The constant refrain of dinnertime as I was growing up was, "Eat your dinner, Sara. It's time to eat your dinner, Sara. Stop talking and eat your dinner, Sara."
I, on the other hand - both as a child and as an adult - am more of the "wolf my food down so I can get on with my life," type of eater. So it is IMMENSELY annoying that my daughter seems to have inherited her Auntie Sara's attitude towards mealtime.
Gwen is not a picky eater and never has been, but despite this, mealtime is a chore and not usually a pleasant one. I've always taken the attitude that it is the parent's job to provide the child with a healthy variety of foods, and the child's job to determine what and how much to eat: I never want to battle with Gwen over eating "just one more bite", or bribe her with one food to finish eating another. What she eats is up to her, but OH MY LANDS could you PLEASE try doing it in less than forty minutes?
This is the conversation you will hear around our dinner table, approximately 243 times a night:
Gwen: (chattering endlessly, playing with her food, getting off her chair)
Mama: Gwen, are you all done your dinner?
Mama: Then sit down and keep eating, please.
Gwen: (continues to not eat)
I have actually started to pick up food from her plate and feed it to her as an effort to GET. ON. WITH. IT. Weirdly, she accepts this more readily now than she did a year ago, when it was all about eating independently. Now she *can* eat independently, but she prefers not to. Maybe she's just figured out that if Mama feeds her, she can eat twice as fast and still have lots of time to talk our ears off. Plus, her hands are still free for exploring the fascinating textures of rice and vegetables.
Anyone else have this problem? A few times, I have done the countdown: In three minutes, dinner will be over. In two minutes, dinner will be over. In one minute, dinner will be over. She has never melted down or otherwise indicated that she didn't get enough to eat. But she's still a skinny little thing and I hate to think of her going to bed hungry just because she's so unfocussed and I'm so impatient. Any other ideas how to deal with it?