“OK, dinner’s ready,” calls my husband from the kitchen.
Big Sister remains glued to the couch like a statue, determined not to be the first at the dinner table.
Little Brother’s reaction? The other end of the spectrum.
“YAY, my dinner’s ready! My dinner’s ready! YAY!” he shouts as he skips into the kitchen ready for whatever my husband has prepared.
Do you have a picky eater in your house? Do you have a garbage disposal? I have both.
My picky eater came first. I got most of my parenting training from her. She was a good breastfeeder in terms of latch and interest. But she lacked staying power.
She would snack. I just get all set up to feed her, remote in hand, glass of water handy, magazines and books nearby in case there was nothing on TV, and she’d be done.
Less than two hours later, she’s be ready to eat again.
I tried every suggestion from the nurse, the doctor, the lactation consultant, well-meaning friends and family. Nothing worked to make her extend her eating sessions.
She was always well-fed, albeit in small bits. And because she was my first and I had no other children to tend to, I could indulge her eating habits.
My second, well, I don’t know if it was because I had a two-year-old to look after already or because he was just a hungry little boy, but he was a champion eater in every way. Also breastfed, he did exactly what the breastfeeding books tell you a baby should do.
And he didn’t stop there. When we introduced solids, he followed along as if he had read the book himself.
People tell me it’s because he’s a boy and she’s a girl. Boys are big eaters. Girls are not. I’m not sure I believe it.
I think my parenting has a lot to do with it. I had time to coddle my first. Not so much with my second.
In general, my daughter is more picky (about everything) and my son is more easy going (about everything).
That’s not to say that my daughter isn’t relaxed sometimes and about some things and that my son isn’t a stubborn two-year-old, but overall, their personalities are very much the textbook first and second child.
My biggest challenge is always the eating.
I try hard to follow the piece of advice that dictates you should let children eat as much as they want at a meal time and not force them to eat more than they feel they need. After all, a healthy child won’t starve him or herself.
But I’m human, and I took time to prepare that meal that is now left behind and going cold as my four-year-old moves onto another, more interesting activity.
I’m being self-centered, I know. But my feelings are hurt because she won’t eat what I have so lovingly prepared for her.
And I didn’t even realize this was the case until my husband cooked dinner one night and my daughter barely ate a bite. I saw in him my upset, my disappointment, my hurt feelings.
To lighten my mood, I turned to my son who was busy gobbling down everything on his plate as if it were his last meal. That to me is parenting success. I guess I just have to work harder on my picky eater.