Food Logic: A Toddler Perspective

My son:

Will not eat avocado…but will eat play-doh;

Will not eat any leafy green…except grass;

Will not eat green pepper…but will eat olives;

Will not eat shepherd’s pie…but will eat dirt. And will pick the individual peas and corn out of the shepherd’s pie to eat. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect other kids pick the peas out and eat the rest;

Will not eat potato…unless in the form of a french fry (ok, no big mystery there);

Will not eat salmon…but will eat lemon. Happily sucks on a straight-up lemon slice. Husband’s perspective: At least we don’t have to worry about scurvy :-/

 

 

 

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A Moment in Parenting: Spoon

Kidd0: Sticks hand in yogurt, pulls out blueberry, eats it. His expression turns to one of great distress as he holds out yogurty fingers, “Wipe it off? Wipe it off!”

Me: “Wipe my fingers, please?”

Kiddo: “Wipe fingers pleeeease?!”

Me: Wipes fingers. Hands Kiddo a spoon (the colour of his choosing, naturally), “Use the spoon and your fingers won’t get sticky.”

Kiddo: Picks up spoon, takes one successful bite of yogurt…drops spoon, reaches hand into yogurt, grabs blueberry…”Wipe it off. Wipe it off!!”

Me: Deep breath…

Repeat

Toddler TV Time

I heard the recommendations everywhere. No screen time, except maybe Skype, for the first two years. My family doctor brought it up. It seemed every parent I met had something to say on the subject of TV and ‘screen time’. (Usually, they were checking their phone while talking about it.) I read the studies for myself too (the few I could find) and, though I found them underwhelming at best, I was left with a nagging terror that my child would have some kind of social or language delay. Notwithstanding the underwhelmingness of the studies, I would then spend the rest of my life wondering if I could have prevented all his problems with just a little more eye contact and a little less TV.

Thus, to avert disaster, I would be the world’s most interactive parent. We would play on the floor together, I would talk to him, read to him, make as much eye contact as possible. I would not turn on the TV…I had the best intentions.

I lasted, maybe, a week.

We were very lucky when it came to the first nine months with Kiddo in that we both got to be home. I was not working when Kiddo was born, so Hubby got to take all the parental leave that would otherwise have gone to me. These things are never flawless, however. In those first few weeks Hubby had to go into work here and there to tie up some loose ends.

The first day I was home alone with Kiddo I soon had Gilmore Girls playing on TV.

By this time, I had already seen every episode of Gilmore Girls (more than once). This was not about my entertainment. It was more like my sanity depended on having something familiar and reasonably upbeat going on around me. Before long, Gilmore Girls was regular background noise, even when Hubby was home. To this day, Kiddo will stop and look if he hears the theme song.

At first, my husband was resistant to the TV-in-the-background trend developing in our house. Then curling season came around.

Matches from the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts quickly replaced Gilmore Girls as the constant background feature and will forever remind me of Kiddo’s first winter. Eventually, (around the end of curling season that year) the TV stopped being on quite so much, but we never did put strict limits on it.

Kiddo is now old enough to have some opinion about what he watches on television. Alas, the days of one Gilmore Girls episode after another are gone. Now it’s Paw Patrol, Puffin Rock, Thomas & Friends, and Dinosaur Train.

Trains, cars, and trucks of all shapes and sizes are a hit, but mostly Thomas comes out on top. Lately, though, Kiddo has developed a love not of the fully-animated Thomas & Friends episodes, but of the many youtube videos people have created with their basement train sets. Some of which are over an hour long. Did you know people do this with their time? I sure didn’t.

I’m left with two questions:

1) Who decides to spend that much time not only setting up these elaborate sets (I knew there were plenty of train aficionados out there), but also creating, acting out, and narrating their own storylines with those train sets? Whoever they are, they are clearly onto something. The video I linked to above has over 7.5 million views.

2) What is it that makes these videos so much more captivating to Kiddo than the professionally written and produced animated Thomas & Friends series? The folks making the youtube videos must have this answer. Personally, I would much rather watch animated Thomas.

You might also be fascinated to learn there are hours worth of videos available depicting the activity of (real) fire trucks, ambulances, excavators, and…wait for it…garbage trucks. Kiddo likes the fire trucks best, of course, but is also perfectly happy to watch 30 minutes of garbage collection–no narration or anything, just garbage trucks doing their thing. Again, who thought to create such a video and took the time to film, edit and upload it to youtube?

All that to say, there’s a fair about of ‘screen time’ in our house. There’s also lots of outdoor time, colouring time, reading time, Lego time, Play-Doh time, and (real-life) train table time.

In case there might be any other guilt-ridden, TV watching parents out there: My son is fine. His language is great. He is social. He is not fat (despite eating more than I do most days). Thus far, it would seem TV has not melted his brain cells or turned him into a flabby sloth. Phew.

 

Cat vs Kid: Part 2

Kiddo: “I want to pet cat.”

I look over at the cat, sitting on the warm floor vent, minding her own business. I should really leave her alone. But Kiddo asked so nicely. It’s important to reinforce these things.

I scoop up the bemused cat and carry her toward Kiddo. She realizes what’s up and stiffens. We get to within Kiddo’s reach, “Remember,” I say, “quiet and gentle.”

Kiddo reaches out and carefully rubs the cat’s back. The cat seems to relax a little. This is going so well…

Kiddo thinks so too. He emits a high-pitched “Squeeeeeal!” of delight.

Claws dig into my arm. Furry limbs twist and squirm. I let go before blood is drawn. The cat escapes in a blur.

Kiddo in dismay, “Cat! Pet cat!”

Me: “The cat doesn’t want any more pets right now.”

