I made spaghetti this night. Usually a winning meal with all the kids, but not this day and not this kid. I pleaded and raised my voice, I tried negotiating and threats, all to no avail. She turned her back to look out the window and so I closed the blinds. Even Baby ate more than she did. All she did was play with the noodles, but not one passed her lips.
Maisie the dog seemed to be telling her that she'd eat her spaghetti if she didn't want it.
I try to be reasonable, I know what foods she loves and what she doesn't care for. We tell all the kids that they are not allowed to say "eww" until they taste it first. If I make something they don't like, they have to eat at least 3 bites. If I know they like it, but won't eat, then they have to eat bites according to their ages-- Middle is 5, she has to eat 5 bites.
I'm aware that sometimes kids go through periods when they don't eat much. They'll eat when they are hungry. I try to have healthy snacks for in between meals and they are not allowed to eat 2 hours before a meal. We usually eat around 6-6:30, so no snacks after 4.
Today, we had cantaloupe for breakfast. Usually devoured by all the kids instantly. Middle sat there, pouting over her plate. I got busy, took the scraps out to the compost pile, checked on the chickens, came back in the house. Middle came to me with tears in her eyes. "I don't want cantaloupe, I want cereal". Fine, I put the cantaloupe in the fridge, gave her cereal. I'm picking my battles. I'm not going to force her to eat something when she is willing to eat something else. It's too early in the morning for a battle of the wills between Middle and I.