Striving for Success: Trying to eliminate picky eating

She ate ALL that steak, plus some! She was trying to cut it in this picture. She was not successful. But, she ate it anyway!

She ate ALL that steak, plus some! She was trying to cut it in this picture. She was not successful. But, she ate it anyway!

Today is an exciting day. No, I’m not referring to Tax Day. This is even greater. Today my daughter ate half a steak.

If you have never read my blog before than this will not seem like a momentous, celebration-worthy event, but my faithful readers (and anyone who has ever shared a meal with Alex) knows what a big deal this is. This child has eaten grilled-cheese sandwiches every night for weeks on end because she refused to eat anything different. I hate the idea of sending her to bed hungry so I started buying baby-food pouches…for my two and a half year old. She has made chicken nuggets and grilled-cheese a permanent fixture in her life (along with a bunch of fruits and breakfast foods). This week I strive to end the food-madness.

I started Saturday night by sitting at the table with her, tv off, eating a grilled cheese (I wanted our first night of shared dinners to be something she liked). We made a HUGE deal of eating the same foods, taking bites at the same time, and generally enjoying her favorite meal. This was the trick, the buy in, the bait and switch!

Sunday night I made pasta and I left sauce off of her portion and had Alex try it…and she ate it. I cheered for each bite. I clapped, danced, sang, made goofy faces and did everything in my power to get this child to eat those noodles…and to my surprise, she DID!

Alex set the table like a big girl!

Alex set the table like a big girl!

Then it was Monday night…pork chops, macaroni and cheese and green beans (a totally normal-kid-friendly meal). I had Alex help me set the table (which she LOVES to do and does quite well). Then she got Mike ice for his cup (ALL the ice. I think she used the entire bucket to fill his Tervis Tumbler). The three of us sat together and literally cheered every time Alex took a bite. She REFUSED to eat the pork chop. Flat out would not touch it. But, with each bite of macaroni and cheese the cheering started again…and again…and again…and again.

When it came time to eat her green-beans, you would have thought I was feeding her straight lard. She would put one in her mouth, gag dramatically, make an awful face, and then try to spit it out into her waiting hand. We got her to eat and actually swallow about 8 beans.

Tonight was the shining star, the glorious moment, the epitome of picky-eating victories. This child ate STEAK! I made steak and carrots for myself and Mike and then I made her chicken nuggets and put carrots on her plate. I was going to make carrots the main challenge while still giving her some meat. I had a good plan.  But, she changed my plans for me and ASKED for my “stuff”. She wanted steak. Steak?! I was in such shock I dropped my knife and fork on the floor while trying to hurriedly cut her a tiny piece before she changed her mind. I, of course, had to cheer for each and every bite, but she ate half of my steak. She refused to touch her carrots, but who cares. SHE ATE STEAK!

So this means two things…she IS willing to try new foods if I act like a complete and total moron…and I have to cook more often.

Pasta Princess!

Pasta Princess!

 

I haven’t quit…I swear

Sometimes, a momma just needs a break. With teaching and mothering and cleaning and cooking (yeah right), but blog-writing has certainly taken a hiatus. But, I am back…for today anyway. No promises for daily updates…but today I have much to celebrate.

My little egg-eater (kind of).

My little egg-eater (kind of).

Alex ate a hard boiled egg today. I know, that may not sound like much to someone whose kid eats well, but for me, this is a monumentous achievement. Alex has been branching out a little bit lately and will actually taste something before she tells me she hates it. But, today, I handed her a hard boiled egg and she nibbled her way all along the outside (never reaching yolk), but eating about a quarter of it in her bizarre fashion. I couldn’t believe it. No bribing. No yelling. No crying. She just…ate it. What a dream!

Now, for a brief catch-up. Alex learned how to say her age AND put up the two fingers to show everyone her age. Again, some kids might have figured this out immediately from the womb, but we

Alex was making her fingers cooperate so she could demonstrate her new skill. "I'm TWO!"

Alex was making her fingers cooperate so she could demonstrate her new skill. “I’m TWO!”

definitely had to teach Alex, and manipulating her fingers to do what she wanted was no easy task. It took two hands to manipulate her fingers into position, and then the grace of God for them to stay. It took her about four days of frustration before she finally figured it out. We were driving down the road and I was on the phone with my mom when all of a sudden Alex yelled out “I DID IT!”. And sure enough, she had. What a simple, wonderful, proud mommy moment. When we got home I took a picture of her demonstrating her abilities before we got out of the car.

