Eating Update

The tummy tube is, famously, gone since June 5. When asked to show someone “What’s new?” or “What happened in Milwaukee?”, Charlotte promptly rolls up her shirt. Or, she does it with a great deal of drama, rolling up her dress slowly so that the observer can first think that the big girl underpants are the big news, then going for the “reveal.” As proud as we are of Charlotte, she is more proud of herself.

And she should be.

So…you think Charlotte is now a regular kid, right? Mealtime is easy or hard, like it was (or is) with your toddler? She eats or she doesn’t and makes up for it the next day.
Would that it were so.

In May and June, Charlotte fed herself with regularity, and much encouragement. Throughout July this behavior deteriorated. I began to feed her more and she began to feed herself less. Mealtimes devolved into time outs, yelling, bribery, and utter frustration.

At first, I chalked it up to Charlotte being tired from being at day camp all day (more on that soon, I promise). We instituted a “Happy Meal” Sticker chart–for every meal in which Charlotte feeds herself (for the most part), within a 25 to 30 minute period, and behaves pleasantly, she gets a happy sticker. For very 10 stickers, she gets to watch 30 minutes of a DVD. [We say “happy sticker” because Charlotte really can’t say “smiley.”] This worked for a few days.

After camp, however, we realized that camp had little do with it. Further research proved that Charlotte feeds herself just fine when she is with her babysitters. But for mom and dad, no way.

Last Friday, I lost my mommy cool. Completely. So we instituted a new rule–Feed Yourself or Don’t Eat. She gets 25 minutes, lots of encouragement, help getting food on the fork or spoon if she needs it.
Guess what? Charlotte has had about 5 days of happy, happy eating. Mom and Dad still don’ look forward to mealtime, to be honest, because we’re never sure what’s coming But, we’ve been pleasantly surprised and have had some lovely family meals.

2 thoughts on “Eating Update

  1. I am so inspired by your journey and your upbeat attitude. All kids try Mom and Dad more than anyone else. I’m sure it is frustrating when it’s something as important as this, but she’ll stay on track now. I’m glad she gave in.

  2. It’s so funny how everyone thinks our children are “normal” or “fixed” now. There are so many behind-the-scenes things that no one else ever sees. I keep thinking (hoping) that one day we will get there! Ashlea

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