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    The new world order

    September 21st, 2011

    You know what sucks? Tantrums. You know what sucks even more? Tantrums right before dinner. Or during dinner. Why? Because getting a cooperative kid eating, even when their favorite food is sitting at the table, just doesn’t happen when you have to put them in a timeout for hitting (during said tantrum).

    I’m SO over it. Done!!!

    I’ve been paranoid about G’s food consumption because he’s small and had given us a hard time about eating since he was an infant. However, I now realize that succumbing to his picky-ness just so that he would eat ‘something’ is not helping any of us out. It’s not enriching his palate, he’s not getting his nutritional needs met (when I offer him oatmeal 3 nights in a row to appease him), and his food consumption isn’t much different if he eats a miniscule sample of his requested item vs. what the rest of us eat. S and I not in control of our house at mealtime.

    And I’m done with it.

    So… new rules: food is placed on table. You are given a heads up it’s about to be served. You are given a notification when it is served. You are either there to eat it or you’re not. There are no special invitations or pleads. There are no special meals (unless you are under 18m, due to illness have different needs, or we are dining out). At a friend’s home, kids will eat what is prepared for kids, if done special. When the adults are done eating, and the baby is fed all plates leave the table, finished or unfinished. Exceptions are made if someone is still actively eating. Leaving the dining room table to return to play constitutes as being done with dinner. Treats (including toddler rice husk crackers) are available only after meal-time to those who have sufficiently eaten. Puffs are negotiable. Milk and water are the only things available on demand at any desired quantity. Past plates being taken away, meal-time concludes and there will be no make up meals until the next formal dining period. Snacks in between meals are just that. They will be provided only in snack-sized quantities.

    That’s it! Yes, I’m writing this angry, and I may make some revisions as necessary, but this is it. Pre-schoolers will not rule meal-time!!!


    … now… let’s see how long this lasts

    Mr. Sweet Potato

    April 11th, 2011

    S2 had his first taste of non-milk this week-end. Yes, I caved. No, I didn’t want to, but he kind of pushed my hand.

    He’s already been staring intently at us eating. He grabbed my plate twice in the previous weeks and pulled it towards himself, dipping his hand in various cuisines. If he had more control over his hands, I know he’s be redirecting my silverware away from my mouth and into his. Last week I even decided to split the difference, and sat him in the high-chair, and fed him some breast milk out of a spoon. My hungry little camper was excited to no end. He opened his mouth for that spoon as if he’d been doing it all along. Of course he was pretty disappointed with the contents though: he gave me this saying “Why’s this a big deal? My other way of taking in this stuff is far more efficient, and fun” So yes, there have been signs of solid food readiness.

    THEN, last week I got a request to start adding more milk to his bottles. Mr. Chunks apparently has been sorely disappointed by the insufficient 20oz of milk he’s been consuming between the hours of 7am and 6pm. He has been busting out some crocodile tears when his bottle is done, and would like more milk. While “yes” I likely could work to make that happen, it wouldn’t be without some added stress on my end. I could go back to pumping at 2am every morning, start taking Dom again, use my emergency stash for the extra, or just go for a bottle of formula each day at daycare. None of these options appealed to me, and I had to ask myself if they appealed to me any more than starting solids.

    So, after some soul searching, and much grumbling, I conceded. I went to my local grocery store, bought 4 over-priced Earth’s Best Organic Sweet Potato stage 1, and went in for “the test”.

    S2 didn’t really go for it. He didn’t care to open his mouth at the spoon like he’d done the week before. He didn’t really know what to do with his tongue as much. I was pleased. I thought to myself “Maybe he wasn’t really ready. Maybe this is my chance to pull back and wait another few weeks”… but then the reasonable part of me remembered that try #1 wasn’t exactly under the best of circumstances. 1) he was tired, as I was pushing up right before his nap-time; 2) we were rushed for time, since we had a long list of things to do afterward. So, I tried again on Sunday, and he did fine. Dang it! I decided to have Ms. J try again today, and do best 2-out-of-3.

