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Discussion in 'Toddlers' started by Halosandwings, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. Halosandwings

    Halosandwings Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi!! I have 2 ½-year-old boy and I need some suggestions. A little background on him - He is a small child, even compared to Indian children. He has fallen off of growth curve a long time back and has slightly delayed development. He is catching up but not at his peers level yet. We have gone through a round of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietary evaluation and hearing evaluation when he was 14-month-old. He was losing weight at that time instead of gaining. We stopped after a couple of months. He was discharged from some of the services by his therapists. Couple of months later his daycare asked us to send him for therapy but we chose to let him grow at his own pace and he has been getting better. But as I mentioned he is still delayed compared to his age children.

    If I have to describe him in 2 words, he is anxious and strong willed. My current problem is his eating habits. He was never a good eater. He does not like bananas, idlis, rice or any Indian food. His nanny is Mexican and he used to eat Mexican food like fideo etc. He also used to eat fruits like apples, melons etc. I used to steam vegetables like carrots, peas, green beans which he used to eat. I thought he would eat better eventually. In the last 2 months or so he stopped eating fruits, vegetables, Mexican food. Currently he is only eating cheese, French fries and chocolates. As he is a very anxious child and refuses to try new food even if we are eating and telling him its yummy. He is not at all adventurous. As he is a strong-willed child, we cannot make him do things that he is not interested in. I will give you an example to paint the picture better. He always refused milk. We gave him plain milk, milk with sugar, milk with honey, milk with chocolate syrup, milk shake made with fruits and sugar multiple times. He refused to drink every single time. Recently, my husband gave him milk in his sippy cup saying its water. My son had a little and asked for new water. His father poured the milk out and put water in it without washing. He refused to drink and said he wanted new water. Again husband poured it out and gave him water without washing. He tasted and wanted new water. The third time, husband washed the cup and gave him water and he ended up drinking it.

    In general, he is not very cooperative with other activities like grooming etc. For example - He refuses to brush his teeth. I brush my teeth with him to encourage. I have a brushing song. I changed his toothbrush to the one with lights. I gave a brush in his hand and used another brush to brush his teeth to confuse him on what I was going to do. All these things have a temporary success and currently he refuses to brush and my finger has become his brush. His nanny also tells me that he refuses to brush for her. This behavior extends to almost all activities and I hope people get the picture.

    I pick my battles with him. He can pick up his mismatched clothes. He does not want to wear PJs to bed and I am okay with it. If he does not want to wear his diaper that’s okay with me. I let him pee in is pants. I try not to be overindulgent either. For eg A couple of days, he got up in the middle of the night wanted the lights to be turned on and started to throw a tantrum to go to the living room etc. He still sleeps with us. I was firm and refused to turn on the lights. The tantrum went for 30 mins or so before he calmed down and went to sleep. I will brush his teeth and give him bath what ever he might do. We still cut his nails when he is napping as he gets anxious. Of course, I have shown him how I cut my nails multiple times but he is still anxious. I am trying my best not to be too harsh or not to be too indulgent.


    I need suggestions on


    1. How to make him interested in new foods?


    2. Any suggestions or books or online resources on handling his behavior?


    I discussed with daycare people and they have recommended for family therapy. I hope it will materialize in a couple of weeks. I am not sure how helpful it would be but I gotta try it before I make up my mind. Another thing is if I let him sleep hungry, he will wake up in the middle of the night and he would be hungry, cranky and throwing a fit. I don’t like it as I am a working woman and need to go to work in the morning.


    I will try my best to answer if anyone have any questions. I may not answer right away because of time constrains.
     
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  2. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    What's helped me is to have an arsenal of different foods for my toddler to try is "crowd sourcing" food ideas from an FB group called "Traditional weaning for Indian mothers" where mom's post a LOT of ideas of new and creative foods to cater to a toddlers' widely varying and frequently changing palate.

    Over time, I have realized my kid doesn't like wet foods. So while I'll see the friend's kid lap up dal rice and ghee as their comfort food every other day, mine hasn't touched this but once. Mine won't try "new foods" suddenly - but if I keep him up on the counter and regale with stories of the ladies-finger and we chop it up together and toss it into the pan - then kid will have chapati with the curry. I'll high-five myself and will try the same strategy 4 days later and it wont' work and we'll have a vegetable-free diet for days at a stretch.
    I love chole and make it once in couple of weeks and the kid never ever accepts to have a single chole piece. But we go to an Indian buffet the other day and kid has an entire bowl of pretty spicy chole - all by itself (no roti and no rice to tone it down)!!
    So surprisingly - my kid is more ready to try new foods at a "restaurant" setting than at home.

    Also, for some of the issues you have mentioned. We have a pretty easy-maintenance child I'd say (around the same age as yours) but have faced every event you've mentioned in a multitude of forms. They all don't happen together all the time - so it's been interesting/testing but not tough. I completely understand if I had to face of all this all the time then it would be hard.

