YesterJen: “When I have a baby, I’m going to feed it only organic fruits and vegetables, and we are going to have dinner at the table every evening, during which time we adults will share the events of our day and our child will learn to sit respectfully and listen.”
So that happened. If you call goldfish crackers and Kraft mac&cheese “organic fruits and vegetables” and meals shoveled mindlessly in mouths while we sit in front of the television “dinner at the table.” To be fair, there is a coffee table. Chris does sit and listen respectfully, to Yo Gabba Gabba.
I remember how excited I was when he started eating food, and he really liked the pureed fruits and vegetables. I thought, “He LOVES carrots and sweet potatoes! We are on the path to a lifetime of healthy eating!” I kind of hurt my shoulder patting myself and Gerber on the back.
Then we switched to actual human food. “He will eat what you eat,” lied my pediatrician with a straight face. A little while later, my kid developed taste buds and opinions… seemingly simultaneously.
“Chris, here, try this broccoli! It’s like little trees.”
“No, thanks Mommy.” When pressed for a reason, he explained calmly, “It’s too yucky.” Can’t argue with that. They are his taste buds after all. I thought broccoli was yucky for a lot of years.
I refused to do the “You will sit at this table until you eat it,” spiel. Not to protect my darling child’s personality or sense of freedom, but because I knew I he would out-wait me. Dude’s got 300% more stamina than me.
Instead, I took note of what he would eat. Accidentally and disastrously praising him for finishing all of his M&Ms. Maybe the green ones have some chlorophyll in them.
In the long term battle over food, we’ve gradually reached a kind of food settlement. It has been agreed that his entrees will be pasta, pasta with cheese, chicken in nugget form, pizza and cereal. With badgering, he will pretend to eat peas, green beans or corn (canned). The only nutrition-related victory I get is that he will actually consume fruit voluntarily. And semi-annually, he will ask for and eat a can of peas for a snack.
During one of my fear-based Google jags, I found that, for toddlers, you should consider the caloric and nutritional intake for the week, not for the day or the year. I think, deep in my mind, I’ve over-expanded that. Now I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables in the hopes that what matters is the nutritional/caloric in-take for the household not the individuals. This would work out for us all, since Jeff and I could stand to lose a few pounds, and Chris needs the vitamins. Can’t figure out how to factor in the cats, though.