    The result? Food wins. So I guess I loose. We’re now into solids.

    I don’t really know how to excuse my reluctance. A part of it is driven by reading that the closer baby starts taking solids to 6 months, the better. So I’m thinking 5 months, minus 3 weeks for him being born early is more like starting at a 4 months, which is definitely NOT something I wanted to do. However, I think at the end of the day it just comes down to him growing up. With G I was so excited for him to get to the next milestone. Now w/ S2 I’m the opposite: I don’t want my little duder to be growing up so fast. But clearly he’s not the patient type so I need put on my big girl panties and deal.

    Meanwhile, in a “if you can’t beat them, joint them” effort, here are some photos (and video) of S2’s new chapter in growing up.


    P.S. The sultry stylings of my voice is courtesy of a new cold I was lucky enough to acquire last week. Time for me to start up that 1-900 business, huh?

    My little gardeners

    April 10th, 2011

    As our backyard’s been approaching the last stages of being done, I took advantage of the break from rain we got 2 weeks back and planted our veggies. I wanted to get them in the ground. To be honest, I know squat about gardening, so whether it was early or late in the planing season is beyond me. But also given that this has been an exceptionally strange weather year so far,  even if it was the right time of the season, could very well be pushed out.

    To be clear, the veggie garden is by no means a way to sustain ourselves. I just want to illustrate to illustrate to the kids 1) how long it takes to grow food; 2) the care that a garden requires. Clearly these are lessons that are lost on a 2.5yr old and a 5m old, but hey, maybe over time something will sink it.

    So… 3 tomato, 1 zucchini and 6 strawberry plants later, I’ve gots me a veggie patch. Tomatoes are my favorite, G thinks strawberries are like crack, and I can convince myself to make a zucchini bread or two this summer 🙂 S is more of a salad dude, but he’s out of luck for now.

    G and K didn’t take a great part of the actual planning, but K was really into watering, and G was an expert in measuring just how far apart the veggies needed to be.

    We ran into some worms at the end. The kids thought those were pretty darn cool.

    So… now we wait for our veggies to sprout. Should be ready in another week or two, right?

    Full service daycare

    March 30th, 2011

    I’ve mentioned this before, but daycare tracks diaper changes, bottles and naps for the kids in the infant/toddler room. I LOVE this! Being a data junkie aside, it’s actually really helpful for me as a working parent. It helps me plan for my evening better. Last bottle at 3, and it’s now 5:30? Well, then, baby’s dinner comes first. If it was after 5, then I have the possibility of eating with the S and G. Short naps throughout the day? Then get ready for a loooong night with lots of wake-ups.

    I look at this sheet every afternoon, so imagine my surprise last week when I saw this:

    7:20 Breastfed.

    Breastfed? Cool! This is a special treat for me since I left by 7:15 that day. So I jokingly asked Ms. J “So who breastfed by child this morning?” Poor Ms. J gave me the most horrified look. She doesn’t come in to open in the mornings, so, sadly, she had no idea what had happened that day. I assured her that I wasn’t upset in any way, just that I found it humorous.

    I will admit though, that I am just a wee-bit disappointed. How sweet would it be to have this option, huh? Talk about full service daycare!

    What do dinosaurs eat?

    January 27th, 2011

    G has a new TV show obsession: Dinosaur Train. Long gone are the days he’s asked for George (Curious George) or Cat (Cat in the Hat). Now the only thing he ever wants to watch is Dinosaur Train. (As a side note, his favorite episode is the shark episode and he watches it every day. It’s kind of cute to hear him pronounce “Cretoxyrhina”)

    PBS online has a kid’s portion of the site. It’s a “supplemental” to a lot of their shows, so occasionally G asks to watch DT on my computer, which really means he wants to play the DT games. His favorite is “All Aboard”. You play the conductor by seating various dinosaurs on benches, feeding them from the food cart and giving them the boot at their respective era stop.

