Will is going through the picky toddler stage where he will eat NOTHING all day and then consume the amount of a teenaged boy in one meal the next day. Then, he will eat nothing again for a few meals. Since he is by no means underweight and I know from fellow moms that this is not unusual, I don't let it stress me too much. I offer him meals and snacks often, and if he tells me that he is hungry, I offer him healthy things. I figure it's up to him to do what he would like based on his needs.
The only problem is that, occasionally, his hunger will strike at bed or naptime. For example, this afternoon he threw his lunch to the ground. I made him help me pick it up and it was then time for a nap. He settled in easily (as usual), but fifteen minutes later, he started screaming (not usual). I went in to make sure he was okay and was welcomed by a frantic, "Eat! Eat!" This is what he says when he is hungry. I tried to soothe him, but he just got more upset and frantic. So, I took him downstairs, quickly fed him a yogurt and two graham crackers, which he gobbled up. Then he went back upstairs and took a two and a half hour nap without a squeak of protest. So, I do think he was genuinely hungry. He has done this on a couple of other occasions and responded similarly (eats with gusto and then goes to bed without protest and sleeps like a champ).
I was telling a mom friend about this, and she cautioned me against allowing him the snack, because she has found that is one of her two kids' prime ways of avoiding bedtime or going back to bed and also promotes not eating at meal times.
I have mixed feelings about this. I know when he is older, I can try to reason with him at mealtimes that he is going to be hungry later if he doesn't eat, but I just don't think he has the ability to think like that right now. And I can't, in all good conscience, let him cry it out when he is hungry. What would you do/do you do?