For the last couple of months, I cannot get her to eat. It's clear that she is just too busy. She will not/cannot stop what she is doing to put food into her mouth. She refuses.
Yes, if she starves herself all day she will gobble up her dinner about 90% of the time. The other 10% she will refuse the dinner, go to bed hungry and wake up several times in the night screaming that she is hungry, waking the baby up who then screams, and then none of us can get back to sleep.
The absolute worst part is that when she is hungry she becomes a monster and as an AP, gentle disciplining mom who loves her daughter more than anything in the world, I do not use that word lightly. Absolute. Monster. Screaming horrible things at people, crying all day long, yelling, kicking, throwing, destroying everything. Since last week, I have taken to forcing her to eat which is horrible and I'm ashamed, but I don't know what else to do. She's driving everyone insane and I can't deal with her anymore. I'm sure you've seen your kids when they've missed a meal on accident. Imagine they are like that every second of the day. She complains every ten minutes or so about how hungry she is but when I make her something or tell her to go get something (we have an open pantry policy on food), she always says "no, I'm busy dancing/playing with Legos/building a castle/etc."
Here are the things I have tried and their results:
1. Give her her favorite foods. She doesn't seem to care if it's her favorite thing ever or if it's disgusting to her, she's not touching it.
2. Leave food out, she'll eat when she's hungry. Nope, she just ignores it the entire day.
3. Leave several things out in the fridge for her to choose from. Nope. Sometimes she will actually go to the fridge and stare at the things for five full minutes, then close the fridge and go back to playing. She won't eat it, even though she realizes she is hungry.
4. Experiment by giving her junky sweets to see if it's some kind of eating disorder. Yes! She will happily stuff her face all day long with ice cream and cookies without stopping. I'm still not going to give her junk all day. I've since stopped buying sweets.
5. Bribe her with dessert. Yes, this works, but if I were planning on using food as a bribe, I wouldn't be here. :) I want to get away from this, even though it's working sometimes for now. About 50% of the time.
6. "You can't get up until you eat." This also works about 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time, it ends in tears and screaming that she's tired and wants a nap (which you would say "aha! The problem!" to, but it's not true. It's just a ruse. She's absolutely not tired, she's just trying to get away). Clearly, I am also trying to never do this again as well. I don't want her having more serious food issues than she already has.
7. Bring your toy/game/art to the table and eat while you do it. Doesn't work. For one thing, my Southern family would FREAK OUT on me if they found out I let her play with her toys and things at the table (not that I really need to care what they think) and for another, it doesn't make her eat. She just sits at the table doing her activity and completely ignoring the food.
8. Make the food interesting. While this does work, I have neither the time, the money or the mental capacity to come up with a new and interesting decorated snack on any day other than a special occasion, let alone 5 times a day. I have a clingy 9-month-old who won't go down or in the carrier, anyway.
Any advice for a mama losing her mind?