Friday, July 10, 2009

Olivia's Eating Issues...

So I had been mulling over this topic in my head for the last few days as to where to start, how far do I go back with talking about this, and just my angst at having this problem to begin with. So let's just start with the facts: Olivia doesn't have any issues with what she is eating. She eats all the good foods- whole grain breads, a banana every morning, fruit for lunch, broccoli, corn, carrots, other random veggies, and sometimes lettuce. She eats eggs, cheese, all kinds of pastas, loves fish, crab, other shellfish, chicken, beef or turkey meatballs, salami, and peanut butter and jelly. She also has the random trashy stuff like pop tarts and juice every now and then but for the most part she eats very healthy every day.

That's not the problem- the problem lies in how long it takes her to finish a meal. She doesn't lag at the table because she doesn't like it, she lags because she is either talking excessively or just sitting there. If I try to remove her plate she cries because she really does want to eat. So an hour after everyone else has finished their food, moved away from the table, and we have cleaned up the mess she starts to eat her food and finishes it in like 15 minutes.

I tried to set dinner at a later time figuring maybe she just wasn't hungry yet- same result. We tried to set a timer when everyone else finished their food to give her a set amount of time but it didn't really change anything. We pleaded, we gave timeouts, we offered incentives- no deal. What gives??? Who the heck knows. She just apparently wants to eat by herself and take an hour and a half to do it.

So a few days ago Dave and I decided enough was truly enough. We sat Livy down, explained that she would be getting 30 minutes from the time everyone got to the table to eat her food including her dessert. If in the 30 minutes she didn't finish her dinner or dessert then she and the food would be removed from the table and she would be fed again at the next time we ate. If she missed a few meals, then I guess she would be either hungry at the next go around or she'd just skip the meal.

That night we fed Ava first since Olivia was in a timeout in her room for biting Ava. (This is a whole other story not even worth mentioning.) Ava finished her food so we set her up on her little couch with a sucker and a movie. When Olivia came down from her room she scoped out Ava and wanted to sit with her. We told her how Ava had eaten so quickly that she was getting special privileges and that Livy would be eating with us. We started the timer and let her know we would not be talking to her or answering anything she said. In about 10 minutes Dave and I had finished and had already put our plates in the dishwasher. Liv had been picking at her spaghetti piece by piece and had eaten maybe an actual bite at this point. Since Dave needed to return a movie anyway I suggested he take Ava and just get it over with and get the movie returned. There was no point in waiting around. Liv still had 15 minutes left. So as they were putting their shoes on Livy says, "hey, wait guys I'll eat fast." So Dave asks me if they should wait. I told him no, they were ready- they should go. So Olivia says to me, "Daddy could only take one person?" I explained, "No, Daddy could have taken both of you but you are still eating." She then used her fork and started taking real bites. At the 28th minute Olivia had eaten her food.

And since that moment we have been setting the timer for 30 minutes right when we all sit down to eat. We don't speak or interact with Olivia and she has eaten all of her meals and has gotten dessert after dinner all in her 30 minutes. Again- what gives???

I think we were on the right track with the timer we just hadn't used it correctly. We were starting it after everyone left the table and giving her additional time. Now she is on our time and on time. Go figure. Next week it will probably be something else like an odd rash that won't go way. Don't these things come in 3's?

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