7 Quick Takes Friday- Vol. 2

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— 1 —

This week has been one of those weeks that makes me realize, we all have different sized plates. Some of us can take on a lot on our plate and may be, say, a platter. Others fall into the dinner plate category or the salad plate section. I am firmly, and humbly convinced I fall somewhere above a spoon rest and just underneath a teacup saucer plate.

— 2 —

My favorite tweet this week was from Demetri Martin who tweeted constantly during the Presidential debate. When Obama and Romney were going back and forth about teachers and how much they like them, @DemetriMartin tweeted:

” I don’t love teachers. #NotTrue #ILoveTeachers #NotAllOfThem #YouKnowWhoYouAre #MissZambrano

then he followed it up promptly with

Second Grade was a rough year for me. #DoNotGetMeStarted”

Had me in stitches.

— 3 —

On the topic of@DemetriMartin I am hugely looking forward to downloading and watching his new comedy album : Stand Up Comedian and hoping he delivers more deliciously hysterical bursts of laughter from blunt, dry observations like  “Sometimes when we learn the meaning of a new word, it can be very disappointing. I remember when I was a kid and we were going to visit one of my mom’s friends who she told us was a ‘cat person’. And when we got there….I was just like ‘Wait. So you just like cats?’ Dude. That’s a ‘cat-liker’. A ‘cat-person’ is a different story…like ‘why does Steven never go in the pool? Oh yeah….he’s a ‘cat-person'”

— 4 —

Last week, as the credits were rolling on  The Avengers….Tom noticed Fatty the Squirrel taunting him, sitting on the fence post above our trashcans….just staring at us while we ate popcorn. Probably due to the recent fighting footage, and feeling totally invincible, he jumped off our sofa, grabbed the first “weapon” he could find (which ended up being a Melissa & Doug wooden cupcake) and went running, growling, into our backyard vowing to avenge (pun intended) our pumpkins and obliterate the squirrel. With a wooden cupcake. In broad daylight. I’m sure lots of grown men chase squirrels around their backyards with wooden cupcakes on Saturday afternoons….hmmm. Might be investing in that BBgun my Dad suggested.

— 5 —

Ooo. I failed to mention that Fatty the Squirrel also just chewed his way through our second pair of new trashcans. So, Tom’s wrath was justified.

— 6 —

Jack ate a bowl of carrots with yogurt for lunch yesterday!!! I did a happy dance and praised him, and now he won’t eat carrots anymore.

— 7 —

Baklava is evil. It cannot be made at 9:30 at night by an exhausted wife. You can never offer to bring it to your special little Mediterranean potluck at work ever again. Potlucks for work fall into the “Nay Nay” category. I am choosing to homeschool my kids precisely  to avoid things like packing lunches and making special cultural dishes for a monthly Hoo- Ha- Ha.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

The Picky Eater Project- Ch. 1

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Man cannot live on bread alone, but my son Jack can.

I sit here staring at him thinking of what a mess I’ve created by catering to his every whim, desperate to get him to eat something, anything. In my exasperated state I caved over the months, giving him chicken nuggets, waffles, frozen sausage links, toast…just to see him eating. At least he’s eating I tried to comfort myself. But now all I am left with is an almost 3 year old whose resolve has become so ingrained in him that he won’t even try one bite of something other than his standard. It’s terrible! And I feel so responsible and that I have done everything wrong that I could have done right, if I had just stuck it out a year ago when all this was snowballing before my eyes. I think I was too tired.

Parenting magazine had this lovely article in this month’s issue which completely steam-rolled my miniscule hope that he’d grow out of this phase. The article entitled, “Grow a Foodie!” had a jumbo-sized caption in the middle of the article shrieking at moms what the point they were trying to make was. It said

Picky-eaters are not born, they’re made” and in my my brain, in true mom fashion, I completed the sentenced, “and you’re making one”.

They could of just made a pop-up centerfold that poked me in the eye shouting “loser!”, and it may have been less harsh than that. The entire four page article went on and on about how we are enabling them to be picky, and that this phenomenon is strictly western culture because elsewhere the world there isn’t such a thing as the “kids menu”, kids just eat smaller portion of what their parents are eating! Shocking! The overall message I got from the article was: it’s my fault. Which is pretty much our deepest worry as moms that keeps gnawing at our sanity in the wee hours of the morning. The dreaded…..what if it’s all…my…fault? What if I made a bad decision? Or I messed up? How is this going to effect their adolescence, their potty training, or goodness gracious, what if they hold it against me for the rest of their life?? I can already see him now! Riding a motorcyle, drinking beer and eating pork rinds all because I could never stick it out and transition him to REAL FOOD…(and then Tom pointedly remarks, yes, but at least he’s eating pork.) Side note:It is never advisable under any circumstances to weigh options on any parenting decisions you have made from 11pm – 9am.

