So like every mommy I am trying to get my son, Noah, to eat. Someone once said that you can’t force kids to do three things – Eat, Sleep, or Smile. But of course I want to beat the odds and do whatever I can to make Noah enjoy the amazingly delicious and nutritious food that I set before him.
Noah is still eating primarily jarred baby food. He is 12 months old. When I tell people this, they seem a little shocked. I mean, he is old enough to put things in his mouth on his own, right? But I’ve kind of been avoiding finger foods because as I mentioned in another post, Noah likes to throw them on the floor and then I get frustrated because our grocery budget does not account for food being wasted by throwing it on the floor. BUT I KNOW that Noah can’t keep eating jarred food forever – although sometimes I think I will still be spoon-feeding him when he’s in school and I have to show up at lunch and sit with him at his lunch table with all his little buddies and say “Open wide here comes the airplane!!!!!!!!” – so today we started with scrambled eggs.
They were beautiful! Not runny at all – perfectly fluffy! I wanted to eat them! But lately I have been obsessed with making sure Noah is getting enough protein and he needs to be a big boy and learn to feed himself, so I laid a few sunshine yellow eggs before him. He took one piece, touched it to his tongue and then hurled it to the ground.
And so the battle began.
We went back and forth like this for awhile. Sometimes a few pieces would actually make it down into his belly and I would dance and sing and flail my arms in celebration – to affirm his good behavior – but mostly he just enjoyed the thrill of throwing them off the tray.
Finally, my husband took Noah out of the chair and mealtime was over. I was sad because there were still so many scrambled egg pieces left. What was even more disheartening was that when Ryan picked Noah up out of the seat, most of the egg pieces that I THOUGHT he had eaten had actually just fallen down under his chubby little legs and gotten shmooshed.
Scrambled eggs on the floor and scrambled eggs on the highchair… I ran to get the vaccuum.
When I returned I was shocked to see Noah jumping up and down for joy in front of his highchair, gleefully shoving bits of scrambled eggs in his mouth.
What?!? This kid wouldn’t eat the scrambled eggs when he was all bibbed up and sitting proper but now that eating scrambled eggs is on his terms, he’s going to excitedly devour them all?
I decided to experiment. I mean, I am a desperate mom trying to give my son the opportunity to grow big and strong!
I put more scrambled eggs on the seat of his highchair and watched as Noah left the toy he was playing with and practically leapt for them. He grabbed a fistful, giggling like a mad scientist as he ate and walked around the kitchen. I put another handful of scrambled eggs on the seat. This time he came running for them like an Olympic champion. I could tell that Noah thought it was magic to eat food off the highchair seat, run around, and then go back and eat some more.
Problem was, he would get half the fistful in his mouth, and the other half would fall down to the floor, which Noah would then bend down and pick up and eat as well. I was seriously conflicted by this. I really wanted Noah to eat the eggs, but how can I teach him that throwing scrambled eggs to the floor while sitting in his highchair is a bad choice when I fully endorse his eating scrambled eggs off the floor while he’s running around?
At the end of it all, there were scrambled eggs all over the kitchen and all over Noah, but he had eaten a sufficient amount! For today, I feel good that Noah got some protein. I’m sure I violated all the expert advice about mealtime – but all I can say is: When all else fails, if you can’t get your child to eat in his highchair, try taking him out of the highchair and letting the highchair feed him.
It’s super magical.
I see a children’s book in the future!
Julie – If it makes you feel any better, Rowan STILL eats stuff off the floor, and she’s 4. I used to call her the “Extractor” because she would put fruit in her mouth, squash it all and spit out the skins and/or pulp all over herself. Kids are messy, but cute!