I have four sons aged 5 to 12, and you know the most common thing people say about feeding my boys?
“Oh wow four boys, it must cost an absolute fortune to feed them?!”
My response is usually something along the lines of: “Actually, you’d be surprised how cheap a rotation of chicken nuggets, carrots and rice wheels are!”.
Before I had my boys, I envisioned mealtime with my family would be a calm and joyful time where we would all sit around talking about our days.
Having four little boys in one room at 5pm can feel more like… feeding time at the zoo than what I pictured before kids. My boys move constantly, spill their waters, sometimes fall off their chairs, and just getting them to come to the table to eat can be like herding wild monkeys.
I’ve learnt a few things through the years on navigating their fussy eating. Here are my 4 observations that ring true when you have a fussy eater under your roof.
1. You feel like every kid is probably eating oysters and anchovies except yours.
I used to feel like I was so alone with my picky eating sons.
If you even have one friend who says, “oh, little Zahn just loves when we feed him oysters and anchovies for his snack time and the bonus is its soooooo high in protein,” then you might know this same feeling.
This comment might be said while I am convincing my child that the pasta in the shape of a tube is not in fact poisonous and it will taste just the same as the spirals he loves.
What I have learned over time is most of my kids’ food fussiness followed this pattern:
Age 0 to 2: My baby eats everything I offer. (I am nailing this!)
Ages 2 to 4: My child will not eat anything apart from plain crackers, cheese and chicken nuggets. (I am not nailing anything!)
Age 5 and onwards: (Tries more stuff. Can be hit and miss, but I’ll take it. Phew!)
I’m pretty sure most kids follow a similar pattern. Except maybe Zahn.
2. You get HEAPS of unsolicited advice.
Unless you plan to come over and sit through the sh**show that can be 4 kids under 7 at dinnertime, maybe keep the advice on how your kids are amazing eaters… to yourself. Unless I’m peppering you with my own questions.
I’ve been told by so many people that they simply just do X and Y and their kids “eat anything placed in front of them”.
The thing I have noticed is, sometimes these people usually don’t have young children anymore and what I am wondering is: surely they must have forgotten what mealtime was like?