Kissing, licking, and nibbling our way to tasting new foods

standard November 19, 2009 1 response

“RabiOly! RabiOly!”

The chant from the back seat made me smile. My two girls demanding something they’d never had before, that was a first for sure. But hey, I’m not one to be begged. And there wasn’t really much else for dinner at home. So we’d try the mini-raviolis from Trader Joes. Noodles are noodles after all.

I wasn’t too worried about C. This morning she gave me a whole shpiel about how it was bizarre that her friends at school kept saying they didn’t like something without even trying it. I know that tomorrow she’ll be back to turning up her nose at anything that doesn’t look exactly like one of the foods on her “approved list,” but today I had a feeling she’d still be on her “I try anything kick.”

Little L was another issue.

She’ll get caught up in her sister’s excitement over something without really taking the consequences into account. Playing ‘bed time,’ running through the cold sprinklers naked, and yes, trying raviolis for the first time.

That is, until I actually place the raviolis in front of her.

“I no liiiiike that! I don’t want it!” Look of sheer disgust on her face, warning signs of a massive tantrum in her face. It had all the makings of a disastrous dinner hour.

I resisted the urge to demand that she eat, knowing full well that it would backfire. Instead I sat down at the table with a fun catalog filled with bright holiday decorations and toys to try to distract her.

I had a faint hope that I’d be able to sneak in a bite here or there, something which always worked with C at her age. But Little L is savvy to her mother’s tricks. So I had to pull my other ace out of my sleeve. Usually it’s what I lead with, but I was a bit off my game tonight. Lack of sleep does that to me.

“Hey? Goose? This teeny tiny ravioli is just a baby and he’s a bit sad. Can you give him a kiss? Just a little kiss, not a big one!” She looked at me out of the corner of her eye, but my impeccable acting skills swayed her and she leaned in a bit. When she hesitated I egged her on until her pouty lips connected with the tiny ravioli and gave it a tiny kiss. 

It’s all about making that first contact. Once her lips have touched the offending food, it only takes a tiny nudge to get her to lick it. And once she’s licked it it’s just another tiny step to taking a nibble or a real bite. And usually once one bite has been taken, we’re golden.

I’ve seen people throw me odd looks in restaurants when I beg my baby to kiss her food. To be sure, it’s an odd request. But what do I care? My kid is trying new foods and sometimes she even likes it, as the “Mmmmms” that followed the first nibble all the way to the emptying of her bowl tonight can attest.

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Need a little humor today? Over at the Tiny Prints blog we’re poking fun at the silly things parents say that truly shows the world that they’re parents. “You know you’re a parent when…” I’d love to know what it was you said!

Books and cuddles before bed

standard July 7, 2009 2 responses

“Come, let’s leave C and Daddy to finish up in here. We can go read a book!” I inject as much excitement as possible into my last sentence in the hopes that it will lure Little L away from the potentially very messy goings on in the kitchen. (Peach crumble is yummy. Clean and pajama’d toddler covered in flour and oatmeal is not.)

To my great relief she is won over by my enthusiasm, grabs my outstretched hand, and pulls me towards the living room. All too often the bedtime routine is rushed or late and we don’t have enough time to really enjoy a good pre-bed read. Tonight we have a little time and I plan to make it count.

“What do you want to read?” I ask her as we pick our way through the toy strewn room.
She only has to think for a moment before answering.”Dinosaur.”
“You mean the Dinosaur and the binkit book?”
“Yep!” She nods her head frenetically, almost toppling herself over.

I crouch down in front of the bookshelf and hunt around for the little book, but it’s nowhere to be found.

“I can’t find it baby. What else should we read? How about the potty book?” She nods frenetically again and climbs down from the couch where she has just painstakingly settled herself. She comes squat next to me, mimicking my awkward stance. She points to the Sleepy Cat book lying by my foot, then riffles through the shelf until she finds What Shall We Do With the Boo Hoo Baby?, another favorite.

“Hoo hoo baby.” She says definitively as she climbs back up onto the couch and settles herself snugly in the crook of my arm. She loves to sit right between me and the hefty armrest, pulling my arm tightly around me. The feel of her warm snugly body and her soft fleecy pajamas makes me smile. I hug her tightly to me and, resting my head on hers for just a micro second, ask her what we should start with.

She considers the pile carefully then asks for the potty book, but as soon as I pick it up she changes her mind and demands the Boo Hoo Baby instead.

She has reached that stage where I can no longer skip pages or words; she follows along attentively, not missing a moment of action and echoing, or even preempting, my words on some of her favorite pages.

I can hear M and C working together in the kitchen. It feels snug and safe. A family enjoying each other at the end of a long day. In a few minutes we will give in to the flurry of pre-bed activity – tooth brushing, sippy cup filling, pacifier hunting, and goodnight hugging and kissing. But right now there is a moment of timeless peace. Them in the kitchen, we in the living room. A family in perfect harmony.

“The baby said, ‘Boo-hoo-hoo,'” I start, pulling my baby close to me as she settles her head on my breast. I settle myself more comfortably on the couch and continue with the sad tale of the baby who couldn’t be appeased.

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First class ticket to the Terrible Twos

standard July 3, 2009 5 responses

If I had been in any denial that in 30 days Little L will be 2, tonight blew away any lingering delusions.

First let me start by saying, TWO? She’s going to be TWO? How is that even possible? And how is it possible that I’m still not sleeping through the night consistently?

Now let me tell you about the tantrum of the year.

I have one simple dinner rule: you don’t have to eat it, you don’t have to like it, but you do have to taste it. One bite. You can even spit out that bite, I don’t care, not as long as the food makes it past your lips just once.

I’ve even figured out the no hassle, no stress way to get my kids to do just that. First I ask them to give the bite a kiss, then a lick, and finally a tiny bite. They’re girls, this usually works.

Note how I said usually.

Tonight Little L decided that the only way her popcorn shrimp (which she usually eats without a fuss) would only pass her lips was if Hell froze over, chickens flew backwards, and I managed to pry her mouth open with a crowbar. Needless to say, she didn’t take her bite.

I was actually fine with that. She’s the one who wasn’t fine with the no cookie consequence.

She howled when I took her out of her highchair. She howled when I carried her to the bathroom. She howled while I filled the bathtub. She threw herself on the floor and pounded her fists and feet on the floor when I tried to pull off her clothes.

She screamed when I put her in the tub. She screamed while I shampooed her hair. She screamed while I washed her body and then rinsed her hair and body.

She went back to howling when I pulled her out and wrapped her in a big towel and only took a little break when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Then she started up again as soon as we moved away.

She screamed and thrashed her way through my attempts at putting a diaper on her clean tush and then fought even harder when I started to put her pajamas on. Putting a wetsuit on an octopus would have been easier.

By the time she was dressed she was still screaming, but begging to be put to bed. I happily obliged.

But did that end the tantrum? No! Of course not. An hour later she was still screaming about the damn cookie that she wasn’t allowed to have after dinner.

I almost caved. Heck, M almost caved. But really, enough is enough. With those huge blue eyes and adorable curls that kid gets away with murder. And tonight I just wasn’t willing to let her win.

I did however take pity on her after a while and went in to comfort her. I picked her out of her crib and held her little sobbing body against my shoulder. She nuzzled her sopping wet face into my neck and murmured something I didn’t catch. I asked her what she had said and listened closely.

“I wanna cookie. Jus one cookie.” She whispered into my ear.

Over an hour she screamed for that one cookie. A cookie she would have taken a single bite out of before abandoning it for a toy.

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