Ivey has decided she hates to eat dinner. It doesn't really matter what it is. Jordan makes various kid-friendly, reasonable dinners, and the only ones she'll consistently eat a halfway decent amount of are things like macaroni and cheese. Obviously we can't have that every night! Some nights, like tonight, we have to beg her to take every bite. And then beg her to chew and swallow. It's exhausting.
I don't believe in forcing a kid to be a "plate cleaner." I don't think children should be forced to eat foods they hate, and I'd be completely willing to make a sandwich for her on nights when we're having something she truly dislikes. But it's almost every night, and there are already plenty of foods Jordan and I like but don't even bother to make because they aren't kid-friendly. We are being reasonable!
I am also not above saying "fine, go on to bed then" if she refuses to eat. Sometimes kids just aren't that hungry, for whatever reason. But here is the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad part: If Ivey goes to bed without eating enough, she'll wake up at 4 am vomiting. I don't have to tell you how miserable that is. Ivey suffers, obviously. We have to leap out of bed, take care of her, change her clothes, move Suzi to another bed, change the sheets, and wash any stuffed animals or other casualties. It's an instant Mount Washmore. We all start our day tired and out of sorts, and we have to be careful what we feed Ivey for a few hours or the whole thing will happen again.
I worry about her teeth. It's not good to so frequently expose them to stomach acid this way. However, if we cave and give her candy bars for dinner every other night in a desperate bid to get calories into her, we are compromising her dental health and general health!
It's a really crappy situation, and we are working to find the answer(s). I think the most likely cause is hypoglycemia, which she could get from either side of the family. I used to wake up sick so often at slumber parties and overnight trips that for a while, my mom picked me up from events before bedtime. I needed late night snacks so I wouldn't wake up nauseous with low blood sugar. We are also trying to give her a longer stretch of time between dinner and bedtime, in case it's a digestion issue. This is not easy to do, because it takes her 45 minutes to eat five bites of food. Finally, I read online that reflux sometimes presents in a similar way, so we are propping her pillow up a bit to help with that.
Tonight after dinner--she ate maybe five bites of shrimp and rice--I gave her yogurt for dessert. I'm hoping this easily digested, easily absorbed food with protein will get her through the night. And I'm also praying this is just a temporary phase she's going through and not a serious problem!