    The food part gives you the option of feeding them either a leaf or a fish based on the dinosaur’s diet being a herbivore, carnivore or either. So yesterday at the Velociraptor, we have the following exchange:

    Me: Alright, Bud. What should we give him? The leaf or the fish?

    G: That one (poking with his finger on the leaf). [Yeah, kid, this ain’t yo’ daddy’s iPad. You actually have to use a mouse to do something here. Old school, I know!]

    Game: Velociraptor is a carnivore. He only eats meat.

    Me: This dinosaur eats meat, Buddy [I call him Buddy, a lot. Don’t know why.] The leaf is a plant, and the fish is meat. What should we give him?

    G: That one (poking with his finger, again, on the leaf).

    Me: No, kiddo. This is a plant. The dinosaur only eats meat. Should we give him the fish?

    G: No! PASTA!

    Huh. Clearly the Velociraptor would prefer Durham flour byproducts over flesh. Ok, I’ll take that. It does change the Jurassic Park book/movie storyline one heck of a lot though.

    Bus boys

    January 6th, 2011

    On Tuesday evening, we went out for Thai Food. I guess this was the first time that G’s noticed someone clearing away empty plates, because when one of the waiters came to take away the empty Spring Roll plate, G immediately asked

    “Daddy, what da man doin’?”

    We explained to him the concept of taking empty plates away, and he seemed quite content with our explanation. Please note that at no point in time did we use the term “Bus boy”. We actually never put a title on the roll at all. We just explained what the guy was doing and why.

    Then later, our waitress came and asked to take away another plate. G protested, because he only wanted the guy to do it. Fun stuff. Going out with him these days is certainly interesting. Let’s put it that way.

    Oh cr@p!

    July 27th, 2010

    We spent our Sunday visiting A, R, and R. There was good food, a cooling pool, water toys, balls, and fun company. Oh… and blueberries (you might know where this is going, now)

    G hasn’t ever really HAD blueberries before. I mean sure, there have been an occasional few in a fruit salad, or a muffin, and certainly back in his jarred food days, but we’ve never really given him blueberries straight up. G spent his Sunday refusing to eat (we’re at the start of the 2 year molar torment), and spent a lot of his time saying “NO!” to anything I offered him. Little R LOOOVES him some blueberries as it turns out, so A had gotten a bunch for the party. I offered G one. He ate it and then proceeded to demand “Mo!” by the hand-full.

    Well, A and R warned us about the exit of said blueberries, and BOY were they right.
    First off, our “once a day pooper” turned into a poop machine come Monday (note to self, I might want to implement this for myself now that I’m approaching the 3rd trimester), and his diapers were “special”. I mean black! I mean stainy black. I managed to catch occurrence #1, thinking “Oh, hey this isn’t too bad!” And that I had saved Ms. J and Ms. S from the daily dump delivery. Boy was I wrong! He was just warming up.
    We’re still washing the load of diapers, so I have no idea how much stain is left on the diapes. I foresee some sunning in our future though.

    So I’m still pro blueberries, and obviously G enjoyed them too. I just might need to implement a “sposies after blueberries” guideline in the home.

    Fun times!

    Note to self

    January 20th, 2010

    Note to self: pureed carrots are not the best breakfast food for toddlers. This is because:

    1. Toddler will insist on a spoon of their own that they can “help” feed themselves with
    2. Toddler will dip said spoon in said carrot puree and then fling it in your general direction
    3. Toddler will realize that puree floor drizzle art is a lot of fun
    4. While orange (color of carrots) and blue (color of shirt) are contrasting colors, they do not look good together in the above stated texture/format

    … at least it’s Hump Day of a short week.

