Eating habits that annoy me, but are they really "bad"? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 03-27-2012, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a couple eating things going on with my kids that totally annoy me.  I mostly try to ignore them, but sometimes wonder if I should just put my foot down and push for a change.

 

Dd is 5.  She has taken to playing with her snacks.  She likes to chew food up and keep it in her mouth, or hold her beverage in her mouth.  If she is trying to communicate with me while doing this, I insist that she swallow and then talk to me.  With her snacks, when she's outside or I'm not at the table with her, she will chew them up and spit them back into a bowl or mix water in with her food and then eat it.  Okay, as I type this it is totally gross, right?  Anyway, right now she is having popcorn, that she mixed her water into.  She is eating it.  I think it's gross, but it's her food, right?  She's not wasting it; I don't have to watch.

 

Ds is 2.5, and he will graze on the same bowl of food for 1-2 hours and freak out if he goes to the table and finds it missing.  That just happened with his cereal.  I cleared it an hour after breakfast when I served him popcorn, and then he wanted it again.  I gave it back to him and he ate it.  It's totally mushy, but hey, it's his food.  I don't like not being able to clear the table, so maybe I can just let it be in the kitchen without scraping it in case he wants it.  He's in a phase where he completely refuses to clear his own bowl, but I continue to request that he does.

 

We don't allow the poor table manners when we all sit down together for a meal or snack, or when we are away from home.  I guess I see it as a kind of exploratory play, but it does bug me -- every time I catch a glimpse of her doing it, I wish I hadn't noticed.

 

So, although it may sound like it, I don't think I let my kids run all over me.  I just try to choose my battles -- I'm not really big on rules for the most part.  My kids are great eaters and eat a wide variety of healthy foods.

 

I'd love to hear some discussion on these things to help me gain perspective.

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#2 of 16 Old 03-27-2012, 07:36 AM
 
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I'm pretty easy going but food should not come back out of the mouth unless there is something terribly wrong with it and it can't be swallowed. And not talking with food in your mouth is a basic food rule in our US culture.

 

My dh likes soggy cereal. I just try not to think about it.

 

Stuff like mixing food (but not chewed and spit!) with water and then eating, I would let go. It's great your kids are so adventurous with food and textures! My ds is a bit adverse to certain textures and won't eat food that "looks gross" so I wish he was more like your kids, though I never have to worry about him talking with food in his mouth or chewing with his mouth open. I couldn't make him if I tried...


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#3 of 16 Old 03-27-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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I would do as you do, trying to ignore most of the behavior.  I would probably not allow the spitting out at the family table, but ignore it other times.  I think it's important that they hear what other people would not like even if you don't flat out disallow it.

 

So, yeah, a little gross but I personally think you've been doing the right thing.  The fact that the food is not being wasted is, for me, the most important part.


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#4 of 16 Old 03-27-2012, 07:49 AM
 
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Honestly, I would take pictures. They are NOT going to believe you when you tell them that they spit out their popcorn, mixed it with water, and THEN ate it. They will be seriously grossed out by that in a few years!

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#5 of 16 Old 03-27-2012, 05:43 PM
 
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Lol!  I like Super Single Mama's idea!

 

Seriously though I might put the kibosh on the spitting out and playing with food.  That would probably gross me out too much even if it wasn't at the table. 

 

 


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#6 of 16 Old 03-27-2012, 07:31 PM
 
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Some little kids are curious what their food looks like all chewed up.  You could ask.  If that's why she does it, you could offer her a mirror, though not at the dinner table of course.  There has to be some boundaries.


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#7 of 16 Old 03-27-2012, 08:30 PM
 
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Oh man, I would not be able to sit with my kid if she did that.  I literally almost lost it when DD1 was a toddler and would drink ketchup out of the bottle.  DH let her do it. 

 

I actually would let her know that it make your eating experience less pleasant because it does bother you.  She's 5 she's perfectly capable of understanding that.  And your little is just like mine.  They don't grow out of that one.  Or atleast she hasn't and she's 7.  She eats slowly and enjoys every bite. 

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#8 of 16 Old 03-28-2012, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Oh man, I would not be able to sit with my kid if she did that.  I literally almost lost it when DD1 was a toddler and would drink ketchup out of the bottle.  DH let her do it. 

 

I actually would let her know that it make your eating experience less pleasant because it does bother you.  She's 5 she's perfectly capable of understanding that.  And your little is just like mine.  They don't grow out of that one.  Or atleast she hasn't and she's 7.  She eats slowly and enjoys every bite. 


To be clear, dd doesn't ever spit her food back out at the table when other people are sitting with her.  She does it when she's outside or eating alone.  She also doesn't usually put her water in her food or vice versa unless she thinks no one is looking.  She knows that dh and I don't like to see it.

 

And ds doesn't spend an hour eating, he eats and then leaves because he is done -- but if there is any food left on his plate/bowl, he often expects it to still be there when he comes back an hour later.

