life

Meal Time with Toddlers

One of the greatest (and scariest) things as a parent is watching your child become more independent – except for meal time. There are so many things about toddler meal time that just make it a fun and exciting adventure every time you sit down to the table, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks you’re never entirely sure what you’re going to get.  We have been very lucky with my daughter, she is a good eater and has been from start.  She was trying to eat foods at 3 months old….so we let her (that’s what baby lead weaning is all about right?!?!) but that brought a whole new set of challenges to parenthood.  

There are some very interesting things that happen when you allow a child to feed herself and most of it has to do with where the food ends up.  When the Munchkin started getting annoyed with meal time around 10 months we started giving her the spoon/fork to feed herself or just pick it up with her fingers and that’s resulted in finding food in various places, especially when we go to change her for bedtime.  She’s had cheerios in her diaper, yogurt in her eye, peanut butter in her hair, and peas in her ears.  It’s gotten to the point where dinner time almost always ends in a bath now because she attempts to feed herself and it tends to go horribly wrong from an adult standpoint.

She has also become aware of the fact that there are dogs in the house who will conveniently eat anything she drops or throws to them.  As a result of her meddling the dogs have put on a few pounds and for the time being I’m really not sure about what to do about it, because how else would I keep the floors clean if they weren’t around to eat up all the food that falls to the ground or clean her high chair when she’s done?

Lastly, she can’t communicate with words.  She’s saying some words but she’s not reciting the Gettysburg Address just yet.  This makes it difficult to decipher exactly why she isn’t eating something that she ate just fine yesterday.  We’ve been very lucky with the Munchkin, she eats pretty much anything and everything we give her.  She’ll never quite give up on a food, she’ll try it and spit it out multiple times and then you can get her to try it the next day.  I’m hoping this trait sticks around but it can make it difficult to understand why she doesn’t want to eat something, especially when it’s something she’s had multiple times before so this leads to a whole lot of me sounding stupid trying to get to the bottom of it: “Mommy doesn’t understand, does your mouth hurt? Are you not hungry? Do you not like green eggs and ham today?”
If you have ever wondered what it was like to feed a toddler, go look at some abstract art and imagine talking to the Swedish Chef and then I think you’d have some clue of what meal time looks like in our house!

life

Dinner Prep Obstacle Course

If any of you have toddlers who can now begin to entertain themselves and you try to cook dinner at home most nights then you will feel my pain on this one.  

The Mr. can cook but he can mainly cook comfort food or short-order cook type stuff, you’ll survive on it but different flavors and a variety of vegetables is not on his radar so the majority of the cooking is my job.  I also prepare the menu and do the grocery shopping which means I am in control of the types of food that come in the house and I’m ok with this responsibility (it also means that the Mr. is responsible for the majority of kitchen cleaning, yay division of labor!) but being the momma means that the Munchkin likes to spend her time with me in the kitchen while I’m cooking.

Here I am minding my own business and in walks (*gasp*) the Munchkin to see what mommy is doing in the kitchen.  Content that she’s in the same room with me she now goes back and forth to her favorite cabinets to pull out various kitchen things (pots, pans, lids, bowls, measuring cups, etc…).  I love her engaging with the pots or the pans and being with me in the kitchen.  I think it’s good for her to play with things, especially playing with things that don’t have buttons or make noises other than what she makes with them because even though I am a “techie” person there is value in the low-tech.  Her new favorite experiment is taking pot lids and throwing them to watch them spin and wobble until they stop and then she throws them again.  I tell ya, this kid is working on understanding physics.

The problem is that these cabinets of hers that she loves are right in front of the sink and the kitchen is not huge and spacious like the ones you see on HGTV, it’s a normal old house kitchen.  I’ve gotten good at being aware of the Munchkin now that she’s gotten mobile but now I have to worry about all the things she’s leaving all over the floor, needless to say I’m getting more nimble by the day!  It’s a lot harder when I’m also trying to manage a hot stove at the same time.  Luckily she’s not too interested in what’s going on with the stove just yet because she just wants to make noise with her kitchen instruments or an obstacle course for mommy.  
There is no big message or revelation about life with this post it’s just an observation about how I now have to add constantly watching for trip hazards to my daily life, add one more mess to the messy life of a working mom!