    Spaghetti: A Love Story

    November 16th, 2009

    I think G has a favorite meal: Spaghetti. About a week ago we went out for dinner with Augie and his family. Augie’s youngest little one and G shared a bowl of spaghetti. It was the first G has had of the treat and loved it!

    Fast forward to Saturday. After swim class, S and I ran around town doing some errands. Well, all of a sudden it was about noon, we were no-where close to home, but as I hadn’t anticipated being out this late, I didn’t pack a lunch for him. (Lesson learned – will always pack a meal ahead just in case). We ended up going to Macaroni Grill. I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs, thinking I would share that with G. Well, it was more like he sharing with me, because the kid could not get enough. He slurped his pasghetti like nothing could possibly taste better. I couldn’t cut them up and get them to him fast enough. There was tomato sauce flying everywhere: his face was a mess, his hands were ridiculous, and his portable dining chair needed to be hosed down. But boy, oh boy, did he have a good time. I guess I know what I’ll be making him for dinner later this week.

    I will also note that on the same luncheon outing, G waited for the spaghetti by enjoying an appetizer of crayon. Yeah, you read right — crayon. He was gnawing on that thing like wax was a necessary food supplement. I yanked on one end, while he was biting down on the other. His teeth ended up being green and purple with little chunks of waxy crayon left in there for good measure. While, I’m glad these things are non-toxic, there shall be no more crayon at our dining tables for awhile. Can anyone educate me what about crayon makes it so tasty? That is without asking me to eat one myself?


    Oh, as a side note, unless my scale is lying to me (which is quite possible), G is now 19lb 10oz. The WHO puts him in the 10th percentile for his age group. 10th!!! I guess this is where G walking at 14 months is letting him catch up a bit, weight-wise. I expect his new found mobility to put a halt to that curve climb and shoot him back down, but hey, I can enjoy the double digits for short while, right?

    “I only eat when snacks are present!”

    November 8th, 2009

    I’ve been pretty pleased with G’s eating lately. I know I shouldn’t say that too loud, but despite his continuous “feather-butt” syndrome, he’s eating well. It helps, of course, that I’ve figured out a trick: snacks!

    That’s right, each meal-time is accompanied by an army of snacks. If you take a look at my set-up, you’d swear you were in the isle of a grocery store. But, alas, it is needed in order to keep G occupied while I shove fruit, veggie, and meats in his mouth.

    G likes to feed himself, which is great. He’s just not too proficient with the spoon jarred-food eating, so while I let him occasionally wave a spoon around and dunk it in his food (he thinks this is fun), I’m the primary food-delivery device. Meanwhile, G’s job is to shove snacks in his mouth. I line up puffs, or a cheese-wheel to kick off meals. He’ll cram a bite in his mouth, and I follow it up with a spoon. Occasionally he’ll get sick of whatever he’s munching on and will start pointing and grunting to the rest of the snack line-up. This is where he gets choices. I put up two containers and offer him A or B. He’ll either gesture towards one of the packages, or keep pointing to whatever he originally wanted. Either way, we figure it out: he gets what he wants, and I get what I want: a finished meal.

    One benefit to this is that we’re starting to work on choices. While, he can choose until he gets what he wants, it’s improving our communication a bit, and it’s helping him feel in control.

    At daycare, they have a different strategy: bringing in Ms. F. G’s sweet on her, and all other teachers are chopped liver in comparison. She can get him to eat anything. So when he refuses his food there, she comes over to finish lunch. That’s right — my son is already showing off for the ladies. I don’t know if I should be worried about this or not.

    In other “eating” news, G’s school has told us on a few occasions now that he’s far more interested in what the big kids are eating than his own mashed food. I’m cool with that. His school actually provides a Hot Meals program, so I’m thinking we’ll try that. Before signing up officially, I’m gonna see if we can test it out for a day or two. If G’s ready for the big-kid food, we’ll move him to it. Bonus side for me? One less thing I have to pack up for him each day 🙂

    So that’s my strategy. It’s working for us… at least for now.