Friday, September 20, 2013

Parents of Picky Eaters: There is hope!

Meet the pickiest eater I've ever come in contact with: Maggie. 
She was pretty open to new flavors of baby food but once we started introducing real foods she started gagging and throwing up. Often. She hated chunks in her food so the higher stages of baby food were out of the question.  She did love all the crunchy little finger foods though.  So we kept offering her those. Eventually she didn't really want the baby food anymore, which was fine because I didn't want to buy it anymore.  That stuff is not cheap.  We'll ignore my obvious mistake in not making my own. Out of laziness and/or not thinking we didn't really keep offering her new foods, we just gave her what she liked, because at least she was eating.  She was doing ok until about 18 months old she refused to eat anything gooey, mushy, or "gross" in any way.  She was eating crackers, chips, dry cereal, popcorn, and milk.  For a while it was almost exclusively milk.  Any attempted introduction of new food resulted in monumental tantrums. I had to chose my battles, for my own sanity, and that was not one I chose then. I had other things to deal with, like getting her to walk, and interact in any small way with other children, and.... yea, you know, it was a long list.

The tides have changed. This is my recent battle of choice. We've progressed slowly over the last 2 years, adding juice and smoothies, apples and carrots, because there were some really awful constipation problems.  Now, Maggie is reeeeeeeeally good at compromising and bargaining.  She'll do almost anything to get what she wants. If I can get what I want out of the situation too, I figure it's a win-win. She's also big into making Mommy and Daddy proud. Which makes me so happy!  So now she's discovered the benefits of trying new things. Sometimes she hates it, but she still gets what she wants, ie, another cup of milk or a bite of Mommy's candy bar.  Sometimes she just gets to brag about trying new things, which is fun too. And sometimes she even finds new favorite foods.

Here she is trying watermelon at Grandma Ralph's house. She ended up eating probably a quarter of that watermelon over the next few days. 
She now loves peanuts and fresh peas, discovered she does not like tomatoes, and is willing to try any type of drink, chip, or candy.  She'd have quesadillas every day if I let her.  I was seriously so happy when she wanted to eat a normal kid food.  There is now enough variety in her food choice that I don't have to bring food to a restaurant.  We can usually find her something off the menu.  YAY!! I'm seriously so happy. Making sure your kid eats right and gets enough X nutrients is stressful, and almost impossible when they are so picky.  I am so glad this phase is coming to a close. On to the next one...

Preschool.  A wonderful 3 hour break for my day, and often during Brooks' morning nap.  I get to do dishes and laundry, blogging and sewing, and my favorite - I usually get a shower! That didn't happen very often during the summer. :$ 

Brandon is wondering if maybe we should hold her back a year because she'll be one of the youngest in her grade.  Opinions? He said he had a hard time sometimes being a young one as well.  I don't want to make school unnecessarily difficult for her. Luckily I've still got a year before that decision needs to be made. I know she definitely won't need the help academically, but maybe socially...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer Fun

I was honestly dreading summer. I was so worried about having to spend all day with both my kids. That may sound awful, but I need this break while Maggie's at school.  I give the biggest kudos to those who homeschool.  You are made of stronger stuff than I. I love my children, but being their mom is my full time job. And by full time I mean 24/7.  Every few weeks I'll take a few hours and go out on a date or have a girls night and I get to be away from my beautiful kiddos.  But almost all the time it's us. The Maggie, Brooks and Mommy team. And what would I do without my fabulous husband? I would be a disaster. Even more kudos go out to single parents. I am so grateful I have a helpful, loving husband. And he's handsome to boot!

Anyway.... thought summer would be awful, turns out it wasn't.  YAY! We had lots of fun outings with family and friends. Here is a barrage of pictures to prove what fun we had in no particular order:

Learning the joys of a squirt gun.  She most liked squirting herself, but found great enjoyment in getting other people wet as long as their reaction was over the top.

Playing at the beach.  Brooks was learning how sand feels....with his mouth. 

Touching sea anemones at the Pacific Science Center with Daddy and Auntie Michelle.

Loving on a lollipop at her birthday party. (She's 4 now! Crazy.) There was a bouncy castle and pinata as well. Lots of fun!

Getting free slurpees on 7/11

Picking plums off our plum tree. We also went to a friends house and picked tangerines.  The picking was made much easier for her when some of the branches broke off the tree and she could just sit on the ground and feel through the leaves to find the fruit.  She really enjoyed it.

Shopping next to Brooks. He LOVES her! Now that he can crawl he just follows her around the house trying to see what she's doing.  The fact that he pulls her hair and takes her toys means that she's still not a huge fan of him being near her.  She does like to talk to him and about him though.  We're making slow and steady progress.

The inevitable eggs. You'll see them pop up in a number of the pictures.  Yes, she still loves them.  Luckily we have moved past the obsessed phase.  I am so SO glad that's over. There were a couple months at the beginning of the summer where she would only talk about and play with eggs, screaming and throwing tantrums if we tried to get her to play with or talk about anything else.  Through a few days of almost constant screaming and crying we established rules.  She was allowed to play with them for only a few hours every day.  This evolved into: if she was obedient she would be able to play with them, and if not she had to wait until tomorrow.  Now, they are still fun for her, but they don't entertain her for hours like before.  And she rarely chooses them when asked what she wants to do.  She's moved to reading books again.  Which is good. And so tiring.  She loves the ones that have been brailled. Which is good. She needs to be practicing more with braille. It's also mind numbing since we only have so many books that have braille. At least I get to interact positively with her. And I've learned that this too shall pass and we will move on to the next fixation.  

Back to the adorable pictures.  She went down a waterslide for the first time, and very much enjoyed swimming.  Though after our first adventure, she now knows "I have to wear floaties when we go swimming so I don't sink." She brought an egg in, was standing on the stairs and when it floated away she jumped after it. And did it again in the hot tub. Which was just deep enough in the center that she couldn't reach.  Nerve wracking. But we're good now that we have the floaties!

Ball pit. So much fun!! Brooks loved it, Maggie loved it. They spent a good half hour in there before we had to move on and go get some lunch.  Maggie tried to count all the balls. I think she got to a hundred and twenty something before realizing she wasn't getting anywhere.

Riding the quad with Daddy.  As you can see by the ridiculous grin on her face, she absolutely loved it.

Mini golfing with family.  She could still use a little practice.  :)

Helping Daddy wash the car.  She loved spraying him with the hose.

And this last weekend she went on a Daddy Daughter Campout and they had a great time.  This is her feeling the fire. (Ok, so this picture is actually in our backyard around a little firepit we borrowed from a friend to make some s'mores, but I'm sure this is exactly what it was like. Though I can't really say since I was at home with Brooks eating ice cream and watching chick flicks.)
As you can see, lots of fun, and lots of new experiences.  My belief is just go out and do it.  Do the things you want to, but make sure to find ways to help your kids experience them too. I am sad summer is over, but I'm also glad I have a bit of time for myself again.  Hoorah! for Brooks napping at the same time Maggie is in school!! Now, lets keep this up so I can actually mop the floor.