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My dd (2.5 yo) ate oatmeal for breakfast every day for quite awhile. She eventually decided that every day was too often but will still occasionally eat it. What I'm getting at is that I know she likes oatmeal. I've seen her willingly eat it at my MIL within the past month. Here's my problem.
One day I asked her if she'd like some oatmeal. She said "yes". I made the oatmeal, called her to come eat, and when it was in front of her she said she didn't want it.
The first time this happened, no sweat.
The second time it happened I think I mentioned that if she wasn't going to eat it then I didn't want her to tell me she wanted it. Still, no biggie... it's only oatmeal.
The third time it happened I was getting irritated. I think I again mentioned that she shouldn't ask for it if she weren't planning on eating it and explained that it was wasteful. That I didn't like to waste food like that.
The next time I made her oatmeal at her request I double-checked with her. I asked her once and then waited about 5 minutes and asked again, just to make SURE that she still wanted it so that we could avoid this situation that was really starting to grate on my nerves.
SAME THING!! ARGH!!
I told her I was mad that time. Explained that it was wasting food and to quit asking for food she had no intention of eating.
So yesterday she wants oatmeal. I asked her THREE times "dd, are you SURE you want oatmeal? You're going to eat it when I make it right?"
"yes, mom."
(3 minutes later) "dd, do you still want me to make you some oatmeal?"
"yes, mom"
"if I make oatmeal you're going to eat it right?"
"yes"...

When I told her it was ready she came to her chair, I put it down and she said it was hot. I assured her that it wasn't and tasted it to be sure. She would not eat it.

I am really losing my cool over oatmeal! WTF?!! I also have a 4 month old so making anything, much less oatmeal that won't be eaten, is sometimes a challenge. I am irritated that she's wasting food and I'm also irritated that she's wasting my time. I do not believe in making kids eat things but I also do not like throwing perfectly good oatmeal down the drain.
How do I handle this?!
Today I wouldn't let her out of her highchair until she ate at least one bite. I said "dd, you ASKED for this oatmeal. You told me you wanted it and said you were going to eat it. We've talked about this before. You are not getting down until you eat at least one bite." She started crying. (mean mom) I know, I know, it's not the thing to do but my creative mind could not find another alternative. I was furious. She asked me if I was mad and I said that I was. That makes her cry as well.
The only thing I can think of is to never offer her oatmeal. Simple enough. She doesn't seem to do this with other food. Maybe I don't make the oatmeal the *right* way for her?? But if I make another bowl of oatmeal that she's ASKED for and she doesn't eat it I'm afraid that I'm going to pin her down and shovel it down her throat... or dump the bowl over her head and walk away.
(I would never really do either of these things... just venting and fantasizing).
Does anyone have any ideas? How do I handle this in a gentle and productive kind of way. I think she's too young to understand how some people have no food, and I never got that either when my parents told me the same thing but I want her to learn not to be excessively wasteful.
 

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if it were me i wouldn't keep on giving her chances. i would just stop making the oatmeal. it's not worth the trouble and your mental angst over it.

just stop stressing and get some boxed cereal ~ kashi or cheerios or something. there are a lot of healthy cold cereals out there. or make her toast or something.
 

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That's what I would do, too - stop making the oatmeal for a while. Or only make it when you are willing to eat it if she doesn't. You don't have to make a big deal out of it, just tell her you are out, for about 3 months.
 

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I agree w/the above posters.

I would also add that it's important to remember that the child is only 2--still probably in diapers-- a baby, basically. You're experiencing anger as an adult, and I understand, but if you're this angry about boiling 3 tablespoons of oatmeal, you can only imagine the unrest about all the newness taking place in the mind of a near-infant.

Parenting a such a tiny human, so new to the world, is most certainly challenging, but we adults have to keep certain things in prespective.
 

