Robbie ate a whole hot dog tonight.
About a week and a half ago, I decided we had to be done with the constant food wars. I dreaded every single meal. I'm sure he did, too. Every morning it would start. Get him in his high chair, try to find something to distract him, all but beg him to eat (I would have begged, if that worked.) He'd flail and fling and hit the spoon and spray me and the house with food. Almost every day of the last 2 years have been some version of that.
At night, though, he was more and more interested in table food. He'd eat bread, crackers and some meats. So David and I had a discussion about not pushing any more. If we needed to add back some of his night time calories, we would, but that I really felt like he was at a crossroads where he wanted to do it his way. Some of it was his age, some the resolving of his reflux. (Really, he rarely vomits now. It's a whole new world at our house.) But not matter what the cause, we were all happier when he was in control.
What that has meant is that he really does not eat breakfast. Maybe a cracker or two. Instead, he's been eating lunch with me when I eat before work. Sometimes he has a pizza roll, or some crackers. Sometimes I'll spoon feed him some baby food if he'll agree to eat it. That's usually around 11am. He gets to daycare at 1 and eats again. Going pretty well. After he gets up from a nap, more baby food. Then at dinner, he eats at the table with us.
Mostly he will eat a cut up hot dog or chicken nugget. We always give him whatever we're eating, but it almost always goes immediately off his tray (unless it's bread.) Late last week he went from averaging 1/4 of a hot dog to closer to 1/2. I was thrilled.
This week, daycare is closed for three days. And he couldn't go Monday either because he'd had a fever on Sunday (random virus, I guess. He's fine now.) So he's been home with either both of us or David alone. Now, he eats baby food better at daycare than he does at home and table food better at home than at daycare. So I was a little stressed that he wouldn't eat well enough at home. But I had a chat with myself and said it didn't matter. He's healthy and strong and he'd either figure out he needed to eat or he'd be hungry until he got back to daycare.
Apparently he figured out he was hungry.
We haven't pushed at all. He's had crackers for "breakfast" and then a decent brunch each day w/o much fighting. Maybe a whine at the beginning, but then he'd settle back in. This morning he wowed me by eating nearly 6oz of purees w/o a fight. He took a good nap, woke up and ate another 4oz for David.
At dinner time, he wanted some crackers, so David let him have 2 before dinner. He then warmed 1/2 a hot dog and cut it up as usual. David said that after he finished that, Robbie was pretty antsy, so David tried to get him out of the chair. Robbie shooed his hands away. We've learned that's an indication that he's not done yet. David offered him some table food, all of which was immediately rejected. He offered more crackers, again rejected. David finally gave up and got him out of the chair despite his protests. Within a few minutes, Robbie was pulling at David's pant leg and whining & crying. Nothing seemed to make him happy. Finally he asked if he wanted more hot dog. Robbie signed "more."
David wasn't really convinced, but he went and made another 1/2 hot dog anyway and cut it up. Robbie then proceeded to eat the entire 2nd half! And after that, he ate 4 more crackers!
I was at work when David called, but I got a very giddy voicemail asking me to call home because Robbie needed to tell me about dinner. I couldn't believe it when David told me story!
I honestly was sitting at work just crying happy tears. What an amazing feat. To consume a whole hot dog at one seating (I don't count dad's misunderstanding as "up.") but today he consumed 600 calories. He needs about 900 total. If he were drinking 16oz of milk like a typical kid, he'd have hit his calorie goal for today. My mind is blown.
I know this shouldn't be expected every day. I have learned all too well that feeding difficulties aren't a steadily improving spectrum. Tomorrow could be the worst yet, but today July 21, 2010, was a good day. A very, very good day indeed.