Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our toddler, our fruitcake

Toddlers' eating habits are nothing short of perplexing. If food is fuel, then apparently toddlers can somehow run on fumes ... for days. A quick accounting at day's end of Danny's intake usually looks like this: grapes, cheese, grapes, a piece of mommy's "eggy," two spoonfuls of noodles, grapes, crackers, an entire apple, two bites of chicken, a few grains of rice, a cookie (or an ookie-cay as Danny, now fluent in pig Latin, calls them) and part or all of an 8 ounce banana and yogurt smoothie.

I had a moment of clarity a few weeks ago when I bartered with Danny to eat more of his hot dog and then he could have more grapes. (Yes, I occasionally give my son a hot dog. And, no, I don't worry that he'll get leukemia and die.) Wait ... what? For some reason, his single-threaded eating habits really bug me even if it's grape or applesauce or "camelope" that he's binging on. Most moms I know would love it if their kid ate nothing but fruit. I don't understand how he could eat so much of something that, judging by what appears in his diaper, his body isn't completely processing. I worry that he's not getting enough protein or calcium. I worry that he'll get sick if he doesn't eat enough vitamin C foods. Meanwhile, he's never broken a bone, he's blowing past developmental milestones and he hasn't had even a cold in almost a year. Our doctor told us to look at his nutritional intake on a weekly, not daily, basis.

Fine, but we still need to instill variety in his diet. I can't bring myself to be a clean-your-plate mom, but Danny and I have had conversations about eating different kinds of foods. The conversations usually go like this:

"Danny, you need to eat lots of different foods to grow big and strong."

"Uh huh," he says, wide eyed and shaking his head. After a short pause, he adds, "More grapes Mommy."

Maybe a reminder of the diaper rash he gets from an all-fruit diet?

"Danny, too much fruit will make your bum bum hurt."

"Ouch, poopy hurt. Uh uh, no." Pause. "More grapes mommy."

Sigh. At least he isn't whining at me as much.

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