Thursday, May 2, 2013

the picky eater

Aden has been going to play school since he was 20 months old. While we still have to drag him out of bed on some mornings, he is generally very happy to go to school to play with his friends.

The main reason why the LAM and I decided to put Aden in school at such a young age was that he was an only child at that time, and we did not plan on having another child. One thing we noticed was that Aden was very shy and did not know how to play with the other kids whom he had met at playgrounds or the pool. It was very important to the LAM and I that our little boy was able to play and interact with other kids and adults too (ideally).


Added to that, there are not that many kids in our estate that Aden could play with. Most of the kids are either way older, or younger. Aden did not like sand so playing with other kids at the sand pit down the road was out of the question.


Looking at our rambunctious boy now, no one would guess that he used to be shy and timid. It was a tough decision for us - I spent my childhood playing with my sister at home, and the LAM's childhood was spent playing on the beaches in Perth. I remember on so many occasions the LAM would remark, "He (Aden) is not even 2 and he is going to school!!!" At the end of the day, looking at how confident Aden is now, both the LAM and I feel that we had made the right decision.



Aden at school 

While we are generally very pleased with Aden's progress, one of the things that exasperates me to no ends, though, is the marked difference in Aden's eating habits in school and at home.

Because I love to cook and cook a lot, I used to make most of what Aden ate. The rest of the time, my mom would cook for him. When he was younger, he would eat everything - pasta, noodles, meat, vegetables. Since he started going to school, he only eats dinner at home as both breakfast and lunch are catered for at school. Apparently, while he not only eats everything that is placed in front of him at school (Spaghetti, Pizza, broccoli...), he does so pretty quickly and even clears up after himself when he has finished eating!!!


At home, he would pick and choose, refusing not only vegetables (except carrots, because they are "not vegetables") but meat as well!!! He does not even like french fries. I mean, a kid not liking french fries??? How weird is that?? *SIGH* There were even times when the LAM and I gave up out of frustration and exhaustion and allowed him to eat only white rice - his favourite. (Yes, shame on us!)



Wouldn't it be nice if all meals were so easy?

Recently, however, the LAM and I decided that we have to put a stop to this once and for all, and apart from meticulously planning each and every meal for Aden, I have also put a stop to him walking around or playing while Por Por is trying to feed him. Instead, he now has to sit on his high chair until he has eaten at least 90% of the food on his plate.


This means a serious battle of wills - Aden is as stubborn as his Mommy, but it NEEDS to be done.


I was talking to a friend not too long ago about the non-existent good eating habits in my boy, and was told the story of how this man managed to get his 6-year-old son (who refused to eat most things) to eat everything that was placed on his plate within the space of a week.


The boy was given a plate of food for lunch, and 30 minutes to eat. At the end of that time, the plate was taken away, regardless of how much was (or was not) eaten. Since he was a super picky eater, a plate consisting of the same items of food was placed in front of him again at dinner time, and again he was given 30 minutes to eat. The boy was not given any snacks in between meals. This was repeated for a week, after which the boy ate anything that was given to him.


A bit harsh? Perhaps. But then again, I think of those kids in Jaime Oliver's School Dinners - you know, those who would not touch anything green, who only would eat fries, or chicken nuggets and nothing else day in and day out? - and I think perhaps the method used to teach this boy to eat properly, and healthily, is not so harsh after all. At least he would not have serious nutritional problems in the long run.


I understand that many of us are working mothers - just because I work from home does not mean that I do any less work - and it is nearly impossible to cook so many different things for our kids at every meal. Hence, I plan menus that can be tweaked so that the kids do not feel like they are always eating the same thing, yet they are meals I can whip up relatively quickly.


I made 2 meals for Aden today as he was home all day. Lunch was macaroni soup with fishballs, quail eggs and carrots, and dinner was soupy rice with meatballs, quail eggs, and toufu. This means I only had to do the cooking once, change a little of what I had placed in the first meal and I got 2 meals in one.


Aden ate 90% of his lunch. It was our second attempt at enforcing the new sit-down-till-the-food-is-finished rule, and it took an hour for him to eat, but he managed to remain seated all that time and finished most of his food. I think that this is a good beginning. I am sure there will be a lot more drama in the days to come, but I am hopeful that we will get there. Hopefully sooner, rather than later! *fingers crossed*




Recipes:


Macaroni Soup


Ingredients:

6 large anchovies, with head and guts removed
2 small pieces of seaweed
2 fishballs, halved (I bought the handmade ones at the wet market, but any fishball would do)
4 quail eggs, boiled and peeled
1 organic baby carrot, peeled and chopped
1 handful of macaroni
Method:
1. Place anchovies and seaweed in a pot, add water to cover. Boil 20 minutes, and remove both anchovies and seaweed.
2. Place carrots into pot, boil 5 minutes, or until carrots have softened. Add fishballs and cook for a further 2 minutes.
3. Remove from fire, add quail eggs. Season with a pinch of sea salt (optional).
4. In another pot, bring water to boil, cook macaroni until soft, then drain.
5. Add macaroni to already prepared soup.

Soupy rice


Ingredients:

6 large anchovies, with head and guts removed
2 small pieces of seaweed
3 meatballs (mix minced pork with a dash of light soy, white pepper and corn starch)
4 quail eggs, boiled and peeled
1 organic baby carrot, peeled and chopped
6 pieces of toufu, cut small
Method:
1. Place anchovies and seaweed in a pot, add water to cover. Boil 20 minutes, and remove both anchovies and seaweed.

2. Place carrots into pot, boil 5 minutes, or until carrots have softened. Add meatballs and toufu and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Remove from fire, add quail eggs. Season with a pinch of sea salt (optional).
4.Add soup to cooked rice.



Aden's simple soupy rice dinner (he ate all of it) :)





2 comments:

  1. C would totally gobble that soupy rice dinner!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. C is a good boy. Aden is.. very picky.

    ReplyDelete