Toddlerhood: Cakes, Mealtime Battle, and Undivided Attention.

“Mealtimes. Children wanted their parents undivided attention at mealtimes and it was hurtful not to get it.”

The reasons behind the changes in behaviour recently – this article nailed it.

Past three days, big sister has been refusing solids for breakfast, only drinks milk, have cakes at school tea break (3 days in a row! due to classmate’s birthday), came home refuse lunch, 2-3pm scamper for food- junks from party packs from the birthday girl (lollipops, sweets, chocolate, mamee monster, jelly etc) as lunch time is over, then refuse dinner. Then, vomitted after dinner and during bedtime. Meal times is a constant battle.

Little did i know, these are the signs of hurt she is feeling inside.

Recently, I couldnt give her that attention she needed during lunch, as i only have 5 to a max of 10minutes to eat everyday. Or i will be late for my lunch call. My aim is only to push all the food down my throat without chocking myself and get out of the house as soon as possible.

I couldnt give her the attention she needed during dinner as the little sister needs to be fed. Since she is the big sister, she has been asked to eat on her own.

Today, at dinner, the mystery was solved, after i gave her the attention she wanted to have.

I let the little sister eat on her own, at the expense of messier floor and dining table, soup over poured onto the body etc food flying around every corner of the dining hall.

I gave my elder girl the undivided attention (at least 80% ok, the other 20% need to watch out my younger one and continue feeding her to ensure sufficient food enters her stomach) that she has been longing for.

As i look into her eyes, and stroked her head, i told her, i know what you need. I know, how you feel. I know, you want mummy. You want mummy’s attention.

There, with a pair of sad looking eyes, she looked at me, started to open up and told me, mummy, i want you to accompany me eat, watch me eat, be with me at my mealtimes. I want mummy to nap long long with me. I don’t want mummy to go to work. Mummy, dont go to work. Be with me.

A plea that sounds familiar?

Truth is, i was there all her three meals, but all in a haste. Every ticking second is a threat to my sanity to get things done and out on schedule on the dot. Running on every unforgiving seconds.

She can even tell me, yes mummy i know, i know you need to go to work, u need to earn money. Still with a sad disappointed look, i stroked her hair, and said yes dear, to put food on table, to let you go to school to play with your friends. You love going to school, right? With her eyes looking directly at mine, she obidently swallowed her porridge.

One after another.

With some fun antics in between, and funky requests and faces, she finishes her bowl of porridge without much fuss.

The little sister finishes just about the same time and off they go, happily with a contented heart.

Just probably, a messier table, floor and chair.
But, that doesnt matter.

The undivided attention, the loving tender strokes, the gentle way to get them eat their meals, and leaving the table happy and satisfies, are all that matters.

I know, one day, she will be grow, have her own friends, boyfriends, then family and doesnt need to depend on me anymore.

Thank you girl, for needing mama. As much as i need you. Love you girl.

Goh Sook Keen

MummyLove, Jen