There’s a phrase I hear 100 times a day, perfected by my son and overused for maximum irritation. It is: Mum I’m berry hungry now. Each part of the phrase has a specific aim and he has absolutely mastered it. Mum (gets my attention) I’m berry (makes me think he’s adorable) hungry (said in a whining tone as if he lacks the energy to speak) NOW (full of demand, cuts right to the chase, ensures I don’t mistakenly think he means any other time).
The little treasure says it at the most annoying times too, like when I’m in the middle of making him a damn sandwich, or just after he’s eaten a full plate, or when he’s been handed something he doesn’t want to eat. Oh and about 40-50 times while I’m trying to get dinner on the table.
I know he’s not really hungry and I know he is perfectly capable of eating at set meal times, because he does it three days a week at kindy without a word of complaint. Of course, like all kid problems, you’ve got to look at the parents. Henry’s been lucky because when it comes to eating, his parents are total pushovers. We’ve never had rules or regimented eating times. We just feed him and his sister breakfast, lunch and dinner and any snacks they want (as long as they’re pretty healthy) in between. They don’t have to sit at the table to eat unless it’s a main meal, we let them wander around like Feral Sheryls and we even (cue the red cheeks) let them eat in front of the TV.
So you make your bed, you have to lie in it, and now I’m realising that three years of the casual approach has got us in a pickle. Basically, I’m “berry” fed up with hearing about Henry’s constant starvation and I’m ready for some rules!
Well what do you know, there’s a website on this very topic. It’s called Raising Healthy Eaters and is full of wonderful information from a mum called Maryann Jacobsen. This dietician covers everything you need to know about bringing up kids with healthy attitudes towards food, which I think is so, so important. Check out her website, which is full of information, and here’s a brilliant list which I’m printing out as my new 15 Food Commandments. Hallelujah!