It seems BB has sided with Congress and has picked this week to go on strike. Starting on Monday, he refused his bottle. I’m talking didn’t want it even a little bit. He literally bats it away and if he could talk I’m sure he would say, “get that out of my face.” Thankfully, he is still getting milk from The Mommy and he is eating solids as fast as I can buy them. Who knows how long this bottle strike will last, but bizarrely his approval ratings haven’t dipped. BB also chose this week to protest being placed in his car seat. Now whenever I try to put him in, he goes rigid and has to be sweet talked and distracted to fold at the waist. We have entered negotiations and hopefully the baby shutdown will end soon, but so far the meetings have had a lot more drool then I am used to seeing in the conference room.
BB’s relationship with eating solids is complicated. When first introduced to any new or previous food (for that matter) he has a ritual. First, he will refuse to open his mouth, even a little bit, allowing no entry forcing apple sauce or blended banana to impact on the surface. However, after a bit and for no reason he will open is maw and if you manage to get the spoon in, will enjoy the food and swallow without incident. Needless to say the whole process takes a lot longer than it should and can be slightly stressful. For those keeping score at home sweet potatoes are his favorite, but he makes a crazy face when anything is too tart. The look of utter surprise on his face when tasting things like pear and mango for the first time is priceless. Thankfully, lately BB has switched teams to the ‘people who like food’ side. He opens his mouth and is excited to gobble down some goo. However, he still is picky when it comes to certain tastes and introducing new foods is still a slog. Of course I am now also remembering how boring it is to feed a baby, but BB doesn’t want me to fall asleep on the job so he will occasionally sneeze a whole bunch of mango-pear mush in my face, shirt and pants.
Tips from Dr. Christine Wood, USANA Scientific Advisory Council Member.
- Avoid or limit eating out at typical fast food restaurants. Find healthier choices. For example, order the roasted chicken (instead of chicken nuggets at McDonalds) with fresh steamed vegetables.
- Share meals between family members to cut down on portion sizes for both child and parent. You will also save money this way. Add a side of vegetables or salad and take home leftovers to pack the children’s lunches for the next day.
- Watch soda intake. Negotiate with your kids to make water or milk their choice. Many restaurants offer unlimited soda, so if they choose soda, set the limit to one. Sodas should be an occasional treat.
Dr. Christine Wood, practicing pediatrician, author, instructor on healthy lifestyles for parents and children and member of USANA’s Scientific Advisory Council. She can offer her tips for eating out without compromising a child’s waistline and suggest healthy, but tasty alternatives that kids will love, thus avoiding the outbreak of a tantrum at any restaurant.
Two interesting things have happened on the East Coast. One, winter came early in the form of a pre-Halloween snowstorm and two, LTD has discovered hot chocolate. As traditionalists, The Mommy and I believe hot cocoa should be served with a marshmallow. I know what you are thinking, we let our toddler drink scalding hot chocolate and are monsters, but you would be wrong as The Mommy just warms up some chocolate milk and since he doesn’t know what actual cocoa is everyone wins. I’m not one for fancy things, but I am one for sweets and I have recently become addicted to Plush Puffs Caramel Swirl Marshmallows. The Mommy has taken to the Peppermint as we both allow them to melt in out cocoa.
As an aside, I have been drinking Swiss Miss instant cocoa for over thirty years now and it wasn’t until five years ago I have been drinking it correctly. It turns out that the directions call for non-boiling water and ever since I found that out and discovered what the beverage was suppose to taste like I have been drinking a lot of it. The marshmallows come in other flavors like Gingerbread, but I remain loyal to caramel. We shall see what happens in the summer when we use Plush Puffs to make smores.
Many words come to mind when one hears the word toddler. Today, we will focus on the word messy. Now that LTD is feeding himself (and by feeding I mean throwing food everywhere) and he is using crayons, The Mommy and I have turned to the Bibbitec all purpose bib. Of course, a mom invented it to fill a seen void in baby protection gear. The Bibbitec is “a soft, non-toxic burp cloth – changing pad – breast-feeding shield – full body bib – placemat – breathable stroller blanket – art smock – ‘lapkin’ and apron.” We primarily use it as an art project cover up and for when the little guy eats spaghetti. One of the coolest features of the bib is that it looks like it is from the future. It is made out of “stain-resistant, fast-drying, soft, lightweight material” and with the movie Tron: Legacy coming out LTD looks like he is cutting edge when he sports the Bibbitec. In conclusion, bring on the Play dough.
