Hunger Strike in Toddlerdom

Is there anything more soul destroying than a toddler hunger strike? Our tiny lady is currently on a dinner strike. She will not touch anything resembling dinner with the one exception being pasta in tomato sauce with cheese on top. Clearly she can’t eat this everyday though for the sake of two very tired and worried parents she probably gets it more often than she should!

We are worn out with trying different tactics. Distraction. Bribery. Coercion. Encouragement. Stern faces. Happy faces. Mama eating it. Teddy eating it. Nothing works. Nothing. No amount of cajoling or threatening or pleading is getting that child to eat. I confess I’m slightly impressed by her willpower! I wish I could apply the same to my love of junk food.

I’m thinking that this is life’s way of playing a little joke on me. Hey remember how fussy an eater you used to be? Remember all the times your poor mother tried to get you to eat even a banana and you wouldn’t? Well ha ha this is exactly how she felt. Kharma at its very best. I remember, as a three or four year old, hiding behind our sofa because my mother was trying to get me to taste jam! Ugh, I thought, it’s so sticky and weird looking, no way am I eating that. My mum offered to allow both my sister and I an ice-cream if I just took a little taste. I think she was hoping the guilt of depriving my sibling as well as myself might work. She didn’t count on sister solidarity. My sister joined me behind the couch and assured me it was okay; she could live without the ice-cream!

It may seem odd that my mum was getting so worked up about jam which isn’t even the healthiest of lunch options but this poor woman was at her wit’s end. I was an absolutely terrible eater and she was running out of things to feed me. She probably thought jam would be something nice I could have in a sandwich. She didn’t count on me being so stubborn. I still don’t like jam today despite having actually tried it. And guess what? My daughter doesn’t care for it much either!

I am guessing I will just have to accept that my girl takes after me in more than just looks. She can be stubborn to the point of pigheadedness when it comes to making a stand about something. Sometimes it is like arguing with myself.

So I’ve just had to live with the idea that this is the way things are for now. She clearly isn’t starving. She hasn’t lost a dramatic amount of weight.  She eats quite well at other meal times. She has just decided to wield some power when it comes to her dinner time. Toddlers don’t have a lot of power in their little worlds so I’m willing to allow that she might want to have some say in her day to day routine and this is where she has decided to stick her oar in. I don’t think it will last forever (despite it feeling like forever now) and I’m sure it will pass. By then we will have moved onto some other toddler power play. I look forward to it…really I do!*    *wipes sweat from face!

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