So, given one of my recent posts (Mr Happy), was about how one of my lads is an exceedingly happy little boy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this post is about my other son. He however, is still quite some way from having solids. So please forgive my if I sound as though I am contradicting myself, but I assure you, if you spent a couple of days with Boy-Boy, you’d understand that we do all have our off moments.
The trouble is, he is an exceedingly fussy eater, and getting fussier by the day. When he first started solids there was nothing that wouldn’t pass his lips. He was at his most content with a jerky stick in his hand and all over his face, but those days are long gone. These days he will eat; baked beans, tinned spaghetti, spaghetti bolognaise (provided it is fresh), macaroni cheese (again no left overs), biscuits, kiwi fruit (only golden ones), strawberry or berry yoghurts, some biscuits, popcorn, two types of breakfast cereal with milk, and a particular type of chocolate bar. We routinely try to trick him into eating something which is not on this list, but we have to be careful as if he notices, there is a very real danger that the food we have hidden the “surprise” in, will be knocked off the “approved substances list”. I have offered him food; which to my eyes at least appears almost identical. Perhaps I need to visit the opticians again though, as he seems to notice even the most subtle difference.
What follows, if we aren’t careful, can rapidly become a war of wills, and if you have ever tried to argue with a two year old you will know that you are completely wasting your breath, energy and time. They just don’t have the capacity to fully understand what you are trying to convey to them, and so stick firmly to their guns. After Mrs L. and I have decided who is going to feed him and we actually get him to the table, he can sometimes be persuaded to eat his food. Much of the time though, he simply refuses. Voices get raised, the word “No” gets used frequently, and the naughty corner is visited. The wall gets banged and feet are stomped, the carpet gets laid on, and lots of crying takes place. And our little lad doesn’t behave all that well either.
Really though, at dinner time his favourite word is No! If it is repeated several times that is even better, and the more he says it, the crosser he gets. We try as hard as we can in the most simple language we can manage, to explain that it is “yummy” or “it will do you good”, but this is where we come up against a major obstacle. You see, Boy-Boy is deaf. Well, perhaps I am being overly dramatic as he significant hearing loss (moderate/severe) and has to wear hearing aids to hear properly. As a result his level of comprehension is a considerable way behind his peers. I think that he is also aware of lack of understanding and he finds this incredibly frustrating.
In the end we will usually relent, and he is allowed to leave the dinner table. Later in the evening, we will give him some cereal, a yoghurt and a kiwi, and give him a look, which is supposed to let him know who is boss. In return he gives us a look, which can only really be interpreted as victorious.
It has been suggested to us, that if he doesn’t eat he should just go hungry, and I agree. In principle this is a wonderful idea. Except that the people who offer this advice, are not the same people who will be getting out of bed at two o’clock in the morning to give him some cereal because he has been woken up by an empty tummy. That would be me and Mrs L. Added to which, I think that for this to be effective, he has to work out what the consequences of his actions are, and currently I don’t think he understands cause and effect just yet.
Whilst at times this can be unbelievably frustrating, I always remind myself that he is only two, and he doesn’t know any better. I can raise my voice, or punish him for not eating, but this can only really lead to an aversion to meal times. Hopefully this is just a phase that he is going through, and in time, a few more selected items will be allowed back onto the menu. For the time being though, it just means that I get a second helping of seconds!