Occasionally Tobin goes through phases where he just doesn’t want to eat much at all. He is currently in one of those phases. I suspect his current food strike has something to do with his dad having been away in India on a business trip for two weeks, or just the general upheaval to our daily routine because Dad was gone. I am sure my returning to the evening shift at work is not going to help the situation either.
Normally when he goes through these phases I can at least tempt him with some of his favorite foods: cantaloupe, berries, yogurt, cereal, broccoli, applesauce, French fries, macaroni and cheese, etc. However, this time around, every food item I listed as being available to him was met with a resounding “no” or “I’m not hungry.”
If Tobin were my firstborn child, and not my last one, I would probably have gotten all stressed and worried about this. I would probably have resorted to bargaining and/or begging to get my child to eat, but I’ve been a mom long enough now to know that my child is not likely to starve himself to death. I also know that showing any kind of great reaction does not work with this particular child. (It would have worked with Steve.) If I begged Tobin to eat, he would probably continue not to eat just to defy me. Instead, I have to resort to trickery. My current method of trickery is the “monkey platter. ”
Recently while perusing various homeschooling blogs, I came across an entry on one mom’s blog that mentioned something she referred to as a “monkey platter.” A “monkey platter” is a plate of various finger foods put out for your kids so they can graze to their hearts’ content. The term originally comes from another homeschooling mom, unschooling guru Sandra Dodd. Because we don’t really unschool around here, I don’t regularly read Dodd’s stuff, but I sometimes come across her ideas while reading other homeschooling blogs and articles. I did quickly fall in love with her concept though, although I am not wild about the name, mostly because my kids have a strangely odd loathing of monkeys.
Regardless of what we might call it, I have found that setting out a big plate of fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese bits, etc. is a big hit with both of the boys. It makes Steve happy because he is constantly hungry, and it means one less trip he has to make to the fridge on his own. Tobin is pleased because he can nibble at his leisure without having to stop playing with his toys or whatever else he might be doing.
I have found that it is a very easy way to make sure the boys are taking in a wide variety of fruits and veggies. I like trying to see how many different things I can think of to put out on the plate each day. Here are a few samples of plates that I have put together as snacks for the boys in the last few weeks.
Tobin particularly likes black olives, peaches, carrots, pretzels, and cukes. Steve’s favorites are…well…food. There really isn’t much that child won’t eat.
I am still trying to come up with something else to call it that fits our family, but I have not come up with anything yet. Perhaps a “piggy platter” as the boys are fond of pigs, and I like the alliteration. Or maybe I’ll just see if the kids come up with the name for it on their own.
To read more about Sandra Dodd’s monkey platters and to see a long list of possible food ideas, go to http://sandradodd.com/eating/monkeyplatter.