 

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#9 of 16 Old 03-28-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, I would take pictures. They are NOT going to believe you when you tell them that they spit out their popcorn, mixed it with water, and THEN ate it. They will be seriously grossed out by that in a few years!


lol.gif  That's what I'm thinking.  I mean, if I can live with it, there's no reason to force the issue...she will get there on her own.

 

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#10 of 16 Old 03-28-2012, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The fact that the food is not being wasted is, for me, the most important part.


Okay, so here's another thing we struggle with.  I really want our kids to listen to their bodies and eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.  I want them to be able to choose which things they want to eat from what's offered.  This often results in wasted food, which dh and I dislike.  Dh even more than I.  I refuse to make them eat it, and I don't always want it myself, depending on its condition.  The only way food would be wasted by her messing with it is if it were something I might eat, or something she might eat later.

 

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#11 of 16 Old 03-28-2012, 02:53 PM
 
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Yeah the spitting food out and eating it again is super gross. At the least you should make sure she knows that grosses other people out and is not acceptable in public. lol.gif

For your little one, have you considered leaving out a snack plate that he can graze on all day? Things that won't get gross if left out, like pieces of fruit and sliced veggies, cheese and crackers, etc.
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#12 of 16 Old 03-28-2012, 04:15 PM
 
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It sounds like maybe she's pretending she's a chef or something? Maybe try giving her a snack that she can assemble herself... crackers, a little blob of peanut butter and half a banana that she has to chop into slices to make little sandwiches, or put the milk on the side in a measuring cup or creamer, so she can pour it on the cereal herself... that sort of thing. Then she gets the benefit of creating her own snack without the chewing/spitting grossness. 


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#13 of 16 Old 03-28-2012, 04:26 PM
 
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Okay, so here's another thing we struggle with.  I really want our kids to listen to their bodies and eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.  I want them to be able to choose which things they want to eat from what's offered.  This often results in wasted food, which dh and I dislike.  Dh even more than I.  I refuse to make them eat it, and I don't always want it myself, depending on its condition.  The only way food would be wasted by her messing with it is if it were something I might eat, or something she might eat later.

 

Oh, I don't make my kids eat everything either.  I only mean if they *just* play with it.  If my daughter wants to chew it up and mix it with water often, I might mention that she can pretty much do what she wants if she eats it.  If they want to drink, spit their drink back into the cup and drink again, fine, if they do end up drinking it.  If they don't intend on eating it after, well, I probably wouldn't be so game to let their game continue.  Once or twice might be fine, but after that I think I my tolerance for it would fade.

 

As for your son wanting the food out so he has time to finish it, even if it takes all day, I would have no trouble with that personally.
 

 


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#14 of 16 Old 03-29-2012, 04:48 AM
 
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#15 of 16 Old 03-30-2012, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm not sure on the DD thing.  But the 2.5 year old sounds like a boundary thing.  You are allowing him to graze by not having a boundary in place for when meals begin & end.  & that's fine!  If that's what you want in your house, that's cool.  But if not.  I suggest if it is in your means- allowing the 2.5 year old to pick out some smaller cereal bowls, pour less cereal & have a start & end time to meals. 

when you say "clear his own bowl" do you mean eat everything in it or physically clear it from the table?  If from the table, can you ask him to remove other items.  like juice, salt/pepper, napkins, mommy's cup.  anything removed helps promote clearing the table & reinforcing manners.

 

 

re: kids listening to own bodies- i totally hear ya! i think this comes with much practice & maturity.  You can practice this at meals, by asking- how does your tummy feel?  without having a never ending grazing session.  We have gotten in the routine of eating 3 meals & 2 snacks a day.  usually around the same time.  I allow my almost 7 year & 4.5 year old free access to the fridge for snacks.  That's another way you can promote listening to body, allowing choices in apprioprate food & apprioprate time.  One last thing that has helped- my kids tantrums like others, are usually associated with being tired or hungry.  Since they were both around 2, we started to ask them after tantrum- are you hungry or tired? 

Hth!

best of luck

best of luck! 

 


Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing what works for your family.

 

I am definitely more likely to wind up here:  meals and snacks, but not on a rigid schedule since I'm not super motivated to make that happen, plus snacks they can get themselves.

 

I just struggle with being clear and calm about it.  Like if dd asks for a snack and I give her several options of things she can get herself and she freaks out because she doesn't want those things or wants something else.  I know, maybe she just needs my attention, but that's not always workable.  I should make them a little chart with pictures of snacks they are welcome to get for themselves.  I used to have veggie bowls made up all the time with carrots, pea pods, cucumber, etc, but I just don't always get it together, ya know?

 

I also have a hard time letting go about what they eat, like, if they had free range, ds might just get out the peanut butter jar and go to town, which would be messy and expensive.  Or dd would eat ALL of the strawberries and not leave any for the rest of us while giving herself diarrhea.  I get the natural consequences thing, I guess I'm just not patient enough or I'm too selfish with my time and money or something.

 

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#16 of 16 Old 03-31-2012, 06:00 AM
 
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