How I’m Learning to Deal with Picky Eaters

I have a confession to make. Last week alone, I fed my kid “chik’n” nuggets, grilled cheese and quesadillas … and I’m okay with it.

I never intended to buy frozen food, heat it up and serve it on a regular basis. I know my mom never did that (did you, mom? Because the only thing I’m pretty sure you bought frozen was tortellini, but you made it with your homemade sauce so that doesn’t count, right?) … and before kids, our dinners consisted of grilled meats and fishes, healthy grains, homemade sauces and dressings, salads and even homemade bread. So what happened?

how to deal with a picky eater toddler

I have a picky eater. My (almost) 3-year-old doesn’t like vegetables. Not even the so-called “kid-friendly” vegetables like broccoli or carrots (yes, people have told me that these are the veggies kids like). He doesn’t even really like pizza!

So how are we surviving? Here’s how I’ve learned to live with it:

  • Stop comparing and beating myself up. Before having kids, I’d heard people say that if you feed kids what you eat then they’ll have to eat it. Let’s just say that that’s not the case. That’s what we’ve tried to do, but my son is perfectly happy not eating dinner. If we’re eating something he doesn’t like, he’s happy going to bed without eating and then waking up at 3 a.m. starving. For his well-being (and attempt not to wake up at 3 a.m.), I prefer that not be the case.
  • Never give up. Just because he doesn’t like something the first time (or the 5th time), doesn’t mean he always won’t like it. And, the more he sees us eating different foods, the more likely he is to try them. You can imagine my astonishment when one day he reached for a drumstick off my husband’s plate and took a bite. And now “chicken on the bone” (as he calls it) is something he loves.
  • Find a food your kid loves and sneak the good stuff in it. My son loves muffins. We call him the muffin man. So you’d better bet that we’ve made spinach muffins, lentil muffins, zucchini cauliflower muffins, etc. Is he eating spinach or lentils or zucchini on a regular basis? Not by itself, but definitely in a muffin. And, after he’s eaten the muffins, I do tell him what is in there. His favorite muffin is a banana, zucchini, lentil, chocolate chip muffin.
  • Make mealtime fun. The last thing I want is to make dinner stressful. So maybe we’ll put the peas on his plate in the shape of a letter C. Or maybe the roasted carrots will be standing up. OR, maybe I’ll hide a gummy fruit snack under a few pieces of vegetables for him to find. And if he doesn’t eat them, he doesn’t eat them – but at least they make him smile.

Do you have any tips for fellow moms of picky eaters?

Note: This post originally appeared on my page on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website. I blog for them on occasion- see what else I have to say there!

Partying the Weekend Away (Family-Friendly Style)

We had a jam packed, fun weekend in CLE. The weather finally turned nice (on one day), and it included a birthday party, Indians game, some running, some working on the house and a Derby party. Man, I think I need another weekend just to recover from our fun – I’m feeling pooped!

Friday started with a LONG run – I got up at 4 a.m. and got in 11.23 mi before the kids woke up and it was time to get ready for school and work. Cleveland half marathon race day is just two weeks away!

Work flew by Friday. It was a busy day and I got pulled last minute into a 2 hour meeting, which made my morning fly by. And my coworker brought her dog in – look how cute he is!

 

We ended the day with BBQ for dinner – I forgot to take a pic of the food, but we all (even LM) got in on the fun 🙂

Saturday was by far our busiest day. It included some indoor playtime while it rained in the morning.

And an Indians game – they won!

Also, a birthday party for our neighbor – they now have a 1 year old! Their baby is actually in LM’s class at school, too.

And a Kentucky Derby party. This hat stayed on for about 30 seconds.

Sunday included some work around the house – we got a delivery of dirt so we can finally start our garden soon!

And a stroller run with FW. I got in 5+ miles, which I think ism longest stroller run ever. He fell asleep around 3-4 miles in, so I was able to go a little longer than usual.

FW and I also made some spinach zucchini banana muffins. They’re not as sweet as the muffins I’ve been making, but I hope they’ll get him to eat some more veggies!

We ended the day with a Cinco De Mayo themed dinner … that i forgot to get a picture of. Oh well – I assure you it was delicious 🙂 And instead I’ll leave you with a picture of a taco I had on Thursday.

  • How was your weekend?
  • Did you do anything for Cinco de Mayo?

