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<p>DS is a terrible eater at home.  He'll snack, and he'll eat anything that's in nugget form, but try and get him to eat dinner with us and it just doesn't happen.  For example, tonight I made a mexican turkey casserole- should have been fine for him- meat, cheese, corn, refried beans, crumbled chips.  Some lettuce on top.  He ate three bites, and I know he was hungry because he asked to eat about 20 minutes before dinner.</p>
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<p>I have decided since day one NOT to make meals a battleground.  I can't force him to eat.  So I work hard not to get into a power struggle over it and just let it go if he doesn't eat, or eat well.</p>
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<p>So why is it that when DS spent the night with his grandma and grandpa last night, he ate like a horse?!?!?  For breakfast this morning he had 2 scrambled eggs with cheese, half of a hot dog, prunes and raisins, and yogurt.</p>
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<p>I forget everything she said he ate last night, but I know she mentioned soup, macaroni and cheese, and 2-3 other things.</p>
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<p>DS goes to daycare every day and everyday his note comes home and it says he eats very well.  When I told them at conferences that he doesn't eat well at home, they were shocked.</p>
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<p>It bothers me.  What's can I do?</p>
 

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<p>1.) Could be he doesn't like what you make for him? <span><img alt="hide.gif" height="35" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hide.gif" width="26"></span> I know when I was little I ate at home very well but hardly ever ate at my grandma's. It was just because I didn't like my grandma's cooking, or the foods she made a lot of the time. Nothing personal, it was just my finicky little-kid tastes...</p>
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<p>2.) Control issue with you. Even though you said you've tried really hard to NOT make eating into a power struggle or battleground. Am I wrong in thinking that suggests that, possibly, there was a time where eating <em>was</em> a power struggle? And he's still reacting to that because it's habit now?</p>
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<p>Just a couple ideas....</p>
 

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<p>I can't explain why he doesn't eat but I want to give you a hug and say that I can relate to you situation.</p>
<p>DD is 3 1/2 now and until couple months ago when we moved overseas and away from family she would not eat anything but little snacks here and there for us but ate great for other people.</p>
<p>We were worried and tried making different things to entice her to eat but even foods that she enjoyed at other places were not exiting for her at home .We didn't want to make a dinner time a battle, so we gave up and came to an agreement that she gets plenty of food at her grandparent and we stopped worrying about it.</p>
<p>The move has altered our life significantly and we were able to have some sort of a routine and she started asking for food and eat normal meals at home, as well as at kindy.</p>
 

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<p>Same here.  My DD eats great at daycare and almost nothing at home.  She was with some friends of ours for a few hours this summer and the woman told me she ate tons of blueberries and some soy chips.  So, I run out and buy blueberries and those same soy chips, they are Yucky.  Frustrating.  We end up giving her spoonfuls of natural peanut buttter before bed because she is hungry too.  It is hard to walk the line between not making meals a battle but also ensuring she eats healthily and in a well rounded manner.  Oy. </p>
 

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<p>So, what do you do if he doesn't eat the meal put in front of him?</p>
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<p>Ds eats fabulously. We prepare a meal, call him to the table, put the food in front of him. If he asks for more he gets more, when he says he's done, he's done. And the next time he eats is at the next family meal. He pretty much NEVER gets food between meals & has NEVER received something else to eat if he didn't eat much of his meal - I figure he just wasn't hungry at that point. The other day I gave him leftover stew for lunch - he didn't touch it (which is strange for him). After his nap for snack I offered him the stew again (he LOVED this stew the day before) & he just nibbled at it. Then for supper we had lamb, carrots & brussel sprouts & he had two full plates. At the end of the day he had a pretty good amount of food.</p>
 

