Tuesday, June 05, 2007
In the past couple months we have stopped buying and feeding you jarred toddler (baby) food. While yes, you are almost two, that has only ever been the one thing you would eat fairly consistently for lunch and supper. But one cannot sustain on runny Chicken Cacciatore and Country Turkey Stew and Beef, Pasta & Vegetables. Or maybe one can. Since this decision to try and incorporate real food into your diet, you have consumed less because we seemingly aren't offering you palatable choices. What you have been doing is practicing your chewing skills - handy since you have all your teeth. You will take my beef, chicken or pork skewer or maybe a chicken breast into your hands and bite off a big piece. Then you will chew and chew and chew and chew a little more before spitting it out because you extracted all the flavour of it... I don't expect many calories are packed into the flavours of food.
Ever since you were seven or eight months old, I would cut your food up into very small, managable pieces, also leaving you a large piece to grab onto and bite from. Apparently, this also caused it to be inedible. It would be automatically shunned and you were content to go without. And when you went for a whole piece of something, it would get smushed or thrown but rarely nibbled. I even give you things you can dip but you end up saying "draw" and "drawing" ketchup circles on your plate - or (*cringe*) on the table.
There are things you do eat. Sometimes. Like potatoes with butter and sour cream. Actually, you have only been eating the sour cream lately. Or handfuls of simulated bacon bits. You eat meatballs. If they are frozen and usually not more than one. And frozen perogies because for some reason when they are cooked and topped with yummy sour cream it's just not the same. You eat the chocolate or peanut butter chips out of the oatmeal cookies I bake - and only the chips. You manage to spit out the tiniest piece of cookie if it's touching your chip. You do like to eat the cookie dough and you like pancake batter (and maple syrup) but not pancakes. You almost always take exactly one bite of my tortilla everyday at lunch. Last weekend you were cuckoo for cherry tomatoes, that being the only thing you ate all day except three Teddy Grahams. (Oh, and ice. Always ice.)
We don't really eat processed food but lately I've succumbed because like any mother, I want you to grow big and thrive. I want your belly to hold up your pants (so we can get you out of the too-short 12 month size). So we bought you Top Dog wieners and Beefaroni and vacuum-sealed mac n' cheese for toddlers and Pizza Pops with hopes of great success. We achieved moderate success in a hit-and-miss sort of way. Sometimes you like Pizza Pops and more often than not you like wieners. (Like for breakfast this morning. Eaten while in the shower.) Sometimes it's scrambled eggs for breakfast, sometimes a few mouthfuls of Rice Krispies with bananas.
Usually you, like adults, are influenced by what you see in books or on t.v. One morning last week you woke up at your regular "5 a.m. eyes wide open" time, so we turned on Elmo's World in our bedroom to engage you while we slept a while longer. One of the episodes was about food and the featured video had the kids all eating pizza. "Peetz. Peetz," you requested. So to your delight your dad got you some frozen mini pizza (just how you like it). While I woke up in horror to see cheese, pepperoni and bits of crust all over the bed and me, you did eat most of it. Or when you watch Go Diego Go and they talk about jaguars eating meat, you request "meat, meat, meat." Everything is just more effective when said three times. (Bed, bed, bed! Boob, boob, boob!)
I've relaxed quite a bit in regards to your eating habits. If you don't eat something from the list or plate of offerings, it's fine. Maybe next time. Or maybe not. You've made it this far. When we got you immunized a couple weeks ago, the public health nurse made multiple suggestions to get the most calories into you...as though we haven't tried everything. As though we don't see the pediatrician every three months to keep a close eye on your growth. As though that feeding therapy wasn't completely useless. Last week we had ice cream for supper. Of all the days - you only had a couple bites. But at least we realize now, all we can do is offer.