Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Neti and Meke's interaction with food has changed.

When we first brought them home from Ethiopia speed and quantity were priorities. They'd stuff their cheeks like a chipmunk preparing for winter while holding as much food as possible in both of their hands. And MAN, could they eat! Meke was, for at least a few months, by far the biggest eater in the family.

We seem to be in a different phase. SLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW.

Take tonight. We had pork chops, applesauce, and dinner rolls. I finished first. Then Bethany. Within a few minutes everyone was finished except Neti and Meke. They had only eaten about half of their pork chop and part of the applesauce. As the rest of us dismissed ourselves from the table we reminded them of the obvious.

"Neti. Meke. You need to eat."

I drove Bethany to basketball practice. When I got home I took out the garbage. Then Kailey and I went to the attic to retrieve the dozen or so Christmas totes to start de-holidizing the house. We had half the tree stripped when I caught a glimpse of the girls still nibbling away in the dining room.

It had been nearly 45 minutes since the rest of us pushed away from the table. Both of them had finished the pork chop but had half a bowl of applesauce and an entire roll left to eat. How long was this going to take?!?! And what in the world had they been doing this whole time?

If you know me very well you know this drives me crazy. I view meals as interruptions. To me, eating is equivalent to filling the gas tank (and only slightly more enjoyable).

I gave Neti and Meke a two-minute warning. They picked up the pace significantly, knowing that Daddy would follow through. I counted down the last 10 seconds aloud. When I hit "5" Meke smashed the entire roll into her mouth. Simultaneously, a thought entered my mind. "Is this effective parenting?" I ignored it and kept going. At "zero" both grabbed their plates and took them to the kitchen and headed for the then-naked Christmas tree to help out.

Ten minutes later both of them were hungry.


At 1:24 PM , Blogger Sharon said...

Nadine doesn't eat and Rowan is beginning to tell us what he wants to eat. I can't believe you guys have that much strength to keep them seated until they eat - I just give up and let them pass on a meal.

At 11:55 AM , Anonymous Kevin & Donna said...

We feel your pain too. Paul does everything very slow. We don't know if this is normal or if it's just him. His older brother called him a snail this morning because of his speed which I thought was a pretty good analogy coming from a kid who's only been in the country little more than 2 months.
We expected they would scarf down food just as you experienced but that has never been the case.
We've also noticed that they can be surprisingly wasteful. We encourage them to eat or at least try everything on their plate.
One obvious variable is snacking. Our kids are very sensitive, in that we've noticed snacking(which we've always tried to avoid), definately alters intake at mealtime.
I've also had them ask for "snacky type foods" after a meal they wouldn't finish in 30 minutes.
My mother told me not to rush them. Easy for her to say, she has patience!

At 11:39 PM , Blogger Kim and Gary said...

Judah would eat until he threw up. He would anything and everything and after about a year of being home he decided enough was enough and now I have to bribe him. I find him throwing food out all the time saying "its yuuuuuckyyyyy" you know the whiney voice.


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