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<p>Are you still nursing? Any chance he is holding out for the good stuff?</p>
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<p>Do you send food with him or is he eating the same food you offer him at home? Maybe he would prefer spicier/blander food or separate foods vs. casserole-style -- have you tried offering him a meal identical to what he'd get elsewhere (right down to the same texture/temperature/etc.)?</p>
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<p>Do daycare/grandparents have a different meal routine? i.e. everyone sitting down together vs. kids eating separately, or high chair vs. regular chair or kid's table, or music/TV on vs. off?</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<p><br>
Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies, mamas.  I would really love to get to the bottom of this, so any additional insight would be awesome.  My answers are highlighted below (If I can figure out how to do it!)</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>coffeegirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1281017/how-come-ds-will-eat-for-everyone-else-but-us#post_16064706"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>1.) Could be he doesn't like what you make for him? <span><img alt="hide.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hide.gif" style="width:26px;height:35px;"></span> I know when I was little I ate at home very well but hardly ever ate at my grandma's. It was just because I didn't like my grandma's cooking, or the foods she made a lot of the time. Nothing personal, it was just my finicky little-kid tastes...</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><strong>Yep.  Could be entirely possible.  I'm not a BAD cook, but it's not a natural thing for me, either.</strong></span></p>
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<p>2.) Control issue with you. Even though you said you've tried really hard to NOT make eating into a power struggle or battleground. Am I wrong in thinking that suggests that, possibly, there was a time where eating <em>was</em> a power struggle? And he's still reacting to that because it's habit now?</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><strong>No, it's NEVER been a power struggle between us.  The fact that I'm so conscious of it is more due to the fact that I have struggled with my weight all my life and grew up in a home where food was a reward.  Even today I have no concept of when I've had enough to eat.... I'm either starving or I stuff myself.  So that's the "baggage" you're reading- nothing between me and DS.</strong></span></p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><strong>I actually don't / can't eat with DS and DH most of the time because I get stressed out and distressed when he doesn't eat.  So I eat in the other room.  (It also allows me some peace and quiet as well!)</strong></span></p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>lifeguard</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1281017/how-come-ds-will-eat-for-everyone-else-but-us#post_16066574"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>So, what do you do if he doesn't eat the meal put in front of him?</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><strong>We give him a little time and if / when he asks to get down we let him.  No big deal.  He's not a big snacker, either.  It's not like he's scrounging for junk food 10 minutes after dinner.</strong></span></p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><strong>We usually eat on the late side due to work schedules, so right before bed he gets some fruit and cereal.  But its not in response to his requests... just our routine. </strong></span></p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>crunchy_mommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1281017/how-come-ds-will-eat-for-everyone-else-but-us#post_16066634"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Are you still nursing? Any chance he is holding out for the good stuff?</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><strong>Nope.  We stopped in June.</strong></span></p>
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<p>Do you send food with him or is he eating the same food you offer him at home? Maybe he would prefer spicier/blander food or separate foods vs. casserole-style -- have you tried offering him a meal identical to what he'd get elsewhere (right down to the same texture/temperature/etc.)?</p>
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<p><strong><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);">He gets served a hot meal at school- not sent from home.  He tends to do worse with meat & potatoes... I made a maple- flavored pork tenderloin the other night and I don't think he ate a bite.  But like I said.... if its a nugget he's happy.  But god forbid anything is green.  :( </span></strong></p>
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<p>Do daycare/grandparents have a different meal routine? i.e. everyone sitting down together vs. kids eating separately, or high chair vs. regular chair or kid's table, or music/TV on vs. off?</p>
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<p><strong><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);">He goes to a Montessori school where the kids eat family style- they serve themselves from serving dishes at the table.  We don't do that at home- we dish things out in the kitchen and just eat at the table.  (My logic is... why dirty an extra serving dish if I don't have to?!?)</span></strong></p>
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<p><strong><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);">The only difference I can think of with Grandma and Grandpa is that I suspect that my mom feeds him, still.  Like, grandma holds the spoon and shovels stuff into his mouth.  I think that because last month they stopped by right before dinner, and I stepped out of the room for a minute and asked her to keep an eye on DS and when I came back she was sitting next to him feeding him like an infant.  I was like, "Whaaaaa?"  I mean, it had been MONTHS since I had done that.  But he was happily chowing down.</span></strong></p>
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I don't think I know how much he's supposed to be eating, either.  WHat's a reasonable amount for him to eat at one time?  How long can he go between meals and snacks?  He only drinks milk 3 - 4 times a day and doesn't have juice at all, so I know he's not drinking his calories.  He's fine for height and weight- 90% height and 75% weight last time we checked.</p>
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<p>Shoot, I need a manual.  I am so freaking clueless.</p>
 

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<p>We have the same problem.  DS eats great at daycare and 90% of the time finishes all the food I send him.  I send him quite a bit.  I could give him the same thing for dinner and he'll eat 2 bites.  It's so frustrating.  At home, he'll fidget in his chair and be distracted even though we're sitting there eating ourselves and nothing is going on around him.  My theory is that at school, he has to eat what I send him and he sees the other kids eating.  Apparently him and this other boy like to see who finishes first.</p>
 

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<p>If he's fine for his weight and his height, I'd say don't stress over it.  He's obviously getting what he needs!  Just keep offering him healthy foods at meals, and you'll be fine. </p>
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<p>I am one of those daycare providers where the kids all eat like horses at my place, even if they're picky at home. I wrote an article about picky eaters on my blog, Joyful Toddlers!  If you're interested, you can find it here:  <a href="http://joyfultoddlers.blogspot.com/2010/10/picky-eaters.html" target="_blank">http://joyfultoddlers.blogspot.com/2010/10/picky-eaters.html</a></p>
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<p>I'm new to the Mothering community, so if it's not ok to provide links to my blog just let me know and I won't do it again!</p>
 

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<p>I think this is common. He doesn't have the same need to push boundaries and establish control with other people; you, as his parent, get all of that fun. ha ha. </p>
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<p>Anyway, as previous posters have said, I wouldn't worry about it if he's growing and it doesn't seem like a sensory issue. There are a few kids out there with sensory problems or whatever, but the vast majority of kids will eat when they need to eat. </p>
 

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<p>I don't know how popular this response will be or if it is a bad habit to get into. DS is 23 months and eats great at grammy's house, but eats a lot less at home. I usually try not to sit him down for "meals" but I make sure that if he's still hungry and has eaten all of the meat on his plate but left the veggies, that he eats the veggies before getting anything else. Last night I made him a turkey hot dog, sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli. He shoveled the hot dog in, and then left the veggies and wanted to get down and play. I let him, but when he went over to the fridge 20 minutes later saying he's hungry, I told him he could go eat his veggies. Finally after about a half hour, he got back up at the table and shoveled the broccoli(which I kept telling him was little christmas trees) and sweet potatoes. He still ate more after clearing his plate :) I don't always stick to this, and sometimes out of desperation for him to sleep through the night without waking to eat, I will give him a tablespoon of peanut butter before bed. Also, I let him eat off of my plate instead of sitting him down with his own. The other night he ate 4  bites of salad just because it was out of my bowl and I didn't put it on his plate. I made it look like I didn't really want him to have it. Reverse psychology! :)</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<div>Shoot, I need a manual.  I am so freaking clueless.</div>
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<p>My manual for feeding has been "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense" by Ellyn Satter.  I also like her "Secrets to Feeding a Healthy Family" which might help you with the logistical aspects (shopping, cooking, etc.)</p>
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<p>We have been following the principles in this book and our DD eats great.  Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, but she usually will try things. Anyhow, you can check out the website if you want more info on the principles in the book: <a href="http://www.ellynsatter.com" target="_blank">www.ellynsatter.com</a></p>
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<p>good luck and hang in there!</p>
 
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