I took off work last week randomly (sometimes, you just need a day) and I took Alex to the local aquarium. I am in LOVE (but not when snow-birds are here…my goodness…they were EVERYWHERE). We had such a great time watching all the fish, and Alex loved the jellyfish more than anything else in the smaller part of the aquarium and I couldn’t help but think that she loved the deadliest animal she could find. Then we found the sharks, and she was ready to swim with them. We watched from below and then we were able to climb up and see them from the surface, and Alex decided that she wanted to go swimming with them because they were so pretty. Uh, no kid. So sorry about your luck. I am not sending you into a tank full of pent-up sharks. Sorry. So, we settled for watching them swim by, eyeing us maliciously. I still don’t understand how the tiny fish that they put in the tank with them are ever able to survive. Alex was the greatest little girl and bounced her way through the aquarium until it got too crowded to move. Next time, we will go during the summer.

Today is National Pencil Day, and I have an insane pencil fetish…and I have more than I need…literally, hundreds more than I need. I worked at a small store called “The School Box” as a young teenager and I spent my pay checks on stickers and pencils with amazing designs. And then…I hoarded them. I never used them because once you used them, they were gone (same reason I never burn candles). So, I have a Tupperware box of hundreds of pencils. I think today I will let Alex pick one (just one) and color with it. I may have a problem. I might need an intervention. Just last week I cleaned out a Tupperware with hundreds of pens that I have had since high school. Most were dried up corpses of former pens. I narrowed it down to about 30 or so. Nope. No issues here.

My beautiful little girl after the aquarium. So tired...but SO happy.

My beautiful little girl after the aquarium. So tired…but SO happy.

 

 

Unexpected fun

Say "Strawberry!"

Say “Strawberry!”

I love pressure washing. Call me a freak, but I love watching the pressurized water wash a tony strip of area clean, and I love the accomplished feeling when you see a giant clean patch in the middle of the surrounding grossness (I never start at one end and work around. I usually make designs and then fill in the outside parts later). Today I was really excited to leave a pretty stressful day of work, pick up Alex, and go home to pressure wash the front porch, walkway and driveway (well, part of it). I got Alex all set up with a water bucket and bowls and cups and had her distributing water all over the bowls, herself, the driveway, and the random porch chair that she decided to clean. While she was busy, I washed. It worked out fairly well. This was my first real attempt at outside work with Alex hanging out alongside. It went a little slower (I had to stop a LOT to field the question, “You done yet?”).

The best part of the afternoon came when Alex told me that she had to peepee, and I was all se tot take her inside when she said, “I go peepee in the grass?”. We were both filthy so I thought, sure, why not? So, right there in front of the house, Alex strips off her skirt and panties, stands proud, spreads her legs, and pees. She peed all over her legs, feet and shoes, so I kept her bottoms off her and hosed her down. Then, she snagged the hose from me, said that Mommy went peepee too, and started hosing  ME down, fully clothed. So, then we had a water fight. It was the most fun I have had in a while, and it was completely unplanned. I can have these fantastic ideas planned for her, and then when it comes down to it, letting her pee outside and letting life just happen is the most fun.

But, today’s holiday has nothing to do  with water fights or peeing in the front yard. Today is National Strawberry Day, so I gave Alex a strawberry flavored applesauce pouch and called it done (did you know that the strawberry applesauce pouches have less sugar than the traditional applesauce pouches? Crazy!)

What a ham!

What a ham!

 

Tired and Teething

When we got home today Alex was listening to “Let it go” (not a huge shock), and she wanted to keep listening to it. So I unloaded her from her seat (at her request), let her sit in the big girl back seat (at her request) and left her there to check the mail (at her request). I came back from the mailbox, with mail, and she had a 100% meltdown because I got the mail without her. She got herself so worked up that I thought she was going to be sick. So…I put the mail back in the mailbox and let her check it. Wow.

Then, when we were coming inside, after the tantrum that makes me not want to have more children, Alex kicked her toys on the way into the house. I told her not to kick anything else…and she did, so I yelled at her. She broke down AGAIN, but this time she cried, “You! Hurt! My! Feelings!”. How do I respond to that? I explained to her, in between her sobbing breaths, that if she had listened to mommy, I wouldn’t have had to yell at her. I don’t think I got through to her because listening, crying, and hurt feelings were an issue ALL night. But, her fingers were in her mouth all night, so I am going to attribute all of this evening to her “motes” coming in (that is what she calls her molars).

My favorite part of the day was at bath time. Let me start by saying that bath time is not usually my finest hour. I am not a very good hair washer. I always get it in her eyes, even when I try not to. I never seem to finish bath time without wearing as much water as Alex does, and it seems to take forever. So today when it came time to wash her hair, she pleaded, “Don’t get it in my eyes”. So I had her lift her head back, she actually listened, and no water got in her eyes. She looked up at me so astonished and so proud and said, “Good girl Momma!”. THAT made all the tantrums of the night absolutely worth it.

