Fussy Eater, but I think it may be my parents fault...Please advise

(35 Posts)
gardeningangel Fri 27-Dec-13 09:40:40

My daughter is 21 months now and I am expecting my 2nd child in March. My daughter has always been a good eater and as I returned to work 3 days a week, my parents have her on those days. However, due to pending 2nd child, I have tried to encourage her to feed herself as much as she can, so that when the next child comes along, I am not worried that I am getting stressed trying to feed 2 babies. To start with she did this really well and ate her meals.
I have had various, tentative conversations with my parents about trying to do this at there house, as well as telling them to cut down on tv, and most recently, I have noticed that my daughter is becoming increasing fussy with her food, which is not helping that cause of her being more independent with her food.
I think this stems from the fact that if she doesn't eat her main meal at my parents, she gets her pudding anyway just to get some food in her. She sits in front of the TV whilst having meals and despite me trying to encourage my parents to let her eat by herself, I still walk in to them feeding her. My mother also insists on giving her biscuits and crisps in between meals, which drives me mental and I have told her to stop, to the point we have had a full blown argument. We also fell out about her giving the bairn Tea, which I did not condone at all. She always comes back with the 'I've brought up 3 children' excuse, but I do fire back with 'my child, my rules'
So my dilemma is what to do. Do I carry on trying to persuade my mother that I don't want certain things done and want them done a certain way, or do I sit them down and tell them 'This is what I want' and be direct.

My parents are great with my daughter, but I feel especially my mother seems to defy what I want just to spite me, as if its funny.

She is becoming picky because that's what children do as a way to exert some power. And perhaps as a pushback to you pushing her to feed herself before she's ready. If she knows this is because of the new baby, she may hate the new baby.

I'd chill.

Goldmandra Fri 27-Dec-13 09:52:34

Children react to the environment they are in at the time. Your DD's behaviour about food is not about what happens at your parents' house. Children who are fussy eaters at home are often really good eaters in nursery etc because nursery staff don't have an emotional investment in their eating.

The only thing I would change is the bairn tea if it means she is not hungry at your mealtimes.

Apart from that you just need to put the food in front of her and leave her to get on with it. After a reasonable period of time, remove what she hasn't eaten and get her down or offer fruit, etc.

The problem here is very likely to be the fact that you are getting so wound up, even if you're trying to hide it.

Relax and let your parents feed her in their own way. You have your own routines when she's with you and, like the vast majority of her peers, she will adapt very easily.

Agreed, even at this tender age she knows which buttons to press. Is there any scope for using paid childcare, however? I have found that it can be much easier to get your way to an extent, as it were. Genuine question, not being funny. I only ask as the main reason for not using MIL as childcare when the dc were younger was our completely opposing views on almost everything.

curlew Fri 27-Dec-13 09:55:08

So you're expecting a baby in 3 months time- and you're pushing her to feed herself now? Honestly, don't worry, she'll be a different person in 3 months time. Pushing children to do things before they are ready never works.

Probably not a good idea to say "my child my rules" to the people you are relying on to look after your child for 3 days a week, to be honest. Unless it's about something really important. I might be a bit concerned about too many crisps, for example, at this age.

Oh an

MothershipG Fri 27-Dec-13 09:55:46

Do you pay your parents to look after her? Because I'm afraid free child care = compromise. So your options are pay someone to do it your way or try and find a mutually agreeable position with your parents.

Also Tee is absolutely right! This is the exact age that children like to start exercising their will power and a favourite area to do this is food. They'll like it one day, hate it the next and have a meltdown if you give them what they've just asked for, or god forbid, cut up a pear! wink

Sorry, no idea where my random 'oh an' came from!

TarkaTheOtter Fri 27-Dec-13 09:56:24

I agree it's a control thing. My dd of a similar age was a great eater up until recently. It's a control thing and I think age/development related.

gardeningangel Fri 27-Dec-13 11:01:51

I think the fact that my mother seems so defiant when I'm trying to introduce new things, such as feeding herself, I think gets my back up especially when my Dad tries to do things the way I want it and I think that has fueled my anxiety about her becoming fussy.
I don't try to push her into feeding herself, but know that like this morning, she ate all of her cereal herself and just wanted to extend from there.
Maybe I do need to chill a bit, she doesn't really understand about the new baby really, again something I am a bit anxious about as there will be 2 years exactly between them. I don't want her to resent he new one!
I think the thing that gets to me the most is the crisps and biscuits between mealtimes. Obviously, we all try to encourage healthy eating, however it doesn't seems to matter with my mother, which surprises me as we weren't brought up eating loads of sweets. When I say she can have 1 more, my mother will give her 2!!

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 27-Dec-13 11:06:41

When you say you have to feed her does that go fireball parts of a meal? Surely she can pick up some carrots or pasta with her fingers for a bits while she gets used to cutlery?

I think pushing now is a bad idea because being so heavily pregnant , with the best intentions there will likely be days where your too tired or in too much pain to follow through with things. I would honestly leave it now until you are able to maintain the consistency. smile

She will do it eventually

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 27-Dec-13 11:07:08

Fire ball? Ffs damn iPhone. For all parts

TarkaTheOtter Fri 27-Dec-13 11:43:02

Yes sounds like your mum is trying to wind you up a bit. And indulgent grandparents are great but there is a bit of a conflict when they are also providing regular permeanent childcare. I'd focus in the unhealthy snacks and let the eating by herself go. She'll pick that up in the time she spends with you anyway.

