My cousin recently started an instagram account, @feedingmylittlefoodie, about her baby-led weaning journey. It’s delightful. She shares pictures, stories, health tips and best of all, simple, delicious, nutritious recipes.
Chock full of things my child will not eat.
Oh the woes of the mother of a toddler.
First, there’s the initial challenge of trying to figure out what he will eat to begin with. It changes daily but it seems to have a general theme: fruit, bread, dairy. Nothing touching, nothing combined. Today he ate sweet potatoes, which he has pretended don’t exist for the last three weeks, at least, but only if they were separated from the rest of the food in my bowl (because his pre-separated, cooler ones were…. who knows?!).
There’s the challenge of wasting food. In pursuit of balance and harmony, I try to offer 3 or 4 things — we’ve been using a 6-cup muffin tin to depending-on-the-day success — and more often than not he chooses one and the rest goes in the garbage, resulting in quite the opposite of balance or harmony, both in the house and in his body. Tonight, the muffin tin was set up like a mouse buffet: just a tiny taste of each thing, to see what he might gravitate towards. Which, as you already know, is whatever was in my bowl, but parcelled out. Again.
But still, gotta rise to the challenge of not assuming he won’t eat something new (or old) because he hasn’t (or has) in the past. Which mirrors the classroom teacher’s challenge of not assuming the child who has failed every math test so far this year is going to fail the one coming up. Because she likely will. But where will that thinking get us all?
And now add the challenge of choosing foods that are environmentally and nutritionally sound, meaning ethically sourced meat and dairy, reduced to a reasonable amount (apparently the countries that drink more milk have more osteoporosis? I refuse to try to site that right now because I feel jaded by an internet that can prove anything these days, but calcium matters) balanced with plant based nutrients in every way possible. See above for current toddler preferred diet, including… no?… plants. Are blueberries considered plants? I think only sort of in this context. Especially if grown with pesticides?!
Sometimes he lets me sneak spinach into his smoothie. Those are the good days.
Then there was the morning of my spinach-banana pancakes, made at 6am so my husband could join us (as if the sentimental angle might help convince my unwitting toddler?) of which he took one bite and I still had to be nice to him for the rest of the day anyways.
Which brings us to challenge number five – don’t take it personally. #numberoneruleofparenting #isanyoneactuallycapableofthat? It’s not always easy to breathe deeply and remind myself that the extra driving in traffic for certain ingredients + free time given up + extra expense + cooking time = toddler still won’t eat it, is no problem at all. After all, he’s learning self regulation, and that his no counts for something.
Every now and again I fall into a real ‘omg our child is going to die’ woeful, pre-mourning cry and my husband has to say, ‘there, there’ in his best comforting voice and attempt to bring some reality into the one I have rewritten to be less based on fact.
‘It takes months to die of scurvy,’ he tells me. Which only sort of helps.
(Did you think I was going to end this delightful monologue with a solution or some kind of happy, full circle delight? Sorry. We’re in this food struggle together now. Tomorrow is a new day. Good luck to us all.)