I have no pictures for today. I was too busy living the moments of joy and surviving the tantrums. Today is also National Pistashio Day. She won’t eat those. They are expensive, and I choose not to partake today. I am celebrating my “Good Girl” status instead.

 

The Horror

I haven’t posted since Friday and I am appalled at my own disservitude towards my blog (hence the title of today’s post). So, here is a recap of the weekend (and weekday) crazy that encompasses my life.

I learned a few things this weekend: too much fun makes Alex WILD and me EXHAUSTED, crock-pot cooking can be dangerous, and I need to write daily so that I don’t have rambling posts that are never-ending.

Saturday:

We had a birthday party to go to for a set of three-year old twin girls from Alex’s school. It took me and my sister two hours to get to a party that was 45 minutes away because we got so hopelessly lost. I mean, LOST. We were on one road, no turns whatsoever, and still, we were 25 minutes past where we needed to be…and then had to backtrack those 25 minutes to get to the right location. Fortunately, the party was a HUGE success and was hosted at an indoor inflatable haven for small children. I was convinced that I had wasted a two-hour drive (and a lot of my sister’s time) at first because Alex was a big ol’ chicken and refused to even TRY jumping on anything. Then, after tons of fruit and some quality time watching her friends play, Alex tested out one of the milder inflatables and LOVED it. Then, she went onto one of the “big kid” inflatables that had slides and things that looked like kick-boxing stands, and she was rough housing like a champ. And, bad mommy took not a single picture. I was so consumed with ensuring Alex’s safety (I know, they are inflatable, but still, I worry) that I didn’t even think to take a picture until we got back to the car. So here is Alex, with no pants (she was super-hot after expending so much energy so I took them off, along with her shoes and socks).

"Party!"

“Party!”

Sunday: The day of TWO outdoor parties, alert-worthy pollen counts, and the hottest winter day EVER!

Party One: A family BBQ celebrating my cousin’s surrogate pregnancy (twin boys, eeeek) for a lovely couple who can’t conceive children on their own. Yipee for making families happen! This party was fun and hot and exciting, especially when we got a surprise visit from some horses (and their owners) as they went for a Sunday stroll.

Party Two: I suppose the Daytona 500 race is a good enough reason to have a party, but really, I didn’t watch a single moment of the TV screen because I was so busy watching Alex swim in the freezing cold pool, in her panties, with her father (because I was having no part of that nonsense). Then, I had to wrangle up extra clothes from other people who had their children at the party because I had not come prepared for sub-zero skinny dipping at the party and her clothes got drenched sitting beside the pool (entirely my fault for leaving them on the floor. You would think I hadn’t grown up in Florida around pools).

Chief was a good sport and loved all the attention.

Chief was a good sport and loved all the attention.

Monday:

After the busiest weekend on record, I decided to make life easy for myself so I got up a half hour early and made crock-pot Hawaiian chicken so that I would have dinner ready when I got home. So I worked all day, went to the gym, grocery shopped, picked up Alex, came home…and the house was filled with smoke and the smell of  burnt flesh covered in pineapple. I had left my crock pot on high instead of low. HUGE mistake. My dinner was a black gooey mess stuck to the inside of the crockpot that now lives in my trash can outside. My house had to be aired out because even the clothes in the closet stunk of a burnt tropical mess. So, then the second dinner of the day had to be cooked and cleaned up after.

All this to say that I have NO idea what the three holidays were for Saturday, Sunday or Monday…nor do I care. Today, on the other hand, is “Chocolate Covered Nut” day. I tried to give Alex a chocolate bar from valentines day that has almonds in it, and she took a tiny bite, handed it back and said, “I no yike it.” Well. No problem there darling. Momma will take care of that problem for you!

After that we planted wildflowers in the back yard (aka, threw seeds at dirt and tossed water on top). If anything comes of our endeavor, that WILL be a reason to celebrate and I will certainly keep you posted.

 

 

Catchin’ Crickets

Hi yittle fella

Hi yittle fella

This morning Alex began her morning with a never-too-close encounter with a bug. Thankfully it was just a cricket, and Alex wanted to play with it, not run away screaming, but I still had to wrangle a cup on that sucker so it’s nightly serenade didn’t keep the whole house awake tonight. So, I put a clear cup over the poor terrified creature and Alex was all over it. She put herself at his level and kept saying, “Hi yittle fella”. Then she would look up at me and say, “He yikes me!”. But that wasn’t enough for her. She wanted to move the cup, to lift the cup, so play with the cricket, to take the cricket outside to be with his friends, and do basically do nothing EXCEPT focus on the cricket. So, she woke Mike up and they deposited him outside (but not before Alex held him, he jumped in her hair, and she squealed in delight).

PANCAKES!

PANCAKES!

When we got home from school the first thing she wanted was the “hass popper” (grasshopper). I had to explain to her that he was outside with his friends, and then she insisted that we go find him. Oh heavens! It was a short-lived search effort before I distracted her with dinner.

Since it is National Pancake Week, I made Alex pancakes and pizza. The pancakes were the original plan for her. Then I ordered pizza for the big-folk, and Alex decided to eat a piece and a half of that as well. So, pizza and pancakes. Then an ice cream pop (compliments of her father who came home, scarfed a piece of pizza standing at the stove, gave her ice-cream, then hauled butt to my Dad’s shop to work on the boat… leaving me with a huge popsicle mess and a tired kid on a sugar high. He is grounded!).

 

 

Puppy Love

Some days I sit in front of the computer and have nothing to say, so I don’t say it. I feel as if some days as a parent are just splattered with moments of inadequacy and not enough patience (especially when dealing with a two-year old). But today is not one of those days. From start to finish, Alex delighted me.

This morning when she woke up, she wasn’t quite ready to be among the awake and functioning, so she drug out the getting-ready process as long as she could. She sprawled out on her rug and asked for a “piyyow” (pillow) and a baby. Then she wanted a blankie and the “yight” (light) to be turned off. If anyone teaches this child to say her “l”s properly, I may go momma-bear on their butt. I am loving the no “L”. I was further delighted when she told her I got her the wrong “piyyow” and that she wanted the “yeyyow” one. Hehehe. I am never sending this kid to speech therapy. I am going to love how cute this is until she is married!

Besides celebrating Alex’s adorableness today, I am also celebrating “Love Your Pet Day”. Alex has a fish. This is the shyest fish I have ever encountered. He hides in the bushes in the back of the tank ALL the time. He never leaves. I don’t even think he eats. I keep hoping he will die so that we can get a big, colorful beta fish in there that will actually swim (but I don’t have the heart to just kill the shy little fish, so I am waiting for nature to kick in at some point. Seriously, how long can one little shy fish live?). I refuse to get him friends because I want the beta fish. So, I am at a stale-mate with an animal that is smaller than my thumb-nail and has an iron-clad will to live. But, none of this is demonstrating how we celebrated “Love Your Pet Day”. If anything, it is making me sound quite un-loving. So, let me brag on Molly and Daisy.

Molly is the dog that I guilted my mom into rescuing from a homeless woman at an antique depot. She leaps like a gazelle and has more patience that I could ever even dream of having. She is anxious and spastic and Alex simply adores her. When I drop Alex off at my mom’s house on Thursday mornings, Alex shoves me out the door so that she can play with Molly (the cute little mutt sheds like you wouldn’t believe so my mom locks her up so I don’t look like a sheared a Sherpa before work).

Daisy is my sister’s formerly-obsese English bull-dog, and she is the sweetest and cutest and ugliest thing on four legs. She farts and drools and has the most wonderful disposition I have ever encountered. She is just like a short person in need of serious dental work. At her heaviest, rather than get up to walk away from Alex,  she actually pawed Alex away when Alex had annoyed her too much. Seriously. She is a human.

Alex loves all the dogs in her life and chases them relentlessly (especially poor Junior, Alex’s grandma’s dog who is older than mud and has failing health. He sees her coming, swings his massive tail a few times to welcome her, and then runs for the hills. He knows what is in store and he wants no part of it).

I am very blessed that Alex has access to so many great animals, because at this juncture in my life…I am thinking that one shy fish is okay for me.

This picture has nothing to do with today's post, but it was too bizarre to not post. Alex was playing in the sandbox and she found a stick and asked if she could put it in her box. I said sure, of course (because really, who cares. It is just a stick). So then I pick up my phone and start looking up the Easter craft ideas on Pintrest, and I must have been looking for longer than I thought because when I looked up, Alex had found every stick in the three foot radius of the sand-box and had stuck it in vertically. I asked what she was doing and she said, "Making fwags (flags)". It looked like the start of the "Blair Witch Project" to me. Eeeek.

This picture has nothing to do with today’s post, but it was too bizarre to not post. Alex was playing in the sandbox and she found a stick and asked if she could put it in her box. I said sure, of course (because really, who cares. It is just a stick). So then I pick up my phone and start looking up the Easter craft ideas on Pintrest, and I must have been looking for longer than I thought because when I looked up, Alex had found every stick in the three-foot radius of the sand-box and had stuck it in vertically. I asked what she was doing and she said, “Making fwags (flags)”. It looked like the start of the “Blair Witch Project” to me. Eeeek.