I recently got to a point where I felt utterly dejected by the sight of Nutella on toast. D was eating it morning, noon and night. My feelings towards it were made worse by the fact that D has had a cold and diarrhoea on and off for about 2 years now. Of course, I don’t know that it’s diet related: it could be an allergy (though having looked into it, that’s doubtful) or, as my Dad suspects, a sinus infection. But as D refuses to take any medicine a Doctor may prescribe then her diet seems a sensible place to start. Another issue is that D doesn’t see her cold/diarrhoea as a problem – she’s so used to it now that she doesn’t really notice it.
A few months ago she asked me to help her make a weekly menu, which was a repeat of the 8 foods she was eating back then, but nevertheless it really worked as she didn’t get frustrated thinking about what to eat all the time (I have stopped using monkey platters as she was suspicious of most of the food on there). Her diet then became even more limited and gradually she was left with 4 things on the menu she would eat: potato waffles, Nutella on toast and vegetarian schnitzel (interspersed with Hula Hoops, chocolate brioche and chocolate biscuits).
I started to feel even more desperate and began saying ‘no’ when she asked for her 4th bag of crisps or ‘not until you’ve eaten something filling’ when she asked for Nutella on a spoon. Then I caught her trying to steal Hula Hoops from the cupboard and realised that restricting the food she loves is not going to work!
I asked for help in the Facebook Radical Unschooling group and was advised to give her the Nutella she wanted, but maybe look at dairy free chocolate spread alternatives, or to add in things like Flaxseed into her baking to give her some nutritional variation. So I continued giving her the Nutella but never got around to the baking part – as is always the way – once you get to the point of thinking you can’t take it anymore, your child makes a shift and the phase is over!
D was in tears the other day, feeling poorly with a tummy bug and sick of blowing her nose. So I took the opportunity to have another chat with her about how her body may be missing nutrients that could be useful in fighting cold germs. She brightened up when she remembered how she used to love chicken and broccoli in gravy and so I made some and it was gobbled down! I just hope this phase lasts at least long enough for me to see if it has any effect on her cold/diarrhoea.
As for M, I am utterly satisfied with her diet: she tries new food all the time; she likes interesting flavours; she doesn’t have any fear around food, or any shame; she appreciates chocolate just as much as any other food she eats; and she loves cooking! She has been quite tired recently, which could be due to the numerous bugs we seem to have caught, but it could also be due to her recent shift to foods that don’t contain much iron. I had a chat with her about trying to introduce some iron-rich foods to see if it helps with her energy and she is fully on board – she’s had carrot and hoummous, more dark chocolate, and we’re going to try some roasted sunflower seeds shortly.
And that is what it’s all about: partnering the sausages.