Wednesday, December 03, 2008

like boot camp for the "real world", except with better perks

One of the "big things" in my life is feeding the kids. I worry like crazy over whether they're getting enough milk, protein, vegetables, fiber, etc. (except I never worry about fruit, because our family ate 3 lbs of clementines and 2 lbs of bananas in the last 24 hours, and no, I'm not exaggerating). Neil adopts a more laissez-faire approach--if they're not dead, then they're obviously getting enough food (maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but let's just say that when we were trying to get Juliet to drink cow's milk, I was the one injecting milk down her throat with an eyedropper in order to keep her hydrated).

Anyway, as the kids go in and out of growth spurts and likes and dislikes, which seems to be on an alarmingly frequent basis, I'm always having to readjust my strategic plan. For instance, Abigail is just fine without a morning snack, and she always has been. She'll ask for one out of habit, but if you skip it...she doesn't care.

On the other hand, Juliet started eating her fingers on the way home from the post office today--half an hour after her regular snacktime. And no, I am not kidding you. She was seriously EATING HER FINGERS. As in she would stick them in her mouth, bite down, and then scream frantically, then try again. It was really scaring Abigail, poor kid. Sudden Carnivorous Toddler Terrifies Child In Uncomfortably Close Proximity.

As soon as we got home, she devoured two bananas and a slice of bread (and usually she doesn't even like bananas). When Juliet gets cranky and whiny, you KNOW it is because she's hungry--otherwise she just doesn't cry. But boy howdy, that kid knows down to the minute when it's food time, and if you haven't put a snack in front of her by 10:30, or lunch by 12 sharp...she'll start eating her fingers.

Abigail, on the other hand, is at the stage requiring much coercion and craftiness unknown to the three-year-old mind (and yes, I had Mammy from Gone With the Wind in mind when I wrote that sentence--you know, the part where she's getting Scarlett to stuff herself before the barbeque at Twelve Oaks). To be honest, I dread mealtimes--it's a constant negotiation and power struggle, try as I may. She'll eat "bunny food" just fine (carrots, apples, and lettuce), but most other things require some serious wiles.

So here's my latest strategy--themes that appeal to the three-year-old psyche. For instance, yesterday we had "Orange Lunch!!!" (you have to say it with lots of enthusiasm). Translation: carrots, oranges, and cheddar cheese. Went down like a charm. Today it was "mermaid sandwiches," or tuna fish (laced liberally with chopped celery and pickles), because didn't you know that mermaids LOVE tuna fish? It's practically a requirement if you're wearing Ariel underwear that you also eat tuna fish for lunch.

So don't let anyone tell you that being a stay-at-home mom is a waste of a college degree (or two or three), because man, there is some serious planning and strategizing and creativeness going on at mealtimes (let alone the talents required to run the rest of the motherhood game). Talk about constantly thinking on your feet and being ready for whatever's thrown at you! It's like boot camp for interview training--if you can handle being a mom, you can deal with practically any question or any scenario.


Mary Beth said...

I was sniggering so hard when I read about Juliet eating her fingers. Quite apart from your skills at strategizing and cajoling, you have a real gift for humorous writing.

Crapos said...

That's just awesome. All I have to say.

Meghan said...

I don't suppose you remember Seymour's dinosaur meat sandwiches? Josh hated tuna fish, but he would wolf down dinosaur.

Nate and Nicole said...

I LOVE this post. I'm going to have to remember it when Will's a little older and pickier.

Kritta22 said...

Oh no! I have to be creative with eating too!! In camp where I used to work we had different colors of the, yellow, green, red and free day. Mermaid day is soo more creative.

lanada said...

i think juliet and david would get along...assuming they were fed regularly, of course.

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