So the other night we actually tried to feed Jena what we were having for dinner. Oh the horrows, I KNOW. But I only had enough peanut butter to make Grant a sandwich, and I had no nuggets or eggs or anything else I thought there was a chance of her eating. So we made her a plate of roast beef and carrots. She immediately told me ‘no want it’ and pushed it away. Daddy starts to war with her over it when I have a light bulb moment.

She’s gotten better about trying just one bite, if she knows that’s really all she has to do. So I tell her she just has to try a bite and then she can be done. So she gingerly picks up a tiny piece and puts it in her mouth. I burst into applause. Her little face is a mask of shock. She can’t figure out what happened. Why is mommy clapping and cheering like an idiot? Is that for me? Did I do something?

So she picks up another bite, a little bigger this time, she’s eyeing me from across the table as she slowly moves the food toward her open mouth. Is this what I did? Will this make her clap? I can see her curious expression as she tries again. As soon as it’s in her mouth I start clapping again. Neil’s caught on by this time and he starts in too. Now she gets it and her face bursts into a huge grin. Her fingers fly down to her plate and grab another bite, into the mouth it goes and we all clap and cheer. Even Grant is into it now. Go Jena! Yay for Jena eating her food mommy! Yay for Jena!

She proceeds to eat every bite of meat on her entire plate, I’ve never seen her do that before. It was incredible.

So tonight, we’re eating dinner at my parents. She’s pulling her usual ‘no want it’ for everything in front of her. We know she’s hungry, just not for the food she’s been given. So we try applause again. She knows what’s going on this time, and how to get more. She looks around to make sure we’re all looking at her and takes a huge bite and puts it in her mouth. We all clap and cheer. Next bite, we all clap and cheer. Next bite, we all…well maybe not all of us clap and cheer, and she notices. Mid chew we hear ‘clap papa!’ so he claps and she finishes. Next bite we ALL clap and she closes her eyes clenches her little fits and grins ear to ear in victory.

I think we may have created a monster, but at least this monster eats her dinner.