Up until 12months my kids ate absolutely everything and really ate well. We hardly ever had any issues getting them to eat and they almost always finished what they were offered. Well from 12 months-ish, food started to become more challenging. I know this is totally normal, that their nutritional requirements drop off and of course they start to assert their wants. In reality they still actually eat quite well, but they are now eating in a day more or less what they used to eat for dinner and one snack combined. A dramatic drop off in appetite.
I am totally comfortable with them only eating as much as they want and we pretty much don’t allow junk in our house, so what they do eat is healthy. For a little while meal times had become a war zone in our house. Pudding insisting on feeding herself, but getting bored long before she had much food in her, Sausage spitting out anything with texture in the midst of smooth (e.g. meat in a stew). Dinner was especially becoming a challenge so we tried mixing things up a little. We started with moving their main meal to lunch time, because they are normally less tired at lunch time and give us less argument about eating. But we still kept ending up with food being thrown across the room at dinner time and tears and drama.
Then Chris and I found ourselves with very little work on the go and time to have dinner as a family. We moved dinner a little later (6.00) in the evening (they were originally eating at 5.00pm) and sat down as a family to eat. We bought them their own placemats, Pudding has a Mini Mouse one and Sausage a Cars one. And we took out their cutlery. The first thing we bought for the twins once we knew there were two of them was their own little cutlery set. I know the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard right? But in my family little people cutlery is a bit of a tradition. I still have the cutlery set I used as a little girl. The sets we bought each have little animals on them, the knife has a giraffe, the fork an elephant, the dessert spoon a lion and the teaspoons a monkey. So we started setting the table for dinner with placemats for everyone and everyone with their own proper cutlery. We each get a drink (Pudding gets hers in a Mini Mouse cup and Sausage his in a Cars cup). They are each tasked with helping to set the table, Sausage gets the place mats and Pudding the cups and they tend to fight over getting the cutlery, which is especially funny because neither of them can actually reach into the drawer the cutlery is kept in. The we sit down as a family to dinner. We eat the same food most nights (unless Chris and I are eating hot curry or hot chilli). And all of a sudden the drama at dinner time has disappeared. It is fantastic! That’s not to say they always eat all their food, but because they have normally had their main meal at lunchtime I don’t worry if they don’t eat much, or if I have to resort to a cheese or peanut butter sandwich. We have almost no spitting, we have very little food throwing. It is still a very messy event because while they do pretty well with a spoon, Pudding still picks up the food in her hands to then stick it onto a fork, and they still drip a lot of anything saucy between the plate and the mouth. But we have peace at dinner time and they are eating a lot more with a lot less fuss! Win all around, because family meals around the table were one of the things I dreamt about most during those years of infertility.
At 12 months the doc suggested we not put them onto cow’s milk straight away because of their allergy. So he suggested putting them onto the Growing Up Milk. He said that around 18 months we could then transition to cow’s milk. And then in the last few weeks we have suddenly not been able to find the growing up milk (ready-made one) anywhere? I have tried all the major stores near us with no success and even when a friend mentioned she had found some at a shop, they had none when we got there. Oh well, no big deal you would think, we were planning on moving them to full cream cow’s milk now anyway. Except that Pudding refuses cow’s milk. Every time she takes a sip of it she looks at it as if to say “what are you” and then says with a shake of her head “I don’t want it”. I even in desperation tried giving her chocolate milk, but she won’t drink it. We’ve tried giving her milky rooibos tea, but she won’t drink it. So for now she is just not getting much milk (other than in her cereal or porridge in the mornings). I would have tried mixing it half and half with the growing up milk, but with none of that available, she simply has to adjust. I am not too worried about her lack of milk because she eats plenty of cheese, yogurt and green veggies so she is getting her fill of calcium anyway.
So after a bit of an adjustment period with eating, we are back on a winning formula for now. For now, because with toddlers you never know when they are going to mix it up again.