Dining with the feral children

This week the two year olds both threw tantrums because I wouldn’t give them a second serving of roasted butternut squash. The next day the twins hovered around my knees begging “Kale? More kale? Kale?” as I washed and sliced vegetables for soup and passed them leaves for munching. Apparently we’ve accidentally raised hippies, not toddlers.

…or so it seemed until I turned around to see they’d abandoned their most recent scraps of kale on the floor and were instead devouring styrofoam plates from the pantry. Either they’re still hippies and really serious about recycling or they’re just omnivores.

This week’s toilet incident argues for the “omnivore” option. I turned around when I heard a soft splash to see that Jack had thrown a toy in the toilet for the first time. I firmly told him that we do not throw things in the potty and asked if he understood. He beamed and nodded: “Yes, Mama!” Then, before I could stop him he leaned forward, scooped a handful of water out of the toilet, and took a drink instead. Well…he did obey me…*shudder*

Also arguing against the “tiny hippies” classification is Annie’s behavior at dinner. I’d stepped over to the fridge and heard her begging, then bellowing in increasingly urgent tones: “nuke? Nuke? Nuke? NUKE! NUKE! NUKE!” Pretty sure she was asking for milk not an ICBM launch, but you never know with this kid.

Meanwhile, Baby Jenny is just tentatively starting solids. We delayed introducing solids because her nutritionist wanted her post-NICU gag reflex mostly eliminated before messing with her feedings. Even now, at 8 months’ adjusted age she really isn’t interested, but her reluctance to put things in her mouth voluntarily (she never puts toys in her mouth) means it’s time to start coaxing solids into her rather than waiting for her to attempt it herself. Too-late food introduction can further complicate feeding issues in preemies. It’s going swimmingly, if by swimmingly you mean:

Me, tentatively working a tiny dab of oatmeal into her mouth: “Mmmm! That’s oatmeal! What do you think?”

Baby: *disgusted theatrical retching and gagging*

At this rate we’ll most likely be eating her birthday cake on her behalf next month. Also, she still has a hard time reaching for things in front of her because she has such a strong arms-flung-backward brace instinct all the time (another micro preemie trait – we’re working on it in therapy). That makes the odds of her actually reaching forward and smashing any first birthday cake quite low. Consider this an advertisement for adopting preemies: not only do parents get extra birthday cake, it might be intact!

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2 thoughts on “Dining with the feral children

  1. Don’t feel too bad. Both my kids came into dinner last night (jambalaya from the Budget bytes blog) and declared it ‘yucky’ (even though we have vetoed that word in a food context!) before they had even sat down at the table. We eventually convinced them to eