Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. A

A has been working himself into the Terrible Twos and although he's shown all the classic symptoms like independence, separation anxiety, clinginess, crying jags, stubbornness and so on, for the most part he's been his usual agreeable self. Except for the last week, when all of us a sudden every meal time has become an all out battle of wills. We've tried serving him whatever we're having, asking him what he'd like (but only giving two healthy-ish choices), and on Sunday M decided to see what would happen if we just let him graze and eat whatever and whenever he wanted. All three options had the same result: the minute he sits down to eat he throws a temper tantrum. We remove him from the table. He cries til he throws up. He calms down. He comes back to the table. He pitches another fit. We remove his food. He goes hungry. Until the next meal and it starts all over again. It's a little bit worse if I'm trying to eat too, but that's not saying much because it's downright horrible. So, in addition to trying to deal with his finicky eating, we're also having to deal with a huge meltdown at every meal.

We've tried talking to him about it in advance, talking to him when he's sitting down, holding him while it happens, getting angry and putting him in another room, but the end result is the same: he doesn't eat. It makes me want to cry, because after it's all over he invariably comes up to me and says "Love, Mommy?" which is his way of requesting a hug. I don't think he wants to act this way, he just can't help it.

We were willing to chalk it up to his cold for a while, but I know he's almost over it now and he doesn't have any problem eating snacks like Cheerios, graham crackers, Goldfish or fruit. It's just mealtime. Do we just give up for now, let him snack and trust that he'll start eating meals again? Do we stick with serving him and try to work through the crying? Do we all eat separately? I'm at my wits end here, so anyone out there dealing with mealtime tantrums, PLEASE let me know what you think!!

1 comment:

kari said...

I can offer you a one-hour appointment at no charge. I LOVE working with parents on kids' behavior. I am so serious. If ever you get to a breaking point, they hey, it won't hurt.