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Choices January 23, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Green & Frunchy, Humor & Satire, parenting & family, toddlers, writing/editing/blogging.
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My son, who will be two in about two-and-a-half weeks, has been making some interesting decisions lately. They have been unprompted and made completely on his own. I never realized how early decision making starts, even with an undergraduate degree in developmental psychology. As parents, as our little ones grow more autonomous, at some point, we try to encourage their decision-making skills with questions like: “Do you want broccoli or peas?”

And you pray that your brilliant child doesn’t trump your foil and instead of picking broccoli or peas, with head a-shaking says, “No. Candy.” (So far, we have been spared this toddler pocket pair of aces against our pocket pair of kings with a king, an ace and trip nines showing.)

I firmly believe that the way we fed him as an infant helped inform some of the admittedly odd culinary choices that our son makes. He was breastfed for 15 months, exclusively until he started solids, all of which I made except for the boxes of commercial organic cereal flakes. We never had a “transition to table food” because he has pretty much always had table food, in varying degrees of texture depending upon how many teeth he had and what was appropriate for his maturing digestive system. Sure, he loves Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and pretzels, occasionally goes on milk-strike in favor of juice, and if he’s within 10 feet of Dum Dums must have one, but hey, he is a toddler.

But he’s been making some surprisingly wise choices lately.
Friday, when I returned from yet another surreal adventure at the market, my husband helped me bring the bundles in from the car. (He’d been home with the boy.) We set up an assembly line: me unloading the car, and him receiving the goods at the door, with some toddler help, so I didn’t have to track winter yuck through the house. After making it inside and removing my coat and boots, I went to the kitchen to start unloading. Who has discovered that there are new goldfish? Well, it wasn’t Papa, that’s for sure. He took them out of their canvas bin and placed them on the floor. Curious Boy moved on to the next bin, where he discovered the blueberries. He stood up, handed the blueberries to me and pulled me to the sink. Now, I’m not about to stop him from eating blueberries before dinner…as far as pre-dinner snacks go, they’re not about to “spoil his dinner.” And if they do, at least they were healthy.

And my husband reported that while I was away, on Saturday, he refused to eat his kielbasa until he had mustard to go with it.

Then there was Monday.

Monday, he reached for a packet of oatmeal off of the kitchen island, pulled it down, handed it to me and said: “Abre.” (Great, so teaching him Spanish is going to bite me in the butt.) I asked if he wanted me to make oatmeal, and he bounced up and down, excitedly.

“Do you want raisins in it?” I asked.

“Ya.”

“Anything else in it?”

He looked at me and walked to the refrigerator, straining to try and open it.

Mama wasn’t moving fast enough, so he fused, his back arching, all 30-some-odd pounds of him threatening to rip his arm out of its socket should gravity take over while he clung to the door handle.

“Let, Mama open it.” “Mamí lo abre.”

I opened the ‘fridge and he dashed in, squeezing his tiny frame between me and the contents of the refrigerator. He grabbed an apple from the bottom shelf and handed it to me.

“You want apples too?”

More bouncing, but this time it was somewhere between glee and impatience.

“Okay, Love. Take this for now,” as I handed him some milk “and Mama will make the oatmeal.” He took the milk and watched me like a hawk as I peeled and chopped the apple, added the raisins, mixed them into the oatmeal and popped it into the microwave. (In a glass bowl of course.)

He got his oatmeal, and all was right in Toddlerworld.

Tuesday, I was in for another surprise.

As I was making dinner, my Darling Son was not thrilled with the length of time that it was taking for me to chop veggies. He wanted dinner and he wanted it “stat.” So we had another episode of “Toddler at the ‘Fridge.” I opened it up and he pointed to the leftover chicken. Okay, so chicken it is. He ate his chicken along with some broccoli and was as happy as a clam. And he ate the dinner that I was preparing to begin with—he even had his first asparagus, liked it and wanted more.

Then there was this morning, which by far, has been the oddest thing that I have yet to experience with this child.

When we got downstairs, he walked right to the ‘fridge with much determination. I opened the door and reached for the milk, which prompted great howls of protest.

Milk was off his radar. He wanted no part of it.

He took the half-full bottle of juice off of its shelf on the door and handed it to me. “Okay, you can have juice first today,” I said.

But he didn’t move. He stood looking inside the ‘fridge for something.

I prompted: “Do you want an apple?”

He shook his head.

“A pomegranate?”

More head shakes.

“An orange?”

More head shakes.

“Okay, what does my little Bean want for breakfast?”

He reached in, pulled out the carrots and tried to hand them to me. They were a bit heavier than he’d anticipated, and using only one hand clearly was not enough. (Mr. Bunny Rabbit occupied the other hand.) I caught the carrots before they fell on his precious sock-clad toes.

“You want carrots?” I said, stifling the laughter.

“He looked up at me and said, “Ya!”

“Okay, carrots it is.” We closed the door, and headed for the cupboard. I took out one of his bowls and put in a handful of baby carrots, prepared his juice and set him to eat. I started the coffee maker and also got ready to make something else, for him to eat since there was no way, he really wanted carrots for breakfast. After putting the coffee beans away and going through the coffee making ritual, I walked over to him…the carrots were gone!

Gone I tell you. I looked around. There was one on the floor, but where were the rest? I looked around again, my child bemused by my crawling around on the floor. Nothing, except for that one errant carrot out of a handful. Well, roll me in maki and call me sushi; the boy ate carrots for breakfast. His second course was a banana. (Now that’s a little more normal.)

I guess, for the moment, at the very least, my husband and I can revel in the fact that we’ve done at least this tiny thing right.

That is until tomorrow, when he decides to do something typically toddler and decides to eat paste.

Copyright © 2008 Erika-Marie S. Geiss

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Comments

1. Melaniehoo - January 24, 2008

You’ve clearly done a good job. 🙂 We don’t have kids yet but plan to raise them bilingual so it’s interesting to hear how that works in everyday life.

2. Samantha - January 25, 2008

This is the most precious story! Way to go for having a toddler with healthy eating habits. I know you must be proud. 🙂

~Samantha,
Freelance Writer and Blogger, WAHM

3. emsgeiss - January 26, 2008

Thanks ladies! 🙂 We’re really surprised too. At grandma’s the other day, he ate all of his chicken and asparagus!


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