    1. no-diapers-wailing, i-want-diapers-now-wailing, no-diaper-change-wailing, no-clothes requests happen and keep changing all the time.

    2. night-waking: we wake up 1 to 3 times a night depending how the stars are aligned each night. Sometimes it is to tell me that I shouldn't be 4 feet away from the bed on my laptop and most times it is to nurse.

    3. nail-cutting: we've tried it all too - awake time, sleeping, car, allowing kid to cut mine, showed scratches and blood on face, etc. The strategies and stories need to change every few weeks.

    4. brushing: singing, forcing, two step stools to reach the sink/mirror, scary stories of what happens to kids who don't brush, charts of good habits, coloring pictures of brushes and toothpaste, you-brush-me-i-brush-you -all work sometimes and then stop. Last week's story. Kid got a special treat after dinner (usually we try to avoid treats after dinner) but the condition was to brush. After eating the treat, kid confidently announces I won't be brushing tonight. And then I said: If you don't keep your word, I won't give you a treat tomorrow. Kid answers that's ok Amma, I don't want a treat tomorrow. I just wanted one today and looks me in the eye. :-D

    Regarding milk: I've read and considered it too. Some kids just don't like animal milk. I know three people in my family who were forced to drink cow's milk when young (and hated it) and were so relieved as adults to avoid milk and milk products. ((My personal hypothesis is that it could be because these young kids could somehow tell that they are lactose intolerant?))
    Could you try home-made almond or cashew milk if you are looking for nutritious beverage for your child? Store bought is extremely watered down and isn't good for young kids *in my opinion* - ok as a treat but not as a reliable nutritional source.
     
  3. SinghManisha

    SinghManisha Platinum IL'ite

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    Have you tried Pediasure ? Check with the pediatrician before you start though.
    Have you consulted a pediatric G.I about the lack of appetite ?
     
  4. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    Halos,
    I had identical problem with child 1. The low weight gain in first year, followed by extremely picky and limited food eating. Reading your post brought back all the memories and my desperation though it was 2 decades ago.
    Looking back what worked was - Unlike you I didn’t have a nanny so at age 2 or thereabouts I put him in a daycare for a few hours a day so he would be socialized and I could regain my sanity. It was a smallish family run daycare with around 8 kids and 3 caretakers. Best decision of my life.
    Initially I would pack his food since he was so picky eater. But He slowly started eating their food (freshly made, hot ) in preference to what I provided and then completely switched over to her food. She finally told me to stop as my food is getting wasted.

    In retrospect the experience of getting tired out with all the daycare activities, and then sitting with other kids with food in front and no one specific targeting him or urging food on him was what helped him decide to eat. He began to eat and then to decide what he liked and didn’t and to proclaim it quite loudly. In this too being around other little people helped or taught him I think. This continued for a year or so.

    Then child 2 was on its way and I was bed rest and all the hooha associated with that so no one again to go behind him and insist etc. these two events helped us turn the corner. But we never had low weight except during year one.

    So to summarize, what I see is common in the two situations is an only child surrounded by mainly adults who are concerned about his eating. I feel however slight and suppressed that mealtime tension communicates itself to the child who sense it and rebel.
    What my son got in the daycare was company of his peers, none of whom cared whether he ate or not and busy eating relishing the food or playing. Kids who are 2+ need other little people, maybe little older, to model after, consciously or unconsciously whether it is behavior or meals or eating or whatever. Slowly my son began to imitate them, started trying the food out of curiosity and picked up.
    Process to normalcy took a good six months though. So patience is key.

    I suggest you create similar environment keep the food available but neither appreciate nor scold, don’t even notice when he eats. Just ask if he is done and put away the food without comment. Focus on activity and tiring him out physically and mentally. Automatically the appetite will return. And if you can arrange for a couple of kids to have snack or lunch with him weekly or more so he spends eating time with peers who are good eaters the better.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
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  5. Laks09

    Laks09 Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    @Halosandwings - The developmental delays and the other things you've mentioned all put together seems to point to a sensory issue. When sensory issues are present is when certain textures of foods, teeth brushing, nail cutting, bathing, not wearing certain clothes etc seem to crop up all at once. Eating issues alone can be chalked to regular toddler development. All of this clubbed together is definitely sounding like he needs to be back in a very experienced OT therapist’s setup. I never did OT with my son even though he has a lot of sensory issues and also obsessions with foods. I worked with his behavioral therapists who helped with it.

