Friday, June 4, 2010

Food issues

I am having serious food issues.  And it's not even about me and food, it's my children and food.  I know - I should preface this by saying I shouldn't complain too much - I don't have children who won't eat. I don't have the stress of worrying that my children are getting enough to eat.  So for that I am grateful.

BUT.

My kids seriously won't stop eating.

They wake up. I try to get breakfast ready quick. Usually before I get it on the table they're begging for a granola bar (ola bar, actually as they're called in our house). If I know it will be a while, I give them one. We eat breakfast. Everyone is full and doesn't want any more. They finish and leave the table. Within 5 minutes they're begging for a granola bar.  If they haven't had one yet, I may give them one, hoping to fill them up before we're out of the house for the morning. I go to the gym, drop them off at the day care room. I go workout for my hour. I come back in to get them. As soon as I've set down the diaper bag to say hello and help get their shoes on, three kids have attacked the diaper bag and are trying to tear into anything and everything they can find - bananas, fruit snacks, and yes, more granola bars. Begging and crying at me to open their food for them. Anyone watching would think my children have never eaten before. I make them wait until we get in the car to eat whatever it is they've found. They have their car snacks, and more snacks wherever we may go after that. We go home, I try to get lunch. While I'm getting it, they storm the kitchen pulling out anything they can get their hands on from the fridge, cupboards, food storage under cribs - pickles, tomatoes, crackers, boxes of mac and cheese, apples...and keep coming at me with it demanding it be handed out or opened, thus impeding my progress to getting real lunch ready. I try to hold them off. We eat lunch. They finish. And go beg for more granola bars.

This repeats throughout the day. And I should say, they don't love the process of sitting down to eat. Dinner is an unpleasant battle of "eat your food!!!!" and timeouts. I really think it's just the having to sit still at the table part they dislike.  I try my best on occasion to not let them have any snacks to see if they are good and hungry and eat dinner more willingly, but it doesn't make a difference at all. They still don't want to sit and eat, and still rush around finding snacks as soon as we're done eating.  The other night I tried a different strategy and made sure they ate a lot at dinner so I couldn't question if they could still be hungry. We had chicken enchiladas. We had bowls of fruit. We had veggies. We had ice cream.  They ate it all. I was stuffed.  After dinner - they rushed over to the cupboards for more food. I couldn't believe it.

I just worry that my kids are going to get my bad habits - eating just cause they like to eat, not because they're necessarily hungry. I didn't think kids really did that - I thought their bodies told them when to eat.  Doesn't seem to be the case with my kids.

If we go anywhere with friends, they will swarm to whoever has snacks out. (Case in point - picture at the pool. Look at our poor little friend going - hey, what happened to all my food?? I swear this was full like 2 seconds ago....) One time we were at the playground and some little girl had a cup full of cheerios. They followed her around the whole time. At one point she dropped the bowl, sending cheerios all over the playground. You'd have thought someone just dropped a million dollars with how fast they dove for those, scooping them up gleefully like it was the luckiest day in the world.

I know it sounds like a lot of granola bars - it is. They're obsessed with them. But they eat tons of fruit and veggies. They squeal "bobbi!!" when they see broccoli and steal it off of their brother's plates when they're not looking. They eat cherry tomatoes like they're candy. They could eat a whole costco sized box of blueberries in one sitting if I'd let them. I put a can of mandarin oranges on the table for dinner, went to get the rest of the food and came back to find Phoenix had single-handedly eaten the whole thing (wow, you should see that come out the other end). So anyway, I know they get in plenty of the good stuff.  Just...how do I stop the constant eating?  I feel like it's all we do all day is get food and clean up food. Beg for food and try to say no to more food. And they're definitely not hurting for calories - I'm sure they eat more than they need. But they beg for it. They open it themselves. They scream when it gets taken away. I know people say wait till you see your food bill when they're all teenagers! But wow, I seriously feel like they eat ridiculous amounts now. I'm hoping they have a growth spurt to show for all this but it sort of just seems like a regular habit by this time.