I won’t bury the lead, LTD has become an eating machine. He just doesn’t stop, ever. I usually give him something simple right when he goes in the highchair to hold him while I prepare the full meal. Well, the other day I gave him a banana or nana as he calls them and I turned back to the kitchen to make his lunch. I know I am prone to hyperbole but it is no exaggeration to write that he devoured a whole banana in 45 seconds. The experience is like offering food to a god king that is never satisfied, bangs his fists on the table and cries ‘more.’
Not only is the little guy eating me out of house and home, but LTD is committing a sin worse than emptying my wallet. He is stealing my food. I can’t eat anything in front of him without demands for me to share. Except he doesn’t know about sharing, he only knows about taking. Of course he recognizes sweets pretty fast and it is particularly hard to enjoy a donut around the little guy. It’s getting to the point where I have to count my fingers when he is done his feeding frenzy. Thankfully, he isn’t getting too fat with his massive meals because he still throws a ton on the floor.
As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know thanks to the challenges that result from frequently taking LTD in and out of the car seat I always am happy to find a drive thru. Unfortunately, most of the places that have such a window are limited to fast food chains and the bank. I have seen drive up dry-cleaning but let’s face it with the baby throwing food everywhere I’m not wearing a lot of nice clothes that need to be dry cleaned. However, I have found a special place that has become like an oasis in the desert, ladies and gentlemen I give you Mr. Bagel Express. About once a week I treat myself to a Everything bagel toasted with veggie cream cheese. The people there recognize me and LTD and often throw in a free bagel or donut.
Recently, The Mommy approached me with a suggestion that we all go there to eat in on a Sunday morning. I had never been inside before and figured it would be a place that would tolerate LTD embarrass the parents routine. Something amazing happened at our visit. No, it wasn’t LTD was well behaved cause it was not, but it was the discover of a magic baked good. Mr. Bagel Express makes something accurately named the Rainbow Bagel. This round thing was awesome, we are talking about a bagel that is swirled with color and even though it looks like it is made out of every color of play dough, tastes delicious. There was only one problem with the Rainbow bagel that turned out not to really be a problem. LTD refused to eat it and so The Mommy and me had to polish it off. When LTD is a little older and finds out that he used to spit out the magic bagel he is going to be awfully upset with himself, but for now more for me.
We are talking yogurt. We are talking applesauce. We are talking about anything that requires a spoon. Why are we talking about it? Because LTD has picked this one area to exercise his extreme right as an American to hold his own spoon. As you can imagine he is very vocal and physical when it comes to those who don’t let him use his own spoon, but he cares less about the mess he makes. If you feed him very quickly sometimes he doesn’t have time to think about and therefore grab the spoon. However, when he sets his mind to feeding himself with the spoon nothing on Earth can stop him. Does he get any in his mouth, you ask? Nope. He is able to scoop up things but then he has a messy habit of turning the spoon upside down before it gets to his gaping maw. I consulted the oracle and have come up with the only known remedy for spoon theft. I give you the decoy spoon. When I’m feeding his yogurt I give him his own spoon and then feed him with another. It’s a win-win for everyone. Everyone except me since I still need to clean up the huge mess.
LTD aka the human wrecking ball is at his happiest when he is making a total and complete mess. Armed with this knowledge I can only try and stay one step ahead of him. The ORE Splat Mat is a worthy ally in my ongoing battle to keep the house clean from the little guys mission. The Retro Robot Tabletop version features robots and robot parts from a by gone era. Hopefully, when he is older LTD will ask me if that is really what robots used to look like. And will tell him that unlike the robot nanny that is raising him, robots from the Happy Days era did indeed look boxy. While the mat is non-toxic and lead-free coated cotton it doesn’t have a way to secure itself to the table allowing the little guy to whip it from any surface. For now we use the mat when he is supervised during crayon coloring time. I remain optimistic that when LTD is old enough to sit at the table and eat a meal without feeling the need to throw everything off the top, he will enjoy looking the cool robot mat.
Normally, I have to inhale my lunch over the sink while LTD takes his nap. I never know how long he will be asleep for and have to plan accordingly. However, occasionally, I will eat in front of him. When that happens all hell breaks loose. When eating in front of friends, co- workers or family; you may say, this is good, try a taste or they may say, that looks yummy can I have a bite? Well, LTD has no use for such polite manners. He demands a bite. He lets his desire for your food be known through physical and verbal actions. He points and waves his hand in the direction of the delicious pizza you are about to eat. He screams ‘uh’ over and over and over again until you simply break. Don’t even get me started on what happens if you try and eat Dairy Queen in front of him. The whole scene turns into Lord of the Flies and I get to be that Piggy kid with the glasses. Time for me to go back to eating quickly over the sink.