Some days I think I only survive because I know nap time or bed time is coming soon. My son's temperament changes at the drop of hat lately. I've been chalking up the moodiness to teething, the battle that never ends. I know that this will eventually pass, but then what? Terrible twos?

I've noticed myself getting increasingly frustrated and fed up with meal times. I know that I haven't been sleeping enough by choice and this is really been affecting my patience level. Strike one for Mom right there. Lucas came out of a 6-week long phase of refusing almost all finger foods and was back to pureed meals. Awhile ago he came out of that (literally, one day to the next everything changes!) and he had a few good weeks, now we're back to extreme picky eating. I've been reading endlessly about the experiences of other mothers of children this age and realize I am far, far from alone on this topic.

Lucas is refusing to being spoon fed which cuts out his super healthy yogurt and fruit mixes I make him for lunch most days. That also means forgetting about ground up adult dinners from the food mill. You'd be surprised how few choices there are when it comes to soft finger foods and how quickly they become tiresome for a baby. It's maddening because Lucas went from packing on pounds to dropping into the 7 percentile for his age. He has only gained ONE POUND IN FOUR MONTHS!!!!!!

It's disheartening to spend hours a day preparing the healthiest food I can come up with that include things he likes, attempting to feed him and letting him feed himself and then the slimy aftermath of the clean up process. I've taken to duct taping his bowls to the tray and allowing him to at least try spoon feeding himself. There is food in his hair, on his face, in his ears, under his bib, in his lap, his tray becomes an artist's palette of color, the booster seat/highchair is covered and the floor and anything nearby is splattered with whatever he's (not) eating.

Lucas will eat some bread, crackers, bites of a whole banana, and endless amounts of all kinds of cheese willingly, but my regular standbys of scrambled eggs and diced fruits are no longer on his choice of menu. If he were still gaining weight, I wouldn't be concerned, but he's not. People are starting to comment that he's small for his age. I'm just about at my wit's end and ready to try new things.

Some of the suggestions I've read online are:

-Ignore him while he eats. I do this sometimes anyways. I play darts, clean the kitchen or do something where I can still see him.

-Offer only one food. This goes against everything I know about a balanced diet, but at this point, I have to try everything possible that might have worked for someone else.

-Cut back on fluids before meals. Because Lucas is still on-demand breastfed and refuses cow's milk, he often drinks quite a bit of water from his sippy cup.

-Try Pediasure or some other baby shake. I am very anti-fake food and formula types of stuff, but again, desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.

-Let the baby graze on food all day. Nice in theory and I do this at times, but a lot of foods don't have a long life-span unrefrigerated or covered. Bread gets hard, eggs and dairy spoil. And we have dogs who are always on the lookout for scraps of food - this is probably the hardest part of letting him graze.

Normally we have most meals together, but this seems to make him less interested in eating as of late. A couple of times I have set his booster chair and tray down in front of the TV with cartoons and he has happily eaten anything offered to him. I hate doing it, I think it forms a bad habit of mindless eating that could possibly lead to obesity later in life, but I have to do what works right now.

I keep reminding myself that this will pass. I was a horribly picky eater until I was in my teenage years and I am healthy and turned out just fine. What I need to work on just as much as different methods of feeding Lucas is my ATTITUDE. If I'm short with Lucas, appear frustrated and irritated, I know I'm not making it easier or enjoyable for him and therefore shooting myself in my own foot. As I mentioned earlier my lack of sleep has really been affecting my mood and attitude for the worse, so I need to gain a few extra points in the self discipline section and get some more shut eye.

Deep breath. I know I'm not the only mother who has faced the "My child won't eat," battle.

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