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is she asking for the oatmeal without you mentioning it, or are you asking her if she wants oatmeal and she is saying yes? my just turned 2 dd will answer yes if i am asking but not really eat it, kwim? after a few times of that, I just offer several easy choices and do not make something that I will mind her wasting (ie i will eat the toast if she won't, or the waffle, etc).

sounds like perhaps it is time to let go on the oatmeal for a while
it's so frustrating when they change what they like to eat - dd used to love whole wheat toast w/cream cheese and now won't touch it.
 

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Artgirl, I hear ya. That would irritate me too! Actually, it sounds to me like your DD is making a game of this - see how crazy I can make Mommy over oatmeal? She's getting oodles of attention over it too. She's getting asked not once but 3 times what she wants and then she's being asked several times if she'll eat it. And then, just for fun, she gets the last laugh by not eating it. Joke's on mom!

OK, OK, just illustrating what I think she's getting out of the deal. I agree with previous posters. "Run out" of oatmeal and maybe even quit giving choices at meals for a while. Make her something you know she likes (just not oatmeal) and if she's hungry, she'll eat. If not, save it for later. I think your DD was only in it for the reaction and if she doesn't get one, game over!
 

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Okay, what I would do is make oatmeal Plus some other stuff that she might like. Put it on the table and if the oatmeal gets thrown out, so be it. I mean it's not like its a million dollar food.

And I'd rather waste it than get into ANY kind of power struggle over food!
 

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I agree with others - no oatmeal for a while. Perhaps a consider it a controlled substance, somehow able to drive you both batty. Fruit choices, cereal, toast, whatever, who's awake enough for an issue like this? If she's two and a half, she might be getting ready to do things independently (and is trying to send this signal?) and have choices - perhaps get three different types of cereals in small containers and a pour some milk in a *small* pitcher, and help her to make her own breakfast in the morning. My daughter really loves doing this, she's done it for a few years now.
 

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We are very boring and always have the same options for breakfast for ds. He gets a fruit (usually banana) a hard boiled egg with Ryvita, and a small portion of oatmeal. He eats what he wants to eat. On the weekend he gets cold cereal instead and challah. We also nearly always eat the same thing. We are dull as dishwater. My life's biggest decision is what kind of tea to drink.

I wouldn't make oatmeal for awhile if I were you.
 

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Man, that would really bug the heck out of me too!


I, too, would stop with the oatmeal for a while. It may be that the same situation arises with a different food, though...you'll have to try and see.

I've found that we have a better chance of my 26 month old actually eating what we prepare when we have asked him "What do you want for breakfast" rather than "Do you want cereal?" or "Do you want yogurt?" So far, he actually asks for things that we have and that are breakfast-appropriate. If he starts asking for ice cream, I may have to come up with a new approach!
 

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I've had the same problems where my daughter who is 6 will ask for things, assure me she wants it, then when I put it in front of her she says, "I'm really not in the mood for that now." Oatmeal was a similar issue--I the idea of oatmeal is always more interesting than the reality. :LOL I just make it for myself and share it if she really wants some. I don't know--I find the short order cooking difficult and infuriating, so I've backed off cooking as much and am doing simpler things. We have a lot of yogurt, string cheese and fruit.

The funny thing was that when my sister and I were kids around 4-5, we always wanted Cream of Wheat. I remember really wanting it and asking our mom to make it, but then we'd never eat it. I know this happened at least 3 times. When it was finally in front of me, it just seemed so thick and plain that I just couldn't face the thought of eating it. But it always seemed so exciting before my mom would make it.
:
 

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I don't think just giving her something else is the answer, she'll just do it with that too. My ds does this almost every day and it drives me crazy. It doesn't matter what it is, he asks for it, I give it to him, he eats one bite (or none) then says he doesn't want it/like it (even if he loves it and has had it a million times). I'm at a loss for what to do.
 

