Friday, July 29, 2011

My Incredible Shrinking Child

This is fun, but you don't expect me to eat any of this, do you?

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog about Jack's food issues. At that time he'd just been to the doctor's and measured 5'2" and 91 pounds. Last week he went to the doctor's again (monthly visit). This time he measured 5"3" and 90 pounds (with all his clothes on). This morning on our scale at home he weighed 86 pounds!

The problem is he'd rather design and play video games than eat. He gets so fixated on what he's working on, that he's not interested in food. In addition, he has a very narrow range of foods he'll eat. Sometimes I'll fix something I know is a favorite and he'll eat a couple of bites, then tell me, "It tastes funny." Or make an attempt at a few bites and then say, "I'm full."

People who have children who eat normally--who come and tell them they need a snack when they're hungry--will judge me for this. I can't tell you how many times I've been told, "Just make him eat! Make him sit there till he cleans his plate." That just seems so cruel to me. If he's really not hungry, how can it be a good thing to force him to eat? Won't that just make the problem worse?

I've been at other people's houses and heard their children call, "Mom! I'm hungry!" This is a cry rarely heard in our house. Even when he was a toddler, I would have to remember to feed him now and then. While my friends' children would go to the refrigerator and indicate they wanted something to eat, my son never did that. He's just never been that interested in food.

This is such a foreign concept to me! I've always loved food and have battled my weight most of my life. My problem is I that love and am willing to try just about everything, while Jack is extremely suspicious of anything new or different. Even things I think he'll love if he'd just try them. I can't tell you how many times I've struggled just to get him to taste something new. Forget the "no thank you bite." Not gonna happen.

Once on a vacation trip when he was 7 1/2, my friend tried to bribe him by offering to buy him a DS (which he wanted more than anything else in the world at that time) if he'd only taste what she was offering. Still wouldn't do it. "But will you still buy me a DS?" he asked. When she explained to him that that wasn't the deal, he cried (and she felt really bad about it!) but she was right. That wasn't the deal.

I've really been trying to push the snacks and the extra glasses of (soy) milk the past few days. I even gave him a root beer float last night for dessert, a particular favorite. I'd even be tempted to try Pediasure, if I thought he'd actually drink it, but I don't see that happening.

In this age of so much childhood obesity, I find it kind of ironic that we have the opposite problem in our house. I know I'm not alone in this. Anybody else have a child with super-sensitive tastebuds who's a challenge to feed? Any suggestions for getting some extra calories into him? 


  1. Hi, I read this with interest as my son is almost 6 and is so narrow on what he will and won't eat. He has things he loves and wants for every meal, and then suddenly hates them. He has a real problem eating with other people, at home thats easy, he sits at the coffee table, us at the dining table, but the school (he's main stream) keep pushing for him to stay at lunchtime and just can't understand how difficult he'd be in the afternoon if I hadn't of kept reminding him the food on his plate has to be eaten!
    Its always good to hear of others with similar issues so thank you for sharing.

  2. My son was born off the charts and 3 weeks early. But now he doesn't eat. His numbers look ok but not what they were. I get the "he looks fine" stuff for a lot of his "quirks" They don't understand that he looks fine because of the carnation instant breakfast, the dulcal, and the use of a bottle for a three year old (just turned 4 but the bottle is leaving so who knows how that will change the numbers)

    Good to know I'm not in this alone.

  3. @Jane, keep doing what you are doing! Why would the school want him to stay at lunchtime, when obviously what is best for him is to have lunch with you! You know your child better than anyone and have to advocate for him. Who else will do it?

    @Tlchimes, I get it!!! We took the bottle away from Jack when he was 2 1/2. Suddenly the bottles just "disappeared!" One day we were driving to the store several months later and he chimes in from the back seat, "I know! We can buy some more bottles!" Smart boy, that one! He drank from a sippy cup until just a couple of years ago. Now he'll pretty much drink only from a straw (we always have a supply of the bendy ones). You might try switching your son to straws or a sippy cup to get away from the bottle. I think it may be a sensory thing that it's more comfortable to suck than drink from a glass. You're lucky that your son will drink the instant breakfast. Mine wouldn't touch it! You do what you gotta do to get the calories in!

  4. Austin is very difficult to feed too. He is lean for his age. He is so picky! I can usually get him to try 2 bites of something if I promise he can have ice cream (his favourite dessert). Once he has two bites, I will prepare him something he wants, like a sandwich, pasta or rice. He must have the two bites first though. Try the Pediasure. I didn't think Austin would drink it either but he drinks the chocolate one! :)

    Like you, I will not force Austin to "clean his plate". I agree, it is cruel. One thing I must tell you that I found interesting, Austin asked me for Cotton Candy the other day at the car show we went to. I never thought he would eat it because of the texture, but he did and he LOVED it! I couldn't believe it! Makes me wonder if it is texture that makes him picky or not. He has recently decided he likes Jello too and I have been trying to get him to eat that for years! Strange.

    One more thing, I made my own jam this summer and Austin will eat sandwiches! I first started making them in dinosaur cut-outs and now he eats them in a regular sandwich with no crusts and sometimes with natural peanut butter. :)

    I hope some of this might help. Oh, I also give Austin vitamins in the winter. He loves the gummy ones! All the best! *HUGS* :) Heather

  5. Oh yeah, I give Jack the Flintstones vitamins with extra vitamin C every day! He's so anxious about anything new, he usually won't try even one bite. He will eat sandwiches for lunch at school (won't eat anything they serve in the cafeteria). He likes the whole wheat sandwich thins (round with no crust, almost like a hamburger bun). He'll eat turkey or ham slices, but no mayo or mustard. Sometimes he'll eat a few bits and say, "It tasted weird" or "It didn't taste right." He's so sensitive! I'm thinking of trying the Pediasure. He might drink the vanilla if it's really smooth. He's not a big chocolate fan (I was ALL about the chocolate when I was his age). Thanks for the suggestions, Heather.

    Debbie K.