Feeling Like Myself – Date Night, Racing, Kid Time and More

I have to say, I had a great weekend. It included everything I love – family time, running, good food AND a date night. And, it made me really feel like myself again!

Friday, schools were closed, so I stayed home most of the day with the kids. It was rainy, so once again we entertained ourselves indoors.Saturday started bright and early. I had signed up for a ten mile race, which fit perfectly into my training schedule, and B, FW and LM dropped me off at the start and cheered me on along the way.It was actually a great race! Even though it was 40 and super windy, I still managed a PR and ran much faster than I expected.The afternoon included a trip to the West Side Market, coffee shops, some donuts and hanging out.That night, B and I had plans to celebrate our anniversary with a night out!We started the night with drinks at Bar 32, which has a great super high view of downtown.And then, we got dinner. We enjoyed some oysters, fish and split a lobster roll.

Sunday morning, we slept in (!!) and then it was time to take FW to a birthday party. He had a blast running around and playing with his classmates.

I have to say, it was a really, really good weekend. Getting to spend a night out with B was amazing. I felt like myself again. Enjoying a not-rushed, no meltdown dinner, grabbing drinks and not waking up early was amazing. AND getting in a 10 mile run by myself? Those combined were great and reminded me that I’m so much more than a mom.  I felt guilty at first, but had to remember to turn the mom-guilty off and remind myself that spending 5 hours (approximately how many hours of their waking time) away from my kids was a GOOD thing for all. Plus, we got in plenty of other quality time with our day off and the birthday party.

And now, I can’t wait until we can do it again!

Some questions for you:

  • Any races this weekend?
  • What do you do that makes you feel like YOU?

Friends Visit Plus a 5K and Triathlon

To say we had a busy weekend is an understatement. From 5 pm Friday through Sunday, we had something going on pretty much at ALL times! The weekend started with a 5K (for me) and ended with a triathlon (for B), but also included some park time, a cookout and friends visiting.

Friday night started with a race! It was actually my first race since LM was born. One of the boards that B is on was hosting a 5k fundraiser (The Sunset Sprint 5k) to kick off the USA Triathlon weekend that was taking place in Cleveland. The course finished through the triathletes’ finish chute and included most of the sprint’s 5k course.

I was excited to race in my first 5k since baby #2 was born and had really no expectations. I knew it was a semi-hilly course, and my goal was just to not walk it and perhaps get under 10 min/miles (my typical not-sprinting pace these days is slower). AND I was going to be running it with Mary who is faster than I am, so I was hoping to keep up with her for maybe a half a mile or so.

I was pleasantly surprised- maybe it was the race adrenaline, but I finished with a much better time than I expected, including running the first mile in the 8s!

Saturday, we got to spend part of the day with some friends who were in town with their kids. In the morning, we started the day with a playground and park followed by lunch. That night, everyone came over to our house for a cookout. B made chicken, eggplant, green onions, and I made a salad and cookies to go along with the meal.

It was fun to see all the kids together – but wow, 7 kids in our house was a little overwhelming.

Sunday morning started EARLY – I got up at 4:30 to feed LM before getting FW ready — we were headed out to watch B compete in his first triathlon! I’m so proud of B – he didn’t have much time to train after LM was born, and all his runs and bike rides were done with a kid either in a trailer or stroller.

Some of our friends came to celebrate B at the finish line – and brought donuts!

And we got a pic of most of the kids- minus Maddie and LM.

That afternoon, the four of us took a little walk out to lunch. I don’t know how B was still moving after his race but I was happy to get in some activity.

Sunday evening usually includes dinner with B’s family, but this Sunday instead was pizza night! We enjoyed pizza from Geraci’s before taking a family walk. Two family walks in one day (plus a triathlon for B) makes me a happy camper 🙂

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever competed in a triathlon? Which was your hardest event?
  • How often do you eat pizza?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.

Happy Birthday, FW

Happy Birthday to FW. I cannot believe that you are two years old today. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what life was like before you, and other days it feels like you just arrived.

This year held a lot of change for you. New school, new home, new sister, two new bedrooms, new bed – what else is there to change?

Yet (most of the time), you’ve stayed happy, giggly and (okay, I’m biased) so adorable.

This will be a big year for you. You’re already showing so many of the signs of being a “big boy” – both good and bad. The terrible twos have started to appear (yes, including tantrums, not listening to us and crying on demand), but you are also so caring and helpful, especially around your new little sister.  You’re saying sentences and not afraid to express your feelings, whether you’re happy or sad.