But it didn’t used to be this way! As a baby he tried many foods we presented to him and enjoyed things with flavor like chili, meatballs, lasagna, and carrots. Now, at 2 1/2, he has a strict menu of chicken nuggets, toaster waffles, pretzels, toast and PLAIN (not buttered! For the love he just might pass out if he sees butter) noodles. He is turning me into the parent I never wanted to be! I never, ever, ever, was going to have icky processed chicken fricken nuggets in my freezer or piles of toaster waffles on my counter for breakfast. I can’t tell you the countless kids I babysat for in high school and I thought I was never going to feed my kids as horribly as their parents were feeding them. Well that idea totally bit me in the butt.

I have one kid who eats anything, another who would if I would let him (even though he remains toothless) and the other who is pretty much the poster child for a happy meal. It makes me so guilty and frankly, very stressed out to think of all the nutrients he is missing out on, and now thanks to Parenting magazine I have pressure to purge him of these eating trends! I’ve got to change his preferences now before he’s asking for chicken nuggets and noodles at his high school graduation party. Or crying at his dress rehearsal dinner because some moron put a slab of butter on his bread.

As with every bright idea I have I always set out a tad bit too excitedly, and in Jack’s case, that’s a major turn off. I thought why wouldn’t it be a great idea to teach him and Mia about the food we eat and let them build their own plate? I sprang into action after tossing Parenting magazine in the trash and began piling different items from the fridge on the counter. We made carb piles, protein piles and fruit/veggie piles. I explained that at every meal, they had to have a carb, a veggie and a protein. Mia built her plate awesomely, made my Mommy heart swell with pride only to be utterly deflated a mere second later by Jack who insisted on having for his veggie: bread and his protein: bread. Equaling a lunch of : bread . About 15 minutes later, and a million and one negations on proteins(Me” “Hey, how about some Peanut butter?” Jack “How about not some peanut butter”. ) (Me: “how about CHOCOLATE YOGURT?!??!?!” ahahhahhaaaaa <<<— that’s me, breaking down in a fit of maniacal laughter at the absurdity of how much I’ve lowered my expectations) To summarize: on day one of the picky eater project, my son ate bread for lunch.

Is this a power play? Is he strong willed? Will he eventually cave? I don’t know. I think he’s going to have to give in eventually. I’ve tried every darn idea in the book and it’s not working. I don’t know how, but somehow, they just know when you sneak nutrition in. I did the old “turkey meatloaf cupcake with mashed potato frosting” thing. Stupid. He looked at me like I was from Mars. Then I tried mixing flax seed into his pasta sauce. HAHA. Yeah right. Then I cut up a real chicken cutlet to make it look like nuggets- nope. I even got out ice cube trays and gave him a whole flippin buffet to pick from and he just blinked at me and asked me why I even bother. Ok, he didn’t ask me that. But I knew that was what he was thinking. Yes and I’ve told him everything from he needs to grow, to pick food that is colorful, to let’s play a game, to I’ll give you a sticker, to just take a “no thank you bite”, to just-take-a-bite-of-it-and-i’ll-give-you-a-jelly-bean, to leveling with him and saying

“Look. If you don’t eat, you’re going to end up in the hospital.” To which he asked me, “Which hospital.” <<—and that is where I almost broke down in tears because in that moment I looked at his eyes and I heard “Bring it on, woman.” Oh dear, this is going to be much more difficult than I imagined. Thanks a lot, Parenting magazine!

So. Today is day 5 and we’re putzing along slowly. I’ll keep you all updated on how it turns out but I’ll leave you with a funny thought. Yesterday as I was making dinner so was my starving son. He was cooking in his play kitchen. He brought me a sampler platter of what he was making and when I asked what it was he told me,

“This is noodle and frosting and pancake soup with banana fries” Then he kind of stared at me with these big “Do-you-want-me-to-make-this-any-clearer” look. I know we’re both thinking this doesn’t need to be this difficult. I told him I’d have to find a recipe. Ha. I guess I’m going to need to get a little more creative than I thought here.