And.  My biggest pet peeve. They can't even wait for me to open it things for them. Or they'll know I say no - so they just try to gnaw their way through packaging. At least 10 times a day. I am so sick of opening pulverized granola bars because they've already been gnawed to death before the wrapper was even open. Ryan is always so concerned wondering what happened to our blocks of cheese, fruit snacks, and yes, even cubes of butter and packaged hot dogs that have
been gnashed to pieces. No, it didn't come from the store like that, your starving children just tried to eat their way through the packaging again, dear....










Seriously, pull out food in the presence of my children and prepare to be stormed.

14 comments:

Rich said...

You know what sounds good right about now? . . . A granola bar.

lindsy said...

Jen, I am laughing my head off right now. Maybe because I have 2 boys too and it's so true! Seriously 5 minutes after we eat lunch, they asking if it's snack time. I love that you have caught it all in pictures. Hopefully it's a growth spurt?? lasting a really long time?? :)

Safire said...

Lucky lucky girl. :) I wish I could get my kids to eat like that. I'd be happy and SO much more less stressed. I loved that picture of the friend and the food. So funny!

Laura B. said...

That's too funny. Claire was like that for a while. Then I put a lock on the pantry so she couldn't get into the snacks. It took her about a week but then she figured it out.
My friend has boys and she has to lock the pantry and the fridge or else she finds gnawed through packaging everywhere!
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love Cash's haircut! I love the twins' orange and yellow shirts. And don't you love that photo of Ryan dealing out the treats with six arms outstretched? What fun you are having. Great post!

xoxoGrammy

SuburbiaMom said...

At least their not picky eaters! That is my biggest pet-peeve. I agree you could lock the pantry. My biggest annoyance at meal times was them getting from eating to look out the window or grab a toy, and then come back to finish eating. I only wanted to have to clean up one area so we got strict with the kids about sitting down to eat at the table (also--less chance of choking hazards 'cause they're not up and moving around). We told them if they got up their meal/snack was over. We had a few episodes of much screaming and crying, but stuck to it and they've learned pretty well now to sit down to eat. Good luck!

Melanie said...

Wow - yeah the teen years should be funny. Thank God Ryan's a doctor! You'll be able to afford to feed them!

Goeb Life said...

I have the complete opposite problem. :) Not sure why some kids are the way they are. My new theory is that there is no perfect kid....only parents who think they have the perfect kid. Which will, in all likely-hood, come back to bite them.

Enjoy them! They are good, mostly healthy eaters who have tons of personality! I am just as much bored by kids with no spunk as I am annoyed by out of control kids. And...I don't think you kids are the latter. :) I enjoy reading about their antics.....so selfishly, I hope they keep it up! :)

Jess said...

I'm hoping someone has answers because I have the same problem.
I HATE THE WORDS, "I'M HUNGRY."
I feel like I hear that from the moment they are up, till they go to bed.

Jenilee said...

I am always amazed how often kids can be hungry and the perfect timing they have for there hunger. Like just after cleaning up the whole kitchen.

Angela said...

Hilarious!

Aimee said...

I firmly believe that one of the biggest child-rearing myths is "When they are full, they will stop." Not so. My boys have adopted more of a goldfish method - eat until you explode. I took my boys to a babysitter one morning for about 2 hours, right after breakfast. I told the babysitters that I put some snacks in the diaper bag, but they shouldn't need them, because they had just eaten. When I returned, ALL of the snacks were gone and the couple had given them about a half of a box of Cheerios, too. I told Rodney, "Just because they WILL keep eating doesn't mean that they SHOULD!" I am walking the same line, between trying to keep them fed without overfeeding or jeopardizing meals, and making sure to get good stuff in. Other people are quick to give them boys snacks though. I mean, it's not like my boys look like they are skipping meals!

Your boys are so good about eating good foods, though, because I know you are good about offering those foods and making meals. I understand you being concerned about habits, because I am too, but another great habit your boys have is being active and getting out and playing with friends and with each other. That physical activity helps a lot!

kimber said...

Seriously hilarious! I have a feeling that this is in my future, because at 11 months abe is already exhibiting similar behaviors. I'm trying to imagine it times 3. It sounds exhausting.

Gavin and Shawna said...

I am there. I sat back a while back to figure out if they are really hungry and need more food. and i realized that they said they are hungry and thirsty when they really mean they're bored. it helped a little to decipher the difference. they still eat most of the day. oh..my grocery bills are exponentially increasing!