Friday, May 23, 2008

Dinner Dilemma

We're fairly certain that Pumpkin's eating would improve if we could all eat dinner together. We're up for the challenge of making Pumpkin-friendly meals- she has enough teeth now that she can eat most things, even if she chooses not to. Our problem is one of timing. Pumpkin's dinner time has been 6 p.m., and some days, she is clearly ready even earlier. Unfortunately, Hubby doesn't get home from work until 6 p.m. most days. Since our current system of me feeding Pumpkin dinner at 6 and then Hubby and me eating dinner at 6:30 is clearly not working well, we need to change. Our options are:

  1. Hubby comes home earlier
  2. I do all of the dinner cooking during the week
  3. We move Pumpkin's dinner time to 6:30
Option 1 won't work- Hubby can't leave work earlier. Option 2 is possible, but suboptimal, because Hubby is actually the better cook (although a bit prone to making dishes too spicy for me- something he'll have to work on if he's cooking for Pumpkin, too). That leaves option 3. This is a long weekend, so we'll move her dinner time by 10-15 minutes every night. We've also decided that I will either nurse Pumpkin when we get home from day care or give her a substantial snack. We feel comfortable making these changes because Pumpkin has already moved her bedtime to 8:30 (from 8), and has also changed her nursing schedule to include nursing after her bath as well as before. We suspect she may drop the before bath nursing once we get her dinner time moved.

We've seen some progress on the eating front recently, which is why we're feeling energized to try to improve things further. Pumpkin ate a chicken nugget for lunch yesterday when Hubby ate lunch with her (she was sent home from day care with a fever we never observed once we got her home). Tonight, she ate a chicken nugget and tried a slice of polenta with a little tomato sauce on it. We weren't eating chicken nuggets, but the polenta was part of our meal. My plan is to give her some of our dinner, perhaps supplemented with things we know she'll eat, like chicken nuggets and peas. We'll let her eat however much of that she wants, and then offer her things like graham crackers and sweet potato puffs as dessert, which will help ensure she gets some calories even on nights when she turns down our dinner.

People who have read Child of Mine, by Ellyn Satter, will probably recognize some of her ideas in this plan. I've been meaning to read this book for awhile, and finally checked it out from the library today. I haven't gotten far enough in yet to know what her specific recommendations are, but my plans are guided by her philosophy that parents are responsible for deciding what and when a child eats, and the child is responsible for deciding how much, and in fact whether, she eats. We'll see what Pumpkin thinks of that philosophy!

1 comment:

  1. I love that book, and I'm so glad that you are reading it. It really helped me relax about the child's feeding/eating.

    We have also moved back the Pumpkin's bedtime (you know the issues we've been having, and this was something we were trying even before you mentioned it... because once again, I think you are reading my mind). Because of that, we've also moved back her/our dinner time and are including a good evening snack.

    Giving her a snack in her highchair actually stopped working, so we bought the Snack Trap and are putting pieces of home made bread (I have a great recipe), crackers, cheerios, raisins, etc. in it and letting her just eat from it while toddling around the family room.

    Good luck with the shift for you guys!


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