Friday, February 9, 2007

Vegetable Hater

Okay so I know I have spoken about Taylor being a preemie and all and was once featured over at with a little post about our miracle. Well, that miracle has turned into a handsome yet difficult 4 year old. Taylor has always been on the light side when it comes to his weight. He is actually much taller than the average 4 yr old, but he just recently hit the whopping 30 lbs. This has come from lots of fattening foods (extra butter on his spaghetti, whole milk for him, etc) and requiring him to sit at the damn table and eat something other than a nibble of a hot dog and a bag of Cheetos.

Dinner time is a stressful time at our house. The crying, pouting, giggling, kicking, feeding the dog his food is more than hubby and I can take. It seemed like it was getting better for a little while there, but we seem to be going back to square one. Taylor will tell dad before the meal is even on the table that he doesn't like something. Dad is at the breaking point, I can tell. We have tried timing him, rewards, no dinner/no dessert, no eating then straight to bed, etc. The thing is, Taylor NEEDS to eat. He needs to gain weight. He needs to stay healthy. Now I know what you all must be thinking, he is a toddler and toddlers are picky. Yes, I completely agree with this having been a picky child myself. But is has now spread to daycare as well. Taylor refuses to eat his lunch, telling the teachers he doesn't like veggies. He comes home starving for his after school snack which he gets, but then nothing else until dinner. Dinner time comes - Taylor sits. Looks. And sits some more. Complains. Sits. If there happens to be something on his plate that he really likes, like mac and cheese, it is gone in a second, while everything else just sits and waits to be fed to the dog.

So, please, please tell me someone out there has this wonderful idea that has worked wonders for their little ones.

Mommy needs help.

1 comment:

The Preemie Experiment said...

I sure can relate!!

When my daughter (25 weeker) was 4 she was 28 pounds. We tried so many tricks to get her to eat. Here's a few things that worked, hopefully one of them will help you...

First, she has sensory issues (very common in preemies) and has a hard time sitting in a chair. She used to hop while eating. We made a weighted lap pet. They sell them in sensory catalogs but I just took a fabric ankle weight and my mother made a washable cover. We would put it on her lap during meal time. We also put a little foot stool under her feet at the table. This gave her the input that she needed.

Second, we fed (and still continue to do so) her 5 - 6 times a day. I didn't care what she ate, as long as she ate. We added whipping cream to milk, butter to potatoes, etc.

She had so many specialists at the time but her GI told us something that stuck with me. As long as she is following her own growth curve, she was fine. She was always in the 3rd percentile for weight. She stayed at that percentile and that's all the GI cared about.

Third, we stopped pushing food completely. I figured the only way we were going to get any solid help from doctors was to show them what would happen if I stopped forcing food.

It happened.

She fell off of her curve and all the docs and specialists finally started to listen. It was an ENT who changed our world. He said that her throat was too tiny for tonsils and adenoids. Although they were not swollen, it was time to take them out. We had a sleep study done and it showed that she had several episodes of hypopnea. I reluctantly agreed to the surgery when she was 6 years old.

The surgery went well and her recovery was so fast.

She gained 6 pounds in the first 6 months after the surgery. Apparently she was getting better sleep which meant she burned less calories at night. And, it was easier for her to swallow so she ate a bit more at every meal.

The biggest benefit (for us) was that she completely stopped having sinus infections. She had basically lived on a variety of antibiotics since she was 2 years old. She is now 8 years old and has only had 1 sinus infection.

She now weighs 46 pounds and is 50" tall. I finally got weight on her and now she is due to have a palatal expander put in (thanks to a high palate related to prematurity). I know she will drop weight because she won't want to eat.

I know how hard it is. Hopefully one of those ideas will work for you. I do highly recommend getting a sleep study to see if he is having any episodes of apnea or hypopnea during sleep. Also, if he sleep is regulated he may not be as hyper during the day. It helped a little for our daughter. She still is quite hyper at times.

Good luck.