It didn’t occur to me I was doing anything particularly amazing around eating until I started talking to other moms, who seemed to be a little amazed at how I’m feeding my 11 month old.
But first, a quick comment on What’s Happening In the World Right Now.
The world can be a horrible, cruel place and at the same time it can be wonderful and abundant. These are both truths. There is not a half-way point - there is only choosing which truth to put in your personal foreground.
There has been tragedy here in America recently, brought both by weather and by human malice. I don’t know what to say except in both cases to focus my eyes on the every-day humble heroism of the average human being instead of the evil that went before it.
Thoughts and prayers, actions and results are what we need right now and I hope, really hope, it results in some real life-saving gun control legislation. No one else’s daughter needs to grow up without a mom because of loose gun laws.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Ok, one more thing. Puerto Rico doesn’t need to try to make Trump look bad, he does that all on his own.
Ok and really lastly, leave Melania alone people. She’s doing the best she can, and I think she’s doing a pretty good job.
Alight back to MY little life. Raising two kids to be honest, kind, and honorable. Also, good healthy eaters.
How am I doing this you ask? I let them feed themselves.
Ba ba baaaa.
No, they're not slaving away over a hot stove making chicken pot pie's, I'm not THAT crazy.
But look people, this little guy will put ANYTHING in his mouth right now. Dog food, fuzz from the dog blanket, fuzz from the dog’s butt, my shoes, Ellie’s shoes, my phone, the toilet, the toilet paper, the garbage bag, the garbage IN the bag…need I go on?
Do you think he’s going to stop and refuse to eat the carrots, potatoes, grapes, bananas, pea’s, celery and asparagus I’m cooking for him?
I’m kind of using nature in my favor here. For awhile, he will literally put anything in his mouth I put on the highchair tray. (I tried plates. He just eats them. Now everything goes directly ON the tray.)
I did this with Ellie too and she eats pretty much anything we give her. Around two she started stating what she liked and didn’t like. I did two things. 1) I didn’t pay attention to that and fed her whatever we were eating anyway but 2) if she really didn’t want to eat the broccoli, she had the choice to eat peas or carrots too. That was HER choice. Broccoli, peas, or carrots. She always picked one.
To sum up:
1) GIVE IT TO THEM: starting around 9-10 months old they will want to start feeding themselves. They will also put EVERYTHING in their mouth. So use it. Give them everything you’re eating. (Ok, now start eating healthier!)
2) GIVE IT TO THEM: their tastes will wax and wane. Keep giving it to them (whatever you’re eating) and if they really fuss - no fights, just give them the ‘option’ of another vegetable or fruit if you're getting desperate.
Point is to bend like a willow, or you'll crack like a nut.
Toddlers LOVE making decisions. They don’t know yet you’re stacking the board against them.
3) GIVE IT TO THEM: sometimes I make the weird mistake of not giving Ellie something I don’t like. I try to remember to give her a range of options, especially at a restaurant.
4) GIVE iT TO THEM: people need to be exposed to something 12-14 times before they like it. I tell that to Ellie when she doesn’t like something. And then I tell her we’ll try the beans another time, and to eat her….carrots or peas or avocado or whatever healthy vegetable she’s into that week.
5) GIVE IT TO THEM: sensing a theme here? She eats what I eat. If I’m eating chips, she wants chips. If I’m eating grapes or watermelon, she wants that too.
My only REAL rule at meal times is that if she doesn’t like something, she has to at least try it. And if she really doesn’t want it, we substitute with something as healthy. But she has to TRY.
Benji, of course, would eat dryer-lint covered mashed pickles and turmeric balls if I gave them to him right now.
Anyway, that’s what I’m doing and you might be doing this already. If you are, high five! If not, and you have a fussy eater, try it out! What have you got to lose?