when i was working, i loathed packing lunches to send with my son to school. it was hard enough to get to the grocery store each week, let alone provide tasty, nutritious, diverse meals every day. now i am home with him and his almost 1 year old sister, and really, things just might be worse.
it does not help that my son is a picky eater. at 2.5 years old, he still refuses macaroni & cheese and hot dogs (among many other things). i take full blame for his pickiness because during the window of time where babies will generally eat anything in front of them (approx 9-15 months), we were busy trying to sell our house, pack and move (and oh yeah, i was also in my first trimester with our second baby and had a boatload of energy). we kept feeding him pureed baby food to help with cleaning and also because the pre-packaged foods were convenient. little did we know how this would bite us down the road!
when i was still working, i often heard from teachers that the only time he ate his food was when someone coached him through the entire meal. at night, we wanted him to be pleasant so we let him get into a “cereal for dinner” habit.
when i was laid off, i thought for sure i could get him to eat more with less coaching as well as introduce many more foods. my husband and i vowed that as his baby sister worked her way into solids, that her brother needed to come along with her.
overall, the diversity i was hoping for in my son’s diet is coming, but it is V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W. experts say you need to introduce a food 10 times before a child will have interest in it. with my son, we’re easily over 20 times on some items… and that little pistol, he can be stubborn. we repeat meals over and over again… the more repetition, the more likely he is to try the new food. i find myself preparing the same meals over and over again. sometimes he tries something, sometimes he eats a lot, and sometimes i throw the whole plate away. his sister on the other hand, right at 11 months, will eat almost anything in front of her!
along with all of this repetition with food, i find that being home full time means many more dishes, crumbs and clean up. if you’re like me and prefer a clean house, you can almost make yourself a little crazy trying to keep up. and my husband wonders why i always want to eat dinner outside!
meal planning for kids is tough. those of you that work and don’t have to sit with your little ones through another 1-2 meals a day really have it easier than you think!
i long for the days when both kids eat the same meals as the adults. i am sure all parents say this, but i find that being home all day, this feeling is so much stronger. why? meals are much more frequent, you have less help, and the preparation and clean up are a lot more repetitive. some days i feel like all i do is prep a meal, clean it up, prep a meal, clean it up, prep a meal… you get the point.
i am trying to look at the bright side… we can eat outside, and what better way to clean up than a good, old-fashioned hose-down. anyone care to join us?