Originally Posted by yoopervegan
Dd rarely (maybe once a week) asks for something different for a meal. Even more rarely refuses to eat. I do not think getting out of my chair once a week to grab something fast and easy is enough of a disruption to risk messing with dd's feelings about food.
First let me say that I appreciate your taking the time to answer.
Second, I consider you lucky (or, more accurately, karmically blessed) that your child seems so content with meals. My kids, and my daughter in particular, regularly, and by that I mean like almost every meal, no exaggeration, ask me "What are we having?" and when I tell them, they reply with "Yuck!" Even if it's her most favoritest thing in the whole world. Even if, five minutes ago when I asked her what she wanted to eat, that's what she told me. My daughter regularly tells me, "I want oatmeal!" and then, when the oatmeal is ready, says, "Yuck! I don't want that!" Some kids are just like that. My son does it because my daughter does, and my son, whom we call "Monkey-do," as in "Monkey see, Monkey do," wants to do exactly what my daughter does. For me, that's a large part of the reason that I basically tell my kids, eat what you are served. I plan the menu at the beginning of the week. My kids help me pick the meals, my kids help me decide which of the meals from the menu we will eat that day, my kids help me with the shopping and the meal prep (when they want to, which is not often, they'd rather make their own "meals" in their little kitchen while I am cooking in the big kitchen), and my kids still tell me "Yuck" when it's time to eat. But, oddly enough, when the food is put on the table, they usually eat it all! Sometimes they pick out things they don't like and eat the rest. Occasionally, they don't eat what's served and I offer them a PB&J instead. Sometimes they don't want that and they just don't eat. I guess they are not hungry in those instances. My kids have a lot of freedom in deciding their meals; breakfast and lunch, they choose. Snacks, I make those up in the morning when I am making my dh's lunch and I put them on the kids' shelf in the fridge. I serve three "Momma-scheduled" snacks a day (which the kids choose) and if they are hungry at other times, they get their own snacks from their snack shelf. They know in advance what's for dinner, and it's a meal that they have helped plan at the beginning of the week. It's something they like, because I don't serve meals that I know my kids don't like. I think that amount of their having control over what they eat is more than adequate! It's the same amount I have. Sometimes, when it's burrito night, I don't feel like eating burritos. But that's what I bought the ingredients for, so that's what we eat. We don't have enough money, nor do I have the time or inclination, nor do I believe it's necessary to, make four separate dinners for the four (soon to be five) separate people in our house based on their current whims, and I also think that allowing kids to dismiss the family meal with a figurative wave of the hand and choose something else just because that's what their whim is right now encourages a fickle attitude toward food. I think it engenders ungratefulness to have a full plate of food in front of you and to turn up your nose at it just because you'd prefer something different at the time. No choking food down here, as what I offer my kids are things they like, not things they detest.
I guess in some ways my Buddhist faith plays into things, too. Once, at the Dharma Center, we were talking about how highly realized lamas don't let their desires control their lives and emotional state and one of our lay leaders made the point that when monks come to teach in America, they eat what they are given by the sangha members. A monk may prefer (for example) tsampa, a traditional Tibetan food. It may be what he desires right now. But he gratefully eats what he is given and does not let his preferences and desires run away with him and make him unhappy about his meal. Also, when our teacher, His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche, was visiting last month, I noticed that when he was given a strawberry, he ate the entire strawberry, leaves and all. No waste. I was very impressed. That type of practice is available to all of us, not just to the highly realized, and I think that teaching children from the start that their transitory desires shouldn't rule their lives and that we should show gratefulness for our abundance by not being fickle and wasteful is a very good start on the road to enlightenment.
I'm not, obviously, trying to convince you I'm right. I'm just explaining where I come from. I think different things work for different families, and I don't like how the tone on this thread has sometimes been that those of us who don't follow some pre-determined AP/GD model of feeding our kids are somehow abusing or disrespectful of our kids. I think that there are many ways to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, and I appreciate a discussion about all those ways, not a dogmatic defense of the one right way (and I am not accusing you of doing that, but that often happens here at MDC).
Sorry, I got carried away with this post!