Monday, June 27, 2011

Unpopular Opinion #3: Feeding a Toddler Is the Worst Part of Parenting



feeding a toddler


Those who have been reading this blog for long enough know that the Babby and I had a rough start when it came to breastfeeding. As in a four month long rough start that had me quitting at least once - a break that lasted until a bottle of pumped milk curdled, ew - and plenty of extreme mega barfs due to the fact that the Babby could breastfeed without making ANY swallowing sounds, consequently overeating. For real, one of our NICU nurses used to call her a "stealth swallower."

Eventually the Babby and I both got the hang of things. First supplemental bottles were phased out, then on her first birthday, pumping was phased out. She had at some point stopped taking bottles altogether, but I kept pumping. Duh. For a while, things were smooth sailing in the feeding the baby department. Nursing on demand, maybe a sippy of water now and then. And then finger food. I could deal with finger food.

But now? The Babby eats like a regular little person eats. Now I required, at least once a day since breakfast is simple and lunch is a nice vegan meal at daycare, to prepare something like dinner. And furthermore, to make sure that it is balanced and healthy and, most importantly, that the Babby actually eats it instead of ignoring it, rubbing it into the scratch marks on the table, or picking it up, holding it out to me, and screaming until I take it away. Dinnertime is my least favorite time. The BabbyDaddy is usually not home. The Babby is quite picky. And I'm just not into food.

Confession: When I only had me to feed, living in Costa Rica without many responsibilities other than a piddling amount of writing work, I ate the same thing just about every day. All the food groups were included. I just had no interest in variety or bothering with fussy ingredients.

I like eating. I hate cooking. Which is funny because almost everyone I know has at least a passing interest in the gustatory arts. I wouldn't mind if Kellog made a cereal that would meet my every nutritional need - and could be served hot in the wintertime. Or food in pill form, like science fiction has told me I ought to have access to by now. Oh, I like food at restaurants and at parties, but generally, the whole food prep, eating, washing up thing seems like a big waste of time during which I could be doing other things. Fun, useful, productive things. I like smoothies because my Magic Blender lets me drink them right out of the container in which I blended them.

Which is why I cringe when the Babby's dinnertime rolls around. Pretty much every day. Sometimes I feel like a bad mama because especially now in the summertime a lot of dinners have been a peanut butter sandwich, cut yellow pepper, fruit, some lettuce, and a cheese stick. Which I think hits the basics, nutrition-wise, but I know so many people who spend their evening trying new recipes and inducting their children into that gustatory world that is just so foreign to me. If I wasn't working? Then yeah, maybe I would be more consistent about making the effort to get a "real" meal into my growing girl. Or if I was independently wealthy I would take her each night to the finest restaurants for a tour of worldly cuisine. Because, like I said, I do enjoy eating.

Am I alone in this? Is there anyone out there who, like me, feels that kitchens are most useful in other people's houses and restaurants? Who thinks feeding a toddler is the most painful part of parenting? Fess up!

11 comments:

  1. I feel your pain! I also love eating, but hate cooking. But M's three square meals falls on me five days a week. I survive by rotating the same dishes at mealtime: veggie omelet or oats for breakfast; soup or cheesy brown rice with broccoli for lunch; quesadilla or tandoori chicken for dinner. It helps that kids are creatures of habit and never seem to get tired of eating the same thing. But I do dread the cooking part!

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  2. WOMAN, YOU ARE A GENIUS!

    Seriously, our daycare provider has a lunch schedule. I should just make a rotating dinner schedule that hits all the basics, nutrition-wise, and roll with it. You're right, that the Babby would be plenty happy with a menu of things she likes.

    (So would I, hee.)

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  3. I was gonna say, you're AWESOME getting ALL 5 groups in one meal! I'm happy if I get 3. I figure, as long as we rotate through all 5 during the day, we're set. Tonight's dinner, par example, may very well be mac n cheez with frozen veggies mixed in. Just cook the veggies with the pasta, super-easy! A little fruit on the side is never passed up, and we're golden. Matt's planning on a dinner schedule for the weeks I'm away- we'll probably even cook some freezer-meals this weekend, making it even easier.

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  4. I find that if we don't plan ahead then Cad will only eat carbs. If I put broccoli on anything he'll eat it so we make pita pizzas with broccoli, quinoa with broccoli, we also will do smoothie meals in the summer which I make with kefir, carrots, and berries. We try to have a rotating schedule of about 10 meals, but admittedly, I find it's hard to stick to when we're in and out of the house all day.
    I love love love to cook, but not when the babe is here, he just gets too underfoot for me to immerse myself in the joy of it.

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  5. IDEA! Tonight's creation ended up being mac n cheez with tomato-based lentil soup mixed in- SUPER TASTY!!! The tomato-lentil soup was from a huge crock-pot batch I had made when it was still cold out. If you hate the whole cooking/cleaning part, you could take one day on a weekend and cook a few batches of stuff, freeze them all in meal-size containers, and then simply reheat at your leisure. I LOVE finding freezer meals when I don't feel like cooking.

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  6. I used to love cooking...now I dread it, unless Dan is home and engaging Nora so I can cook. It's all, "Mommmmmiieeee! Can I get uuuup? Can I seeee?," and teetering on the edge of the chair to get a view...then when we get to the table, we have to review the Sesame Street litany of Super Food songs, and talk about how Elmo tried it. Yes, she will try a variety of foods now, but it's a LOT of work, and some days I miss the nights when Dan and I said, "let's do CEREAL tonight" like we were rebels or something. The slow cooker is my best friend these days - and yes, I have some great vegetarian recipes for it, too.

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  7. Oh yeah? Share! I have a giant slow cooker and I'd love to start using it again.

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  8. Feeding my toddlers turned me and my hubby into ugly parents... we still try to block it out. "Who were those cranky parents?" The joy of parenthood being such out into oblivion. But I do like cooking and trying new recipes as long as its easy.

    Also I wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving your lovely comment. It was really nice.

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  9. Can do. Will scan them in and send 'em over.

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  10. Hey, they did make a cereal that covers all nutritional needs - it's called oatmeal, preferably in steel-cut form (blech to me, Alpha Hubby loves it). I think as long as you are feeding her nutritionally sound foods, what's the big deal?? Peppers are awesome, fruit, peanut butter, cheese - that's a great meal! Her little girl palate doesn't really need grown up foods yet?!

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  11. Toddlers like finger foods, too.

    LisaDay

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