food issues, anyone?

Lately, the Potato has been having a lot of food issues at dinner. Well, they’re not even really food issues–they’re just overall refusing to eat dinner issues.

The Potato has always had a fairly healthy (read–voracious) appetite. There have been few foods that he’s rejected outright–neither of our kids are particularly picky eaters, but he’s definitely been the more adventurous of the two of them. He loves spicy food, all kinds of fruit, most of the vegetables that we eat, etc. But over the last few weeks, he’s just started rejecting dinner altogether, unless it’s one of the two or three dishes that he totally loves, like the pesto pasta pictured below.


I’m not really sure what’s caused this sudden rebellion (hmm, could it be that his third birthday is not so far away, and he’s trying to use up the terrible twos?). He’s still eating everything under the sun for breakfast and lunch, and we’ve been preventing him from snacking too much in the late afternoon, but I think the control is just too important to him to give up.

It’s long been the policy in our house that in order to get dessert, you have to eat at least one bite of everything on your plate. You don’t have to pretend to like it, you don’t have to finish the whole serving, but you do have to at least try it. Tonight, my MIL is here, and landisdad made a very nice lemon chicken dish with zucchini and new potatoes. My MIL had brought a pie, and it was warming in the oven as we sat down to dinner. The Potato played with his food, but by the time the rest of us had finished, he had literally had only one bite of chicken. We reminded him of the rule, and he still refused to eat.

Landisdad started to dish out the pie, and the Potato suddenly realized that he wasn’t getting any, and became outraged at the injustice of it all. Eventually, I calmed him down, and reminded him yet again that the way to pie was through potatoes and zucchini. He came in, ate a bite of each, and got some pie.

At bedtime, these were the two books he picked for me to read him.


Do you think he’s trying to tell me something?

(For those who’ve not read the Tawny Scrawny Lion recently, it’s the story of a lion who is convinced to eat carrot stew by a fat little rabbit. I’ll assume that Green Eggs and Ham is universally understood.)


July 9, 2006. books for kids, thoughtful parenting.


  1. Leggy replied:

    That’s funny- maybe he is trying to tell you something!

  2. MommyWithAttitude replied:

    Hhmmmm… I would give you some advice, but if you saw my kids at dinner time, you’d say, “Um, no thanks, don’t need your advice!” LOL But that is hilariously ironic that he picked those two books.

  3. Awnya Boam replied:

    My child likes to do the same thing! He’s now almost 3 1/2 but has been refusing dinner meals for a while! Althought there are times when he will eat more than me at dinner (like the other night when he wanted pancakes, which we were having anyways…) he at more than I did!! I wish that everynight was the same way….maybe he’s filling up a “hollow leg” in the daytime and finds it un-necessary to eat at night….;0)

  4. chichimama replied:

    Hmm. Will have to check out the Tawny Scrawny Lion for my picky eater in training, A.

    Hope it is a short lived phase…C goes through them every now and then.

  5. christie replied:

    lol about the books 🙂

  6. chip replied:

    consider yourself lucky, BK will eat only a very narrow slice of kinds of food — mostly white. And he won’t even try anything new. It was a huge breakthrough when he tried and then actually liked sesame cold noodles (though I did tell him it was noodles with peanut butter on them…. close enough). In general sounds though like Potato is a lot better all around eater than BK and that this is some kind of phase; maybe you’re right about using up the terrible twos. Because, you know, the terrible threes are a totally different set of issues.

  7. MetroDad replied:

    My daughter is doing something similar these days. She’ll eat everything and anything during the day but, at dinner, she’ll usually refuse to eat anything except a hot dog. Whenever we give her something else, she refuses to eat it and it doesn’t seem to bother her that she’s forgoing any dessert.

    Maybe I’ll try some pesto pasta!

  8. Kate the Shrew replied:

    Sorry he’s turned fussy on you. It’s always disheartening when you lose ground on something you thought was all sorted out.

    Queen B did the same thing at about that age, though, for what that’s worth. She used to eat pretty much whatever you gave her, but lately she’s been very entrenched in only one dish at a time. One week of nothing but noodles and carrots for all three meals, several days of nothing but grapes and crackers, a few more of nothing but chicken… I figure it all balances out in the end, and there are so many things that I *have* to fight her about, I’m just letting this one slide.

  9. alala replied:

    Erm, yeah, I think he might be trying to tell you something. No idea what it could be, though.

  10. kdubs replied:

    When you figure it out let me know. My kiddo eats healthy but not what we eat. He is SOOO picky.

    Sorry it’s been so long but I wanted to pop in and say hi and catch up.

    Hugs to you,
    Kdubs 🙂

  11. JGS replied:

    Our Okapis are doing the same thing – especially our little boy who is 3.5 yrs. It has been a battle for quite some time and it is pretty frustrating. I think if they don’t want to eat, then they can sit at the table until everyone else at the table is finished. But my wife and guests often try to feed him, feeding into the attention he seems to crave (instead of food). I think he is trying to establish some sense of independence and he’ll learn that if he doesn’t want to be starving in the morning, he’ll eat. but if he’s not hungry he doesn’t have to eat. It’s just a bit nervewracking since we know eating issues have such a powerful impact on their mental health.

  12. jackie replied:

    My girls have to eat two bites of anything on their plates before dessert! My L-girl is the picky-picky one for sure, and I think some of it is also about obstinance and control– I cna’t be too hard on her tho, because my mealtime stand-offs are legend in my family!

  13. Jennifer replied:

    I am picturing your lovely dinner with your MIL being — well not exactly ruined but you know what I mean — by an almost-three-year-old throwing a fit! Yikes!

    My kids have never once sat at the table for the entire time that my husband & I have. They always ask to be excused and then play at our feet. We rarely have dessert… Does it work as a bribe to get them to sit relatively calmly until the adults are finished?

  14. christie replied:

    It’s time yet again for the RFS blog awards! Go nominate your favorites!

  15. jo(e) replied:

    Maybe it’s becaue I’ve more kids, but I always just ignored these stages. I always figured it was my job as a parent to have healthy food in the house, but not my job to make sure they ate it. If the kids didn’t want to eat, I just shrugged and figured — oh, well, they will get hungry eventually. Now, of course, I’ve got these skinny teenagers who eat huge quantities of everything ….

  16. Kate replied:

    My 3 year old went through a period last year that we refer to as the “white diet.” It was all pasta and bread and rice and white cheese. Any time we tried to get her to eat something else, it was like we were trying to pour acid in her eyes “ahhhhh!! noooooooo.” We finally just gave up and eventually she came around.

  17. Ashley replied:

    My son will refuse dinner sometimes. He’s just not a big eater and what he does eat is very selective. Thanks to public school though he’s more willing to try new stuff. They’ll rebel a while just for the control issue, but stick to your guns. Your child won’t starve himself (whether or not you agree at the time..) 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: