Friday, December 30, 2011

east coast vs. west coast?

Oddly (sadly?) B.'s food issues don't seem at all out of place here in NY. I've been observing my nephews and other young cousins and the majority of their diet seems to be carbs (bagels, pizza, fries, pasta) and chicken fingers. It's winter, so there's way less fruit consumption since the stuff at the store doesn't look very fresh but nobody seems to be eating vegetables--not even the wintery root kind that are in season here. And none of the grownups seem all that phased by it.
(One grown-up cousin says she has so many other things to worry about, she doesn't want to make food an issue as well. And my SIL says she occasionally won't let the kids leave the table without having a carrot stick or broccoli but veggies aren't part of their daily menu...and her boys are 8 and 10 years old. Shoot me if we're still having issues at that age!)
Living in Cali where everyone has access to awesome produce 365 days a year either at the local store, the neighborhood farmer's market or their weekly CSA delivery box of veggies seems to produce kids who are way more inclined to eat healthy food. I guess that's sort of a "Duh!" observation but it's just so weird to go from a culture where B. is the freakishly difficult kid at the dinner table to being just one of the badly-fed gang.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

home alone part deux: stuck in new york

B. developed an ear infection while we were on vacation in New York. So now we have to stay at the in-laws until he gets better/finishes taking his antibiotics while DH goes home to work. (M&M bribery has become an essential since he needs to take amoxicillin three times a day. Oh and I learned that B. will actually try new food if offered by another small cousin. Not that he ate the chicken finger but it was the first new non-snack food he's tried in months.)
Of course the plane trip here was fantastic. B. slept 3.5 hours on the plane, or enough time for me to watch Crazy, Sexy, Love (shown free on Xmas day!) and part of a Real Housewives of Atlanta marathon. And I got a free Bloody couldn't get much better. But that was when I had backup. Flying home solo with a kid is no fun, especially since ordering drinks just gets you the stink eye. But really, who needs a cocktail more than a single mom?

Friday, December 23, 2011

happy hannukah

Celebrating Hannukah and Christmas (We can and do! Thanks Jen ; D) has its pros and cons. Monday night I was up till the wee hours of the morning getting B.'s Thomas the Train table ready for the first night of Hannukah and then I realized I was going to have to do the same thing all over again on Christmas Eve.
But on the plus side, I am resource central for anyone who's still Christmas shopping (more helpful when the two holidays don't actually overlap) if they want to know what worked and what didn't for Hannukah.
So far this year the train table is a thumbs up. It's expensive and a pain in the ass to assemble but don't go generic, the Thomas equipment is really well made and will last forever.
Feed the Bunny and Mr. Potato Head have been epic. Playfoam's been sort of bust. I think it's too sophisticated a concept for a 32-month-old or it's for the type of toddler that really likes to freestyle sculpt.
And for anyone whose kids are a year younger, we're still playing with last year's Melissa & Doug hide and seek board.
Happy Holidays!

it's not me, it's you!

There are all sorts of things kids do that make you feel like a crazy person. One day they love something, the next day they look at you like, 'How dare you suggest I read this/wear this/eat this?!' So I was scrolling through a bunch of old pics today and came across these... My kid ate bananas, mango fruit pouches and peach yogurt. Sigh. But what am I going to do? Shove them in his face and say, 'Remember?!'

Sunday, December 18, 2011

this week's toddler menu - day 7

Every time I read a picky eater blog post on sites like Babble or Parenting, they say 'your child is probably eating better than you realize.' (That or they recommend ridiculous recipes that B. would never eat.) So I'm gonna keep track this week to see where we stand...with just one disclaimer: It is almost Hannukah and Christmas so there's gonna be a disproportionate amount of chocolate consumed in addition to the Nutella variety.

Breakfast: An entire bagel and cream cheese
Lunch: Nutella on two slices of whole wheat bread
Dinner: Pasta tossed with butter and a beaten egg, plus 2 mini cupcakes @ holiday party

Breakfast: Nutella on two slices of whole wheat bread
Lunch: Quesedilla with pinto beans and 7 sweet potato french fries and a chocolate coin
Dinner: More Nutella since I was on the phone and B. conned daddy into giving him a chocolate sandwich even though we have a strict 1-a-day rule. And another chocolate coin. Epic nutritional fail of an evening.

Breakfast: 1/2 Nutella sandwich. The appetite is slowing down.
Lunch: Nothing
Snack: A handful of cheese crackers at school.
Dinner: Half a quesedilla with pinto beans and 1/3 avocado. A bribe before he can have another chocolate coin.
*Another disclaimer. I am not some weird carb pusher despite what this would indicate. We offer him scrambled eggs, bananas, grapes and carrot sticks (among other things) everyday. He just won't eat anything but carbs.

Breakfast: Nothing
Lunch: Bowl of white rice at school
Snack: Bowl of mac and cheese with cauliflower puree
Dinner: 1/2 Nutella sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie

Breakfast: 1 bite of pancake
Lunch: 1 bite of pizza
Snack: 1/2 Nutella sandwich
Dinner: Small bowl plain noodles at 8:30p.m. Even if he is stalling I don't want him going to bed hungry.

Breakfast: Bowl of Annie's cheese rabbit crackers
Lunch: Nothing
Dinner: 2 small chocolate coins
*Before somebody calls child services on us for starving this kid, he does drink about 20 ozs of milk a day, along with water. No juice, of course, because that might contain...FRUIT!

Breakfast: Half a waffle
Lunch: A handful of cheese bunny crackers
Dinner: 2 bites of quesedilla with pinto beans & avocado and 1 chocolate coin

Looking back at this week, I'd say the tiny amounts of veggies and beans I manage to work in to his food don't make up for his carb & chocolate diet. I already knew this but it helped to write it all down and have it staring me in the face.

Friday, December 16, 2011

everyone knows this, right?!

So I was explaining to a friend who doesn't have kids how we made cookies for B.'s classmates Tuesday night. (He wanted to buy presents for everybody but luckily settled for making them cookies.) And of course I actually decorated the ones for school consumption while B.'s cookies were eaten at home by his loving parents. She didn't understand why...which just seems like a PSA waiting to happen. Nobody actually eats what a 2-year-old makes. That's just gross. Their hands are germ-ier than a truck-stop bathroom. I just assumed everyone knew this which is why I hand things out with a disclaimer that B. didn't actually touch the school's cookies. Not only am I saving the childless people from eating boogies by doing so but I'm also keeping the teacher from dumping the baked goods in the garbage. Honest, it happens, just check out the great comments discussion on this Motherlode blog post on what to get your teacher for the holidays. Hint: it's not baked goods made by your child!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

hunger has nothing to do with it

Saturday night B. sat up in bed at 9:30p.m., said he was hungry and asked for a fluffernutter sandwich and a chocolate sandwich and ate both. Finally, I thought the streak had been broken. But it seems like it was just a fluke. He's back to little or no breakfast. Rice or plain noodles for lunch and chocolate bread if we can convince him to sit still long enough at dinner. Quesedillas, mac and cheese and pizza are only on really good days. And I'm now looking at those options as the healthiest stuff he can eat. And that's about all he'll agree to put in his mouth. I'm debating being a much meaner mommmy in 2012 and -- I'm starting small here -- forcing him to eat at least one mouthful of fruit or vegetable a day. Terrible idea or about time?

we like to smash stuff

I wish I could remember where I got this idea so I could give credit...some clever mom blog. You put letters or numbers on the bottom of an egg carton and then have the kid pound away on a plastic hammer while counting out numbers or calling out letters. It's learning and smashing stuff all at the same time. It's win win for everybody.

we're crafting

In between moody meltdowns we made it to the Michaels to buy a bunch of craft supplies this weekend...

We bought a ton of holiday stickers & glitter to make this frame. It's a version of what I made at school with B.'s friends. (I keep having fantasies of running a preschool and then when faced by 11 two-year-olds who were bouncing off the walls because of rain I had a silent panic attack. So that's not going to happen.) And then we (or I) ripped strips of tissue paper and then I had B. glue them on this Mason jar to make a candle holder.

Then we made star cookies last night to bring to school. B. helped cut out the shapes (which was basically like stamping Play-Dough) and then sprinkled white sugar crystals on the cookies. Thank god for Michael selling everything because B. is refusing to shop so I was able to get all this stuff in one place.

Friday, December 9, 2011

how a picky kid breaks you down so eating chocolate for breakfast seems like a good idea

Six months ago I would have refused to serve Nutella for breakfast. Yesterday, I was beyond pleased B. agreed to eat a chocolate sandwich before school. But the mind games don't happen overnight. It's a long con until they've got you so brainwashed you don't even know it's happening. And somebody needs to expose the truth about these crafty kids!
A year ago B. was eating fruit, veggies, chicken, steak, fish. All kinds of good, fresh stuff. So the occasional ice cream or Nutella on whole wheat bread didn't seem so bad. Then slowly and stealthily he started dropping foods from his diet. Not fast enough to raise any red flags. But just enough that I started offering multiple options to try and make him eat. That's a mom's job, right? But it was info he was filing away for later. Like I said, it's a long con.
Even six months ago B. would have eaten a ham sandwich or spaghetti with tomato sauce. But the menu list was getting shorter. Then he suddenly shut it down, refusing to eat. I did try to out-bluff him, serving only healthy options. But the kid really didn't and still doesn't care about food and seems just fine skipping breakfast and lunch if he's not in the mood. (That's another book somebody needs to write: All I Learned About Dieting I Learned From My Toddler)
Ultimately, I think a picky kid will revert to the worst things you've ever fed them in a weak moment. For me, that's Nutella (thank god for the whole wheat bread...see how brainwashed I am!), cupcakes, cookies and ice cream. But I can see how easily that could have become chicken nuggets and hot dogs. And now I'm just so happy when B. agrees to open his mouth that he gets away with almost whatever he wants.
If it wasn't for my competitive streak (hiding veggie and fruit purees into the few things I can use as decoys) he'd have me in complete submission. But I'm holding on to the smallest shred of hope that one day I can turn this around and win this game.