DontmindifIdo Fri 27-Dec-13 11:47:29

Can you afford to pay for childcare?

gardeningangel Fri 27-Dec-13 14:44:21

Gileswithachainsaw- she feeds herself some bits normally at the start, but then I say I will help her near the end. However, I have tried her with bits of carrots and pasta, but whereas at one time she would try it, she just turns away or pushes the bowl away from her. But where I would try to encourage (not force) her to eat it, my parents just seem to go straight for pudding and I am not sure whether this is why she is increasingly fussy

I can't afford childcare and if I'm honest I don't really want to get to that point, as she loves going to see them and they are great with her. I think I will focus on the unhealthy snack issue and not get overly concerned with the feeding herself.

I must admit, I am struggling this time with my pregnancy with being extremely tired with lack of sleep due to SPD and running after the little one.

Mother also keeps going on at me that it is about time she started potty training, but again, consistency is an issue as I work some days and the days I am off, I'm exhausted

brettgirl2 Fri 27-Dec-13 14:56:44

presumably they won't be looking after her as much once you are on mat leave.

Tbh I think feeding nearly 2 year old is just odd, my dd has fed herself since 8 months (she hated being fed) I would be confused about them thinking she can't feed herself but being ready for potty training! Can you use the 'working on one thing at a time?'

That said dd has a bit of tea every so often. I think it's better than them getting used to sweet drinks. I understand the iron argument though and wouldn't be happy if it was more than once in the days they had her. I would also be unhappy if it was with food.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 27-Dec-13 14:58:41

Forget teaching her anything right now. She's still young and trying anything you can't see through to the end is a waste of time, upsets them. with no real benefit. Wait until you are on maternity leave and have had the baby and have your dh at home to help out.

You need know she may well have done it herself by then anyway smile

purrforamincepie Fri 27-Dec-13 15:19:43

How are you managing to cope with your DM being defiant/doing things to spite you? Mine waits until I'm round the corner or in another room and then she's all 'right! We don't want to be doing things that way, do we! Silly mummy!' This is said with a lovely big grin at my 7mo who then predictably grins a big gummy grin back as my mum continues with something like 'mean mummy, let's do it properly'. It's like she is trying to out-parent me. It really does wind me up.

I've recently realised that this will be a much bigger deal when my baby understands what's being said. DM is quite competitive anyway and I can see her upping the ante.

gardeningangel Fri 27-Dec-13 15:22:26

Thank you everyone for your answers, I wasn't born a parent with all the answers and guess sometimes you need an outside viewpoint as to whether you are being silly or not.

brettgirl2 - do you think that she should be feeding herself by now anyway?

gardeningangel Fri 27-Dec-13 15:29:00

purrforamincepie - my mother doesn't say comments quite that bad, but things like 'Gran's getting wrong again' and in front of me. Or she will sit there with her back straight and pursed lips saying nothing after I've had a go at her! With LO being the age she is, I think she is starting to understand what she is doing and don't want this to cause problems later.
I think if I told my mother that I wanted LO to be a vegetarian she would feed her sausages just because she can!

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 27-Dec-13 15:35:02

How long are you going to be in maternity leave for? Could you possibly time it so it coincides with the free 15 hours child care your dd will get? And then return to work according to the hours you can get dd at nursery?

If your DM is unable to realise the importance of these things then I certainly wouldnt want her being in charge of both the children. Are you planning a nursery for dc2?

Floralnomad Fri 27-Dec-13 15:37:04

I really think you are over thinking this .Your parents have your dd 3 days a week , presumably they don't feed her all 3 meals on those days ,so she has way more meals with you . I also don't see why the tea thing bothers you ,if its because of the caffeine just provide your parents with caffeine free tea to use . I'm sure it would be worse if they were filling her up with cola . If you're getting free childcare I'd stop moaning ,particularly if you plan on them looking after both the DC in the future .

gardeningangel Fri 27-Dec-13 15:48:45

Gileswithachainsaw - I am taking 39 weeks mat leave, but she doesn't qualify for free childcare until she's 3 and can't afford nursery.

The tea thing does bother me, so in my eyes, surely they should respect that decision instead of me having to alter what they give her by buying de-caff tea! Maybe you think I am over-reacting, but I feel that tea is a very adult drink and don't want her to have it.

But I think my original issue was the fact that I was concerned that my parents weren't pushing healthy meals and if she didn't want something, giving her pudding instead, giving her rubbish between mealtimes and therefore I thought this was turning her into a fussy eater.

Just because I'm getting 'free childcare' with her being at my parents surely doesn't give them the right to do what they want? Or does it?

Floralnomad Fri 27-Dec-13 15:52:01

Well the result could well be that you piss your mum off so much that she says she won't have them ,then what do you do . IMO if you pay someone to look after your child you make the rules ,if you don't pay its always a risk .The problems you have are really quite insignificant in the big scheme of things so is it worth falling out about or risking the relationship you have with your parents.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 27-Dec-13 15:58:25

I think there are some things you will have to accept but I don't think you should have to accept them feeding her crap all the time.

I do sympathise with that part tbh. Mainly because I had EXACTLY the same issues with my MIL. I appreciated her looking after her but instead of giving the meals I sent half the time she have her something else. My dds unless going through a growth spurt eat like birds. They eat well but not a lot. So all the treats and tastes of things she gave in between meant she was never really hungry for her dinner. And then because she didn't eat she'd go and make her some toast or a yogurt just so she ate. Cue me having a nightmare of her refusing to eat anything i made. I managed to sort it luckily but it took work.

I think I managed to get her to listen for the lost part but eating habits can be so easily stuffed up in the toddler stages and I don't think a couple of requests to not give a drink or pump her full of crisps is a big ask. They are confusing "child care time" with grandparent time. Grand parent time is once a week say with all the sweets etc that involves. When you care for a child while a parent is at work you do have to stick to routines because otherwise your paying for it all might and then still having to getup and go to work.

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