I have one million things I need to be doing right at this very moment, but I couldn't let you think I was still off in loser-ville!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SYMPATHIES OR TIPS OR ADVICE!
I took it all very seriously and synthesized it together and have already seen improvement. So quick! I am a little in shock because I honestly just thought of my kids as little robots who were incapable of anything else and that is not true for any kids! So parents who have kids in the same predicament: don't give up!
I think more than one of my friends was very smart to point out that every kid is different so there is no one size fits all fix and you must know what works for your kid and keep trying til you get where you want to be. It's a process, however slow, and we are starting on the right path.... I'm so excited!
So here's what is working for us already:
This may seem painfully obvious to everyone, but don't let your kids fill up on snacks all day long or they will not be hungry at meal times.
It seems like a no-brainer, but I am the type that just grazes all day so of course my kids are. And we don't always snack on healthy stuff and as I was reading through your comments it was slowly dawning on me that this may be our main problem!
In fact, while I was typing this Ambrose yelled, "Mama! I'm going to save my breakfast for later! I'm full!" and then came in two minutes later to where I was on the computer and said, "I'm gonna get a granola bar."
And I was doing something, obviously, so I was tempted to be like, "Yeah, sure, whatever..." and then I realized, "NOOOOOO!!!!"
"Nope buddy, sorry, if you are hungry you can finish your breakfast. If you are not hungry you can just go back to playing. We will have snack time later on today."
He left the room crying and even tried to sneak a snack two seconds later, but I held firm and he got over it.
Ok, but here's the miracle that happened yesterday! You'll think I am making this up, but it's true. We had to go to the mall so they had mall food for lunch (by the way Ambrose got a book at the mall as a prize for trying five new foods... another tip I followed from you guys...smaller goals) and then we came home and got ready for swim lessons and after swim lessons they were hungry so I knew I needed a fast dinner, but I needed at least 30 minutes for the chicken to cook.
There's no way they'll eat chicken that's not in nugget form, I thought. But I wanted to try out your tips so I went for it. I said, "Let's get out and play a little in the yard or at Grandmas so the chicken can bake." They begged and begged for a whole convenience store of snacks....hanging out by the pantry door like crack addicts at a crack house. I wouldn't budge. NO SNACKING BEFORE DINNER.
After a bit, I said, "Fine, dinner is almost done, but if you just can't make it here is some water and look trees!" (Raw broccoli... there's no way in the fiery pits of hell they will go for this....I thought.)
Ambrose ate a whole head (or whatever you call it) of raw broccoli.
One "tree" after another. Asher remained firmly planted to the pantry door, whining pathetically. He was so determined but meandered off after a while to whine by the window- perhaps hoping a worker from CPS would be walking by who he could call out to. I noticed he was not in the vicinity so I seized the moment to get the rice out of the pantry and I have never seen even a cockroach in pursuit escape across a room so quickly. Asher was in that pantry before you could say, "high fructose corn syrup."
I had to herd him back out kicking and screaming and believe me, although this was all somewhat amusing, this was no fun for me... but all this felt strangely familiar. It felt like when I had to eventually make my kids cry themselves to sleep at night with child knobs on their door. It sounds bad, it feels wrong, but it is completely and totally RIGHT to give your kids necessary boundaries or you are IN TROUBLE later in life. Kids are happier once they can finally sleep through the night by themselves and you are happier. This is the same situation.
Hallelujah! Dinner was finally done (and don't worry this post almost is as well) so I put a little bit of chicken (cheesy chicken to be exact... a suggestion from my sister Britt!) on each boy's plate with a little bit of rice. I didn't even mess with our usual fruit side dish, because I know these kids, and they would just fill up on it and ignore the rest. I then went to dish up my plate and by time I had sat down and said, "Want to say the prayer Ambrose?" ASHER WAS HALF WAY DONE WITH HIS DINNER!
ASHER WHO EATS LIKE THREE THINGS AND MAINLY JUST DRINKS MILK FOR SURVIVAL!
I was shocked. I didn't even stop him while Ambrose said the prayer. He ate it all and asked for more.
OHHHHHH he was actually hungry for dinner instead of being full from a day of drinking sippy cup after cup of milk and snacking on cereal, crackers, and fruit. WOW.
Ambrose cautiously ate a few bites of chicken with lots of prompting from me and a bite of rice and that is huge for him as well.
In conclusion, my world has been rocked.