The battle has begun even before I sit down. "How much do I have to eat?" The kid hates to eat. How many people do you know hate to eat? Anorexia might enter your mind here. Not that I think Max is trying to stay skinny. If every dinner consisted of a chocolate cupcake with frosting I'm sure he'd gobble it right down (well he'd gobble the frosting, half of the cake and say he was full).
But no, dinners around here consist of a protein (usually chicken), a vegetable (usually broccoli) and some starchy side dish (usually potatoes). I put minuscule amounts of each on Max's plate and still I hear "How much do I have to eat?"
"All of it," I reply. Meanwhile the little one has gobbled his down and is signing for more. The kid has several clear words in his repertoire, but always chooses to sign "more." I guess it is easier to move your little hands together than speak when your mouth is always full.
Max has always been like this. It was actually one of my first indications that something was wrong. One bite and he would turn his head. He never finished a jar of baby food in that short space of time that you are feeding them with a spoon. I was floored when Owen came along and could finish a whole jar in nothing flat. I thought he was such a huge eater!
Most people take pleasure in feeling their bellies are full. Max says his "hurts" if eats a portion of food larger than his fist. Most people find comfort in eating, latching onto certain meals as something to ease the pain of life's ups and downs. Max finds each meal to be a chore and will try to find a diversion anywhere he can.
If you are thinking, "this is not normal" or "boy, they need help" I say to you "Eureka, you are right!" I have asked pediatricians, allergists, school counselors, my mother-in-law, friends, neighbors, etc. I can't seem to find someone who specializes in the psychological impact food allergies have on children. I don't need a nutritionist. (We saw one once when Max was a baby. She seemed a little clueless at the loss of dairy from a child's diet.) I don't believe there is anything wrong with him physically (besides the food allergies, I mean). He just seems to have an aversion to eating.
So the battle continues, we get down to negotiations.
"I don't like potatoes"
"So eat all your chicken."
"All of it!"
"And your broccoli."
"How about half of my chicken?"
"Max just eat"
"You haven't eaten anything! How can you be full!"
"I just am."
"Can I leave the table?"
"No, please eat your dinner."
"How much do I have to eat?"