Every single thing they say about kids growing up too fast and time flying is true. I have to remind myself to take a step back and enjoy our time right now, because with the blink of an eye, I know these years will be over too soon.

Thank you for making me a Mom.

What We’ve Been Up To Lately

I can’t believe it, but it’s been more than three weeks since our family changed dramatically and LM entered this world. The days go by faster than fast, and weeks have flown by. But we definitely have been busy! And while I’m not cleared to run yet, I’v been trying to stay active as my body heals by walking nearly every day and working to heal my diastasis recti with some simple exercises. Here’s to hoping that in 3 more weeks, I’ll be running (or more like run/walking) again!

Anyway, here are some highlights of the past few weeks.

We took LM downtown and hit up one of the Cleveland signs. We took a similar picture with FW when he was just a few weeks old!

When we’re not walking too far (and it’s not too hot), I love wearing LM for walks. 

We also made B a Father’s Day gift. Nicole came over with her little girl and we did some crafting on the porch!

Trying to entertain FW while also nursing and taking care of LM is no joke, even with B around. So, we’ve been getting creative. Like visiting the fish at the library.

And playing with all the toys there.

And hanging out on our porch!

Heck, FW even enjoyed going to the store with me. Maybe because while we were getting groceries someone gave him a free milk?

When it’s been hot, FW has loved playing with his water table. 

And, of course, goofing around with his old bff Celia. Even though they no longer go to the same daycare, we still try to get them together!

I’ve enjoyed having summery drinks – like this mojito made with mint from my sister-in-law’s garden.

And food that I didn’t really indulge in during pregnancy – like pope!

Some days I’ve had time to bake. Our CSA gave us some strawberries and rhubarb, so I made a crisp with them. 

FW even got in on the fun and helped me make some of his favorite muffins

And we’ve been introducing LM to everyone in the family when we can – she loved meeting all her cousins!

Those are some of the highlights. Hopefully in the weeks to come, I’ll have some more activity-based ones to share. Until then, keep your fingers crossed we get some sleep soon!

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.

Sick toddlers and sunny Sundays

Whew. Having a sick toddler is tough. I’ll start out this post by saying that. Because that is how my weekend started out: nonstop snuggles with FW and caring for him, since he had a fever that started Thursday morning and didn’t magically go away after Motrin, as we hoped (got the call from daycare Thursday afternoon to pick him up).

So, my Friday mostly looked like this. After a short run in the morning, we were mostly sitting on the couch. Except he was mostly on my lap or in my arms. B was traveling for work and I had sick toddler duty.

We spent the day coloring and watching movies, something we don’t typically let FW do. It was in the 50s, but even when I took FW outside, he just wanted to be held.

B got home late and thankfully brought us Indian food for dinner! With FW in bed, it was eaten on my lap while we watched some Glow on Netflix.

Saturday morning, we took FW to the doctor. He of course seemed to be feeling better there and afterwards, so we decided to go out for breakfast! We went to Jack’s and I had some great challah French toast.

We also decided to go for a super short walk. It was near 50 degrees and it was nice to get outside and run around for a little bit. 

That afternoon included a long nap from FW, along with some cleaning. He was sorta helping …

For dinner, we took B’s grandmother out! We went to a place they used to go when they were kids, which had some good bar food. FW even ate some of his grilled cheese – well, he ate the cheese off the bread …

After dinner we decided to stop for a quick detour a the Container Store. We hadn’t been before and it was a new place for Francis to run around at. They have a wall that is just garbage cans!

The Container Store just happens to be right next door to a local ice cream shop, so of course we had to make a quick stop. I had the caramel fudge brownie and hazelnut – both flavors were great! 

Sunday included some running, napping, grocery shopping and enjoying a little time outside.

B, FW and I all went for a run together! B pushed FW in the stroller and we discovered a new path near our house to run along.

I had to stop and get a pic of the frozen lake, above, with the blue sky. A picture-perfect day for sure!

We finished 5 miles, which is the longest run I’ve done this year! It was 40 degrees, so FW may have been a little over bundled up 🙂 But he’s finally feeling better, thank goodness. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy for the rest of cold and flu season.

We finished the day with dinner with B’s family per our usual Sunday tradition. It’s always nice spending the evening with a home cooked meal among family and FW always enjoys seeing his cousins!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have any Sunday traditions?
  • Favorite ice cream flavors?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!