Kiddo: “Cat come here!”

There are no winners of this round.

 

 

More Funny Happenings

1) My cat is judging my parenting skills

Kiddo is getting pretty good at ‘gently’ petting that cats. Ok it’s more of a whack, but he is learning that they don’t like the fur grabbing thing. Unfortunately, sometimes that grabby impulse is pretty strong:

After the inevitable hiss, it isn’t the baby who gets the stink eye. It’s me. I hear her thoughts bore into my brain: Control your offspring, human.

2) Hide the chocolate

There was a time when the baby didn’t recognize those dark-brown squares as food items. He has now figured out that if I’m eating it, he can too. And wants to. Since the chocolate I was eating was 70% cocoa, I assumed it would be too bitter for his taste. I’d give him a piece, he’d hate it. I would continue to munch chocolate without tiny hands trying to nab it.

I handed over a crumb. He put it in his mouth. A moment of contempation…

Big smile.

Crap.

Chocolate will now be consumed in secret.

3) Creepy crawly

You’ve probably heard this one before. It started in the shower. Baby asleep, time to myself, all is right with the world. I open my eyes, and there it is. A big, wiggly spider drifting down to the top of the shower curtain.

Freeze. Consider screaming for husband to come to the rescue. No. It’s just a spider. Spiders are good, they eat mosquitoes. Keep showering, everything is fine. Keep showering. Sneak a peek at spider.

Gasp. Where did it go?

There! Spindly, translucent-orange legs appear over the top of the curtain bar… crawling my way, barely hanging on to the condensation-covered bar.

Unhook removable shower head, edge to other side of shower.

I could spray it, maybe wash it down the drain…

Hmm, too many folds in the curtain for it to fall into and vanish, still wiggling.

Quick rinse. Exit shower.

Options: A) Never use shower again. There’s always sponge baths, and we might be moving soon anyway. B) Husband is still within screaming distance.

Option C it is:

Unnecessarily large wad of toilet paper,

Squish,

Flush,

Victory.

Insects don’t really bother me that much when I’m (and they are) outdoors. There’s just something about sharing the shower with crawly creatures that isn’t cool with me.

Two Kitties

There once were two kitties,

They lived in a house,

The house came with two humans to do their bidding,

The humans fed them, cleaned up after them, gave them attention according to their whims (the kitties’ whims, not the humans’. But you figured that).

All was right in the universe…

…until one day a third human appeared.

A tiny human,

A tiny, grabby, attention gobbling human,

The universe would never be the same.

Funny Happenings

1) Glimpse into my future:

My son is eleven months old. I can’t wait to communicate with him with more than gestures and exaggerated facial expressions. He makes lots of sounds including ‘mamama’, but he’s as likely to say it to the cat as me. ‘Bababa’ could mean bottle, but he’s also said it to my sneaker, so I think not. As I eagerly await the day he says his first word, with both meaning and intent, the universe reminds me there are pros and cons to every stage in life.

I was out walking the little guy and happened to pass a house getting a new roof. One of the construction workers was standing at the end of the driveway with a phone to his ear.

“Is mommy there?…let me talk to mommy…ok, buddy, give the phone to mommy.”

As I got closer I could hear the other end of the conversation.

“Yayayaya…ya…dada, ya!”

“Can you give the phone to mommy?”

“Pho, ya!”

“I need to talk to mommy, give the phone to mommy.”

“Yaya!”

At this point he sees my approach. And my smile. “Good luck with that,” I said.

He pulled the phone away from his ear with a smile expressing something between amusement and exasperation. “He’s two, just discovering his words…and the phone.”

Phone back to his ear, “I’ll call back later, ok?”

“Da, ya!

“Say bye bye…ok, love you, bye bye.”

Perhaps I should just enjoy where we are. Greater complexity (and fun) will come in due time.

2) The case of the two fridges:

We are moving. The date of the move came sooner than expected. This meant cleaning out the fridge and throwing away a lot of food. A shame, but part of the process. As it turns out, the fridge of a moving family goes through a few stages.

There’s the ‘don’t throw that away we might still eat it’ stage. This is where mysterious leftovers, some rarely-used condiments, and anything with freezer burn are removed.

Then we have the ‘all contents on the counter while I clean the inside for the first time in…a long time’ stage. Self explanatory. A few more not-likely-to-be-eaten items get thrown out here.

Eventually reality sets in and we have what I call the bachelor stage. Just under a week ago, I opened our fridge and found the following items:

Ham,

Cheese,

Bread,

Pickles,

Mayo,

Milk, and,

Beer.

By that night (the night before the big pack) only milk and beer remained. I call this the beer bare-necessities stage.

Another part of the moving process, at least for us, is a week in hotels while we wait for the moving truck to show up with our stuff. Our new home is an hour and half from the old one, but our stuff will be in the moving company’s hands for six days—assuming all goes according to (the current) plan. The delay is because the truck actually got here before us, and that caused all of our belongings to enter an interdimensional space for a while. That’s a military move for you.

Anyhoo.

We checked into our hotel in city number one (our city of origin, if you will). Something smelled funky in the vicinity of the mini-fridge. I looked. The previous occupants had left something very garlicy in there (my guess, about a week ago).

I threw the food out and called housekeeping to come clean the fridge. They wiped it with a damp rag and left. I cleaned it with white-citrus shampoo. The smell of rotting-garlic something-or-other lingered.

3) Internet from the ether:

Hotel number two (in city of destination). Smells great. Clean fridge. The pool includes a hot tub. Life is good.

Second night (tonight): power outage. We’re on the fifth floor with a non-functioning elevator—at least we weren’t in the elevator.

The internet is still working. Hmmm, I wish my home internet worked like that.