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mamabohl - when I've offered numerous choices to dd and she still doens't want to eat. I just don't sweat it...she must not be hungry. What I'm able to, I put away and when dd says she wants something to eat I tell her the options again. BTW...the options are always things she likes. She usually eats when she's hungry. With the oatmeal...I know dd loves oatmeal so I will put it down in front of her...she can eat or not. She can get down from the table or not. I don't focus on it at all. Sometimes she eats immediately, sometimes it's half an hour later. At some point I offer some fruit...but again I'm not really thinking about it. I know some days she eats her entire bowl of oatmeal, others half, and others maybe a bite or two. Obviously on the light oatmeal days she eats a lot of fruit. Again, I just don't stress about it...it's her choice to eat or not.

This would be entirely different if it were a food I knew she didn't like...I wouldn't do any of this. I would still offer the disliked food from time to time, but it wouldn't be the focal point of the meal.
 

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I know how you feel because we go through this EVERY day with my older daughter, and with every food I offer! She will see her sister eating yogurt and ask for some, then will refuse to eat one bite once I get her set up with a bowl. We sometimes go through several different choices at lunchtime and end up with either a lot of wasted food or me eating an extra large lunch.


What I've started doing is leaving her in the chair until she tells me she wants to get down, and trying hard not to make a big deal out of the uneaten food. Then she's allowed to have snacks when she is hungry. I hate the snacks, but I try to keep it healthy for her -- lots of cheese, carrot sticks, grapes, blueberries and crackers. I will give her a cereal bar occasionally, too. Since lunch is an especially difficult time to get her to eat anything, I leave it alone and have come to realize that she'll really eat her dinner if she skips lunch. (And I don't generally handle dinner, that's DH's time with the kids, and my alone time. No flames, please.)

I do hate the wasted food, and really get annoyed with eating all the extras that the girls don't eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks for all the suggestions!
mamaE,
I think you may have hit on something that I was beginning to wonder about myself. Maybe she's doing it to push my buttons and get some attention. I think I mentioned that we have a new(ish) baby and so dd hasn't been the complete focus of our world like she used to be. Usually I'm pretty cool about eating, I do ask her what she wants or give her several options if she can't think of something off the top of her head. I will have to skip the oatmeal option for awhile and make sure I pay some extra attention to her.
Viola, I think you may be right in that the idea of oatmeal is more interesting than the reality of oatmeal.

I'm also glad to hear that my dd is not the only child that does this. It really is frustrating. I think it's because I'm making such an effort to feed her, I think I've found something that she's willng to eat, I get excited and then she shoots it down when it's in front of her. Most of the time I'm carrying another baby while doing this, sometimes he's fussing, etc. It just drives me crazy that she puts me through the motions with no intention of eating the stuff. I have other things to do ya know?
Okay, no more oatmeal... it's not really about the oatmeal anyway.
thanks!
 

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I think everyone else gave good words of advice. I'm just here in complete sympathy with you. I face the same challenges. Must be something about being two. I will however save the uneaten food and try to get her to eat it later (which doesn't always work)
 

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Another one here with a 2.5 year old...we haven't been down that road with oatmeal, but definitely with other foods!

What I try to do is wait for DD to tell me what she wants instead of giving her choices. It seems like if I ask if she wants cereal, she'll say yes....if I ask if she wants toast, she'll say yes. So instead I wait to hear from HER.

Then, as much as possible, I let her help prepare whatever it is. Put the bagel in the toaster, hold the bowl while I pour the cereal, etc. For some reason that seems to help.
 

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My 2.5 yo dd is doing the exact same thing. With oatmeal. She calls it "baby bear" because that's what the baby bears eat in the bedtime stories we read her. She fools me every time because she asks for it so sincerely and intensely, and she won't accept anything else for breakfast. So I'll break down and make it for her (she helps by measuring the oatmeal and pouring in the milk), and sure enough, she won't take a single bite. It's very frustrating!

In fact,
: Maybe she wants the fun of helping to make it, but doesn't really want to eat it. Hmmm.....
 
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