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I had seen a lot of buzz recently about this book ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food‘ and thought I would give it a read.  Don’t get me wrong, my children aren’t angels to any degree but one thing I can always rely on is their appetite, Bean has loved food from her first taste of butternut puree and Bites although a little hesitant to start never fails to amaze me at what and how much she can put away bearing in mind she has NO teeth…9 months old and nada.

Friday 4

Anyway, I digress (as usual!) as I said Bean has always loved food and I can hands down say I have never cooked anything that she wouldn’t eat, the stronger the flavour the better in all honesty. Cue our family trip to South Africa earlier this you to introduce the girls to the rest of the family, and suddenly getting her to eat became a Task, rather than something that just happened naturally, and it was every meal, obviously we were worried she was ill to start with and also worried about her waking up or generally just starving but she maintained the eating little routine for the entire 3 weeks, bar a 3 helping round of Jamie Oliver’s pregnant Jools Pasta, a somewhat staple in this house that thankfully my FIL also loved to make. At first we tried to bribe and coerce her into eating but after 2 days I decide to let her run with it, going by the thinking that if and when she was hungry she will eat…which she did albeit it sporadically but also random non meals.

My husband was beside himself, I was trying not to let it bother me too much but it did you can’t help but worry at such a drastic change in your child’s behavour. I am still not 100% as to what bought it on, the heat, the constant stimulation (cousins running round and TV on 24/7) or perhaps it was just the only thing she could control when everything as she knew it had changed – she was sleeping in a room by herself that she had never seen before and in a double bed and she was as good as gold so for that we thanked our stars…I think sleeping randomly trumps eating randomly I could not have coped with anymore interrupted sleep at that point especially as her sister was still waking for a night feed or two.

However, upon returning home she was back to her old ways, thankfully. But more recently it has become a battle at meals times, how much of it is my own making I’m not sure – my girls go to bed earlyish Bites @ 6.05 and Bean after the night garden (which I record incase its a bad day and she goes to bed earlier @ 6.20) so my evening schedule is a bit rushed, Bites eats no later than 4.30 as a general rule but that is too early for Bean but most days she wants to eat then with her sister and I am not joking it is SUCH a process, we can easily spend an hour at the table as she chats and faffs her way thought the meal, asking me to feed her when she is more than capable or wanting to sit on my lap and I know the reason is because I am feeding her sister so obviously she is getting less attention from me, but I can’t wait to give Bean her dinner when her sister is in bed it’s just too late (they are early risers so late bedtime means she would still wake the same time and be grumpy all day, not my idea of fun) so in the end I have to cut her meal time short and get them in the bath…but I can’t help but worry that she is not eating enough. I have cut out her afternoon snacks to make sure she is hungry enough to eat in a more concentrated manner althewhile I have this niggly feeling that really she still needs her afternoon snack as toddlers calorific needs are so great and she is always busy busy busy.

The other thing is potty training…she got it so quickly and so well I was flabbergasted and then 10 days a go poo-gate began. No telling me she needed to go even if I asked her and then just doing it, in her knickers, on the floor…it is driving me crazy we even had a poo painted bed (it was nap time to be fair to her and it leaked out the top of the pull up so she was obviously intrigued and touched it) but I am at a loss for how to deal with it – the shouting hasn’t worked, neither has telling the poo off(!) and asking her all the time just gets her (understandably) irate.

So, I am giving this book a go to see if the French have insights to offer on the matter, it’s my first foray into parenting books / advice I’ve always trusted my gut and when really panicked looked to the best known parenting sites on the web – NM & MN and I think that was pretty much in the breastfeeding days anyway…

But, dear reader if you have any advice or amazing resource I should know about please please share..or just let me know I’m not alone. (or have you read the book – what did you think?)

5 thoughts on ““Parenting”

  1. hi! well i don’t have the key, but just tell you you have to be patient, they go through these etapes of returning to pee in bed and so on (mine did it for 2 weeks, but now she’s completely clean again). and about her dinners… well it’s not easy with a toddler and a baby, my experience’s been different, just with 1, but at first time she didn’t want to eat, it was desperate, i make cook – i have to through it, like this for a year, and the, suddenly, she started to eat. the only tip’s to always offer her a dish to eat, i read sometimes we’ve to offer them an ingredient for 15 times until they start to eat it.
    on the other hand, she’s maybe a little jealous of her little sister…

    • Obviously I have no idea about any of this but I just wanted to say that imagining you telling a poo off has totally made my day!

      You’re doing a great job though so chillax 😉 you have explained your constrains, so like twitter with the 140 characters, you have to work with them. The best things and ideas and designs come out of strict constraints… and at some point Bean will get the hang of it. She probably appreciates the routine much more than you realise, so messing about with it will probably not help, especially when you have 2 to sort out. The only thing I can think of that I’ve read is yes, go with snacks and no, don’t worry if they don’t eat too much at each sitting. Apparently toddlers go through a phase where they eat less than a sparrow and you worry it’s not enough but somehow it is.

      The chances are, if she’s pooing at funny times it might be that she’s eating too much??

      As for poo – I heard that some kids go through a phase of ‘ownership’ of their poo. It’s a bit of them so they don’t want to flush it down the toilet and say good bye. Or did I dream that?!

      Looking forward to hearing about how perfect the French are once you’ve read it. They don’t get fat, their kids are little angels, ….what next? Really?


      • You are so right about the routine…I think it’s easy to get caught up in it all and sometimes I just need to take a step back and breathe. It is also good to bounce ideas of of other parents…my husband usually just repeats something I’ve already said back at me and tbh I’m a bit of a control freak anyway…
        As for talking to poo definitely a new low in mummyhood that said at 6.30am this morning I was singing a song to the poo – ah how my life has changed!
        And the only experience I’ve had with French kids is with the exchange kids when I was at school and they were NOT perfect…cigarette anyone?!


    • Thank you for the lovely comment. Sometimes I feel at my witsend…and other times its fine, Bites has actually started eating a bit later so that is helping but like you say as long as I am making sure there is plenty of food on offer I can do no more!

  2. I know some french kids and you know what, they’re can be just a difficult as their British counterparts – the book lies!! Seriously though, no advice apart from that every child I know has had a faddy eating phase. My eldest stepdaughter (12) has now finally grown out of hers so you have that to look forward to! I have also had conversations with poo either we’re both stark raving mad or parenting genii (is that the right plural?) In which case we should totally collaborate on an alternative potty training book 😂

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