Toddler Fare?



January 15, 2000

When Zoe was born there were several things promised myself:

1. No TV as baby-sitter.
2. No Barney.
3. Nothing Disney.
4. I would nurse until she got teeth.
5. No junk food.

Ugh. I'm depressing myself.

I am testament to the fact that you should never swear these types of things in advance of plunging into the unknown abyss of parenthood.

In case you're wondering, when you leave the hospital with your little bundle of joy, there is no instruction manual. OK, I don't usually read directions, and Chuck never does, but a little FAQ sheet might have been helpful.

Yes, there are books galore. I've read a lot of them. There are mom groups. Been to a few, but not really my cup of tea. There's your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, aunt, girlfriend. They've had kids. They have advice. It's all well and good. Some of the advice might be good but we each have our own path we want to take. We each want to be a certain type of parent.

For me I thought it was going to mean not doing any of the things on the list I made above, plus probably a few other things.

We'll start with #1. No TV as baby-sitter. Well, I've already testified to that failure, and the failures of #2 and #3.

Look. I work. Full time. I am also a mother, wife, and I wear about 50 other hats, on an almost-daily basis. Cut me some slack here.

OK, as far as the nursing thing goes, it was no bed of roses for the first two weeks. Then we got the hang of it and we both enjoyed it. It was working for us. I figured I'd keep doing it until either I couldn't or she got teeth and started biting.

Well, the day Zoe turned three months old, two teeth popped in. The two bottom ones. Two teeth. Same day. It wasn't a happy day around here. OK, I knew she'd get teeth eventually, but I didn't expect it would be quite so soon.

OK, I figured I'd keep nursing until she got the top ones too.

Fast forward exactly one month, to the day. The day Zoe turned four months the top two appeared.

But wait, she's only four months old. I'm not done nursing. I adopted a wait and see attitude. If she didn't bite I'd keep nursing.

Well, she bit me a couple of times and I lived. I nursed her until she was a year old.

OK, then there's the junk food thing.

I decided I was going to make all my own baby food. It's not exactly rocket science. I could handle it. I handled a very busy full time job dealing with the needs of 150 whining adults. How difficult could it be to make delicious, nutritious food my daughter would eat. I have this to say about that: HA!

As you may or may not know, when you start feeding a baby you introduce one food at a time. You start with the orange veggies. One at a time for a few days each. Then you add another. Then it's the green ones, best as I can remember.

OK, how hard could it be to boil up some carrots, puree them, and give them to my pride and joy?

Well, it's not hard, but it very depressing when you discover that the fruit of your loins would much rather eat the stuff that comes out of jars then when you make with your own two hands.

I dealt with this blow to my culinary ego by only buying organic "la di da" babyfood. She was happy. I was coping with my failure.

Fast forward a couple of years.

My daughter has a great repertoire of foods she'll eat. She'll taste anything, and likes most everything, with perhaps the exception of artichokes. She likes the heart but not the leaves. No biggie.

Here's the thing. She's a bit older and can competently, and fairly neatly, feed herself. She needs to have snacks. She's a grazer. Most little kids are, I think.

So, I buy snack foods for her. Yogurt. Scooby Snacks (like gummy bears but less chewy and made with fruit juice). Little packages of carrots with little packets of ranch dressing. Those little crackers with the orange cheese that you spread on them. Mini-boxes of raisins. Character cookies (Rug Rats, or my most recent purchase, Toy Story II cookies). Lunchables (OK, those aren't snacks but she likes to have them for lunch periodically). And things like that. Small. Portable. Some nutritional value but still fun for her to eat. I mean, we're not all wheat germ and granola around here.

Here's the thing.

I noticed that these little snack things were disappearing from the fridge and cupboards faster than a 3 1/2 year old should be consuming them. Especially since things like cookies go on an upper shelf of the upper cupboard and Zoe can't open the fridge by herself yet.

What was going on here?

Well, something told me to have a little chat with my hubby. He's a snack monster. Little nibbly things are right up his alley. But apparently only the little nibblies with the lowest nutritional value.

He's mad for the stuff I buy for her. Give him a Woody cookie and he'll be your friend for life.

I guess toddler food isn't just for toddlers anymore.

Until next time...

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