Like many parents, I strive to buy and prepare fresh, healthy local meals for my kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are still nights when a box of Annie’s, a hot dog (organic makes it healthy, right?) and carrot sticks make a meal, but generally I try to plan and provide quality foods for their growing bodies.
This is all well and good, but my toddler is a terrible eater.
First off, she is fundamentally opposed to sitting in her highchair or booster seat, so getting her to sit and eat is a struggle. I also use the word “eat” very liberally. She may sample our servings, but generally, they end up in her hair, painted on some surface, or fed to the dog. When she does ingest items, her selections are rarely nutritious, never balanced and only sometimes actual food products.
My first two kids were easy, I didn’t know what all my mom friends were complaining about, and I figured they had to be doing something wrong.
I upheld the mantra, “if you expose your kids to a great variety of healthy choices early, they become great eaters.”
My first two were a testament to that, eating any veggie or healthy recipe I concocted. My third child has made me eat my words, and those, combined with my silent self-righteousness, sure are bitter. Luckily, my toddler is healthy and growing as expected, though looking at her diet, I am not quite sure how.
It’s not all bad, my toddler does eat a variety of “foods.” Here are 5 things my toddler ate today:
While getting dressed this morning, my toddler took a bite of my deodorant. Don’t worry, I have already made the call to poison control hotline on two occasions (I switched brands, you see) and we are in the clear. I would like to say this was the first time, but… at least she has fresh breath?
2) Garlic hummus and kombucha.
I grouped these together because although odd, they are both edible items. My kid eats garlic hummus out of the container with a spoon. Daily. I buy multiple tubs of garlic hummus a week. She also requests kombucha daily, and although ginger is her favorite, she has never met a kombucha she didn’t like. We don’t let her have much (less than an ounce), but she drinks it, shudders and promptly asks for more. Between the intense garlic and fermented tea, her breath is now no longer fresh.
3) Car Seat Snack.
I would like to identify exactly what it is she was eating in the car, unfortunately, I am not totally sure. It was something she found in her car seat and devoured before I could get a second look. I am going to call this a win, because although said snack was certainly not fresh, it was something that I gave her to eat, so chances are it was at one time fit for human consumption.
This is a recent addition to her dietary repertoire, with the dawn of toilet training. She knows that she gets 3 M&Ms for every pee (though she will tell newcomers that she gets 4) and 5 M&Ms for every poop. This began as an effort to entice her to poop on the potty (the struggle is real) but never produced the desired effect. What it has done is encouraged her to pee in small volumes every 5-10 minutes in order to obtain the highest chocolate yield per fluid ounce of urine.
5) Dog food.
Many toddlers dabble in dog food, but my daughter devours it like it’s her J-O-B. She doesn’t just pick up kibbles and nibble them; she packs them deep in her jowls like a rodent and lets them slowly melt into a slimy, pile of mush. My partner and I have made it part of our routine to “check her cheeks” for stowaway kibbles, leaving our hands, her hands and most notably her breath with the pungent aroma of processed wild fowl bits. Yum. At least the dogs don’t seem to mind sharing.
So there you have it, my toddler’s diet in a nutshell. Of course, she eats other items, she loves hot dogs and will devour store bought pouches by the cartload at $2 a pop, but her eating habits are certainly not exemplary.
To all the moms who have dealt with picky eaters, my hat is off to you. I apologize for ever doubting your parental perseverance and may our kids share a tub of hummus on the first day of kindergarten.
To those of you who haven’t dealt with a picky eater, don’t judge, for someday you may have a picky child or grandchild and those judgmental thoughts may taste a lot like processed wild fowl bits.