles with mushroom soup and onion soup mix. A very non-descript colour of mush all mixed together (but tasty!). The whole time I was mixing it up, I was also gearing myself up for the fight that would surely ensue at the supper table shortly after.
But, to my surprise, it went relatively... well.
Micah took a bite and said, "it's not that good, but it's not that bad either" and he proceeded to eat the amount I told him to without a fight. Keziah was a bit more hesitant but ended up eating her serving before meal time was over. It, once again, reminded me that with a little perseverance (or maybe stubbornness?) on my part, we can conquer some bad habits.
Next challenge - sibling rivalry. Any suggestions??