Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Toast is Always Browner

My kids are not horribly picky eaters, but they are definitely moody about when, what, and how much they eat. Some days they’ll plow through everything on their plates and beg for more; some days they’ll turn their nose up at whatever I offer them; some days they’ll nibble at one thing and ignore another. Sometimes they’ll gorge themselves at lunch and only pick at dinner. Sometimes they have no interest in breakfast but have third helpings at lunch. My son, at least, is able to tell me whether he’s not eating because he’s not hungry or because he doesn’t like what’s in front of him, and he can tell me when he’s finished eating. But with my daughter, who is essentially non-verbal, I just have to try offering something else or giving her time to eat a few more bites. With my son, my general rule is that once I take his plate away, the meal is over and there’s nothing more to eat until a reasonable snack time. With my daughter, I’m a bit more lenient because she’s not able to express that she’s full.

And since she knows she can nibble after she’s been excused from the table, she will often find a sudden interest in food after her plate has been taken away. Provided, of course, that it’s someone else’s food.

She began that interest before she could even walk. Both kids have high chairs that can either be strapped to a regular chair or sit on the floor. We keep the chairs on the floor in the playroom and often have breakfast and lunch there. I would sometimes finish feeding her before her brother finished eating, so I would let her crawl around while he ate. Without fail, if there was food on his tray, she would crawl over, grab the edge of his tray, haul herself up, and help herself to whatever he was eating. It didn’t matter if it was exactly the same thing she had just had on her plate and ignored. If it was on his plate, she wanted some.
To this day, she prefers taking food off someone else’s plate to eating her own. We often have toast with breakfast in the morning, and after nibbling a bit of her own, she will come over and take mine right out of my hand. It’s exactly the same toast. I usually cut a piece of toast in half and give us each a piece, so it’s literally the same slice of toast. But in her eyes, mine is better than hers. Anyone’s is better than hers!

Fortunately, as you can see from the video above, her brother is a pretty good sport about sharing with her. In fact, the two of them tend to like different parts of the meal, so she’ll finish her hotdog and then steal his, and he’ll let her but then ask for more noodles, which I take from her plate because she’s not eating them. This system works much better than just giving her two hotdogs and him a double helping of noodles. Because the toast is always browner on someone else’s plate, apparently.

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