Mealtime misery

I've never been a big lunch fan. It falls in the middle of the day, invariably interrupting something else I'm doing, and I'm not a big fan of most of the traditional (and easy) lunch foods, like sandwiches and salads.

But I can't say I've ever dreaded lunch. Until having a kid. And now I dread lunch, and dinner and breakfast, too.

Is there such a thing as a pleasant meal with a toddler? If so, I've never known it. The best I can hope for is that Nora doesn't throw too much of her food, and I don't have to beg too constantly for her to eat, and that she doesn't break down into unspecified whining too many times in the course of one meal.

A more typical meal has her throwing her food multiple times (it doesn't seem to matter whether we react by taking her food away, putting her in time out, putting her stuffed animal "friends" in time out, leaving the table ourselves, or feigning indifference -- nothing has worked) and making tearful, whiny complaints about her bib that cannot be satisfactorily addressed by any action we have found. All of which would be kind of bearable if she were eating decently in between these problem behaviors. But mostly she just shoves her food around, only sticking a piece in her mouth if we beg or bargain.

Typical toddler stuff, I know. She'll outgrow it, yeah, yeah, I've heard. But it sucks now. And I go through it three miserable times a day. One day, a couple decades from now, I'm sure I'll look forward to our lunches, when the only trouble spot will be maybe a light political disagreement or perhaps some mild tardiness. But these days I'd rather take my lunches with the dog. Sure, he drools a lot, but I never have to beg that guy to eat.