I can see the truth behind the stereotype of the worrying mom/grandmother force-feeding the young people around them (“Eat, eat. You’re skin and bones!”). The other parents out there will back me up on this: properly feeding a little human being is hard work. You have limited information from them about the state of their hunger, but that’s the easy part. The real challenge is dealing with an interlude of low appetite.
We all have a wide range of hungryness (how hungry we are at any given moment). Some days, I am the hungriest boy on earth, and woe betide the haunch of beef that lingers in front of my voracious gaze. But there are a few, infrequent days where my normal bowl of cereal is too much for me, and I don’t get hungry again until mid-afternoon. We don’t notice our own swings in appetite: we either shovel more in or eat a late meal. But when the diminished appetite belongs to the tiny life form you are responsible for keeping alive and healthy, it can turn you into a nervous wreck.
First you trot out the terrifying list of illnesses that can affect hunger. Then you scrabble around to remember the eating habits from the last few days, cursing your lack of attention. It’s very important at this point that you keep losing your mind and forget the wisdom from your peers and your doctor when they tell you that this is normal. Now you are in the right frame of mind to aggressively offer a buffet of food options.
When you regain your sanity, you remember that, two days ago, the little dude ate cereal, an orchard of apples, a hunk of roast pork, 3 pieces of bread, yogurt, cheese, and STILL ate 3 cookies for a bedtime snack. Don’t worry about one meal as long as they eat well enough over the span of a week.
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This is the exact issue I’m having with both my monsters. It’s even more disconcerting when your toddler starts doing this for the first time.