Lies I Tell My Daughter

If You Eat Shrimp, You'll Become A Better Swimmer

I’m not one of those moms that make a big deal out of my kid eating, I just want my daughter to eat. ANYTHING. AT ALL. She goes on these non-eating binges where she just eats nothing for weeks at a time. I’ve taken her to the doctor, who continues to tell me that she’s in the 40th percentile for weight and that she’s fine and she’ll eat if she’s hungry. She’s just “small boned”. But her rib bones stick out sometimes and it makes me want to cry. She just doesn’t get hungry.  Ever.

She’s almost 5 years old, which makes it almost two thousand-something days of her not being hungry. She’s never once  turned to me and said “I’m hungry” or  “Could we have hamburgers?”  She seems to live entirely on a diet of candy and milk at night.  Anyone who doesn’t have kids just thinks, “Hey, don’t worry, she’ll eat when she’s hungry,” but the truth is if she doesn’t eat during the day she becomes  totally moody and crazy and then we’re stuck with that screaming kid in the line at the Grove because she just WON’T EAT ANYTHING.  So I  have begun to make up these crazy lies to get her to eat:

1. Your best friend Ever (who’s in a foreign country right now) is racing you as we speak on who’s going to finish dinner faster… Oh, you better hurry, it’s close! (This works for, like, 3 bites.)

2. Your little sister needs to learn how to eat properly and she can’t do that unless you show her. (This works for zero bites.)

3. If you don’t eat, your bones will get weak and break. (This leads to a longer conversation about what bones are made of and I don’t really know the answer and either way, as long as we’re talking about it she’s not eating, so this doesn’t work.)

4. If you eat shrimp you will become a better swimmer. (Surprisingly effective!)

5. If you eat dinner, we can enter the famous dinner-eating competition that Cinderella is hosting. (I’m starting to think she’s onto me, here…)

It’s tough having kids. And even harder to get them to do things you want them to. I wish Disneyland had a drive thru!

  • Jodi Styner

    I had a friend in high school who said he had never felt hungry in his life. He did have some kind of medical condition where his brain and stomach weren’t communicating properly, but I wonder how they could even test for that. He was a competitive athlete, so he needed to eat a lot, but he had to set an actual schedule to remind himself to eat.

  • Amanda Weigold

    Oh, this IS my daughter! She’s almost three, and her diet consists of peanut butter and jelly (cut into bite size squares), mandarin oranges, frozen pancakes, and the occasional bowl of easy mac. Most days she won’t even try anything else, let alone eat what I’m eating. She’s never hungry either… and meal time is filled with bribery – “take one more bite of that, and you can have a hershey kiss, I promise” I too, feel guilty when her ribs poke out, but she’s in the 80th percentile for her weight, and the mid 90’s for her height. You’d never know what a hard time it is feeding her… And if one more person tells me “she’ll eat when she’s hungry, I think I might fight them. :)

  • Kelly Gehman

    I’ve tried several of those to get my kids to eat too. My son is about to turn 5 and is really bony and picky about everything edible, he won’t even taste his dinner most days, I try to get him to show his little sister how to eat, try to race him, tell him what will happen to his body if he eats or doesn’t eat, offer a surprise activity after dinner, I try setting a timer…even the choice of licking, or kissing his food backfires. If you find a solution let us know!

  • Lynda Obst

    Did you ever try bribing her with a cupcake after she eats something substantial?
    ok, only kidding.
    mother in law.

  • Rebecca Lynn

    My bestie’s four-year-old HAS to win at everything—getting to the front door, buckling in, putting on clothes/socks/shoes—so I’ve used this to my advantage. He does eat, but it takes him fooorrreeeeevvvveerrr, so I just tell him I am or someone else with us is about to beat him. (works for about two bites, but can be repeated as necessary).

  • Iris Casarez

    thats my son! His only 3 but has his mind set on only eating fried chicken (from churchs) though he can clean the meat off to the bone. and wenie and egg…literally thats all..ive gone to his pediatrician and his gastrointestinal dr (his got short bowel syndrome), and a nutrionist, they all say hes fine considering his condition and that its a phase. we try everything but nothings working…and he still doesnt understand bribery,so were just trying to live thru it.

  • Bethany Pettifor

    I was exactly like that when I was little, my mum took me to the doctor and they told her that very young children just don’t have the mentality to starve themselves, but obviously my mum was really worried anyway because I just wouldn’t eat at all. So she started to pretend that she was eating dinner, but she was tired so she was going to sleep (while keeping the food on her fork) and told me that under no circumstances could I eat any of her dinner. Then as she pretended to sleep I would eat the dinner off her fork because I was being naughty. Then she would wake up and ask my granddad where the food had gone and blame it all on him. This is an incredibly long winded account, but the point is it was hugely amusing to me as it became a game.

    I’m sure this is probably not what doctors recommend, but it worked for my mum so maybe give it a shot? I hope this helps a bit :)

  • Jordyn Mattei Pusey

    I tell my 3 year old daughter that ‘food x’ makes her eyes sparkle, her cheeks rosey, hair shiny and/or that if she does not eat it she will stay small forever. And it usually works. haha.. lies.

  • Megan Hensley

    My niece was very much like this! We used to tell her that she was a lion and her bites of food were different people in her life. She thought it was hilarious to “eat daddy.”

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