    I wish I had done OT back then though. It would have alleviated a lot of tears for both of us. At one point in time we were reduced to just two foods - a particular brand of pasta&sauce and one particular brand of Mac n cheese. Nothing else. We had to go for a few sessions of feeding therapy with his BCBA but within a few weeks he started eating most of our foods. Even now rice and curry etc is a big sensory issue but other things are ok. I can understand your child’s anxiety. My kid’s was over the roof too to eat new foods. Don’t worry, it gets better. Try positive reinforcement. I’d he takes a bite give him his preferred good. Slowly increase it to two bites and then three etc. A good OT will be able to help with all the underlying issues(apparently they even have issues with the aroma of certain types of dishes)

    I think you are doing the right thing by letting him pick his clothes. He might be comfortable only with certain kinds of clothes. Try to look at what kind he seems to prefer and buy those types alone for him. Same with socks/shoes etc. It’s best to trim nails in his sleep. I wish I could do that now. For teeth brushing, finger brush for now if the sensation is so bothersome. Try without toothpaste. Try the electric cartoon character brush. We had great success with the talking toothbrush. Even now, mine can’t brush with a regular brush. His electric brush and “bubble gum flavored” tooth paste are a must. If the flavor changes he won’t brush. Even the smell of the other paste puts him off.

    Bath time got better when I let him play in the tub with tub markers. It also got easier to wash his hair using this hair wash shield. Try playing with the water temperature too.

    He might be hating the sensation of having the diaper on. Try the cloth varieties and see if that’s better for him. Or try the pull ups. Mine hated the diaper but pull up was ok. I quickly potty trained because he wanted to get it off most of the time.

    Also, lately I have been trying the various shapes and ideas from bento box lunches groups on FB and instagram. My son eats well now but is thrilled by the heart shaped carrots and star shaped sandwich etc. Check if any of those ideas will work for your son. I cut the shape using vegetable cutters but you can do the same with cookie cutters. Pooris in various shapes is my signature dish. My son ate it only because of the shape.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
     
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  6. Halosandwings

    Halosandwings Bronze IL'ite

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    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and tips. I would take a look into the FB group. My LO started eat better the very day I posted here. He ate some fideos that day and had some tamale the next day. We live in very Hispanic area. He started to eat veggies.. but not interested in fruits yet.. I agree with buffet.. We take our boy to a Chinese restaurant every weekend.. He absolutely loves to eat there.. I really appreciate your comments regarding milk. In my non virtual world, some moms told me that they made the dad hold the child and poured milk into the baby's mouth until the child started to accept it.. Such encounters made me feel like I was not brave enough to be a mom.. I got some oat milk from the store. Let's see how it goes.. Nanny told me that he is more cooperative with brushing with her. He usually becomes cooperative with her before becoming cooperative with me.. Hopefully he will do better with me soon..
     
  7. Halosandwings

    Halosandwings Bronze IL'ite

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    The dietitian suggested pediasure.. I personally try not to eat too much processed food. I don't restrict him as much as I restrict myself.. He eats cookies, fruitloops etc.. I prefer that he eats more of wholesome food with nutritive values like fruits, eggs, veggies etc..
     
  8. Halosandwings

    Halosandwings Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi.. Thanks for stopping by... 2 decades is such a long time.. Your little guy must be a fine young man now.. I do send my LO to daycare for 2 hours. I am not comfortable extending his hours at this time.. Mainly, he does not drink water for them.. I have seen his teachers offer water and he does not drink. we live in southwest where it gets really hot...the first thing he wants as soon as he gets in the car is water.. I have noticed that this week he did not ask for water. may be in a couple of months things will be different.. I do think having another child is good for his and my sanity.. A lot of moms tell me that second child easily picks up things from the first one and are usually not difficult to raise as the first born.. My son is extremely possessive of me. If he is in my arms and my husband puts hand on me, he pushes his dad's hand away.. It will be a very interesting experience when he will have a sibling :laughing:
     
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  9. Halosandwings

    Halosandwings Bronze IL'ite

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    Thanks for stopping by.. I never looked at this as a sensory issue.. This gives me a different perspective.. I will look into the products you mentioned here.. I had a meeting with therapy people earlier this week. In 2 weeks time they will be coming for evaluation.. Let's see how it goes... I have tried sandwich cutters and veggie cutters.. no luck... one thing with my LO is he does not say thing in the daycare when they change his diapers.. Seen with my own eyes..Nanny also never reported a problem... May be pull ups are better.. Let me try...He has real bad eczema.. I am very careful with picking up his clothes.. I buy only natural fabric.. I will try to be more mindful and see how things will go... I bought finger brush last week.. the results were disappointing for me.. Nanny said he has been more cooperative with her with brushing.. I hope it will get better soon..
     
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  10. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    That’s good. He’s using that entire time to socialize and learn hence not paying attention to things like thirst till he returns to you.
    I had a similar problem. I took mine to the store and let him pick out a sippy cup he really likes! Started using that at home a lot. And I’d fill it up and send it with him. He would drink from that. Stopping to ask an adult for water somehow seems harder for them to do than picking up their own sippy cup nearby while playing, I don’t know why!

    Well in the beginning it’s a looot of work but yeah kids learn faster from peers than adults. You will see this with #1 in daycare as well. It was worth it to me cos I had a lot of siblings and my childhood seemed unimaginable without them. But in the short term, I did lose my mind...just a little! But it looks like you already have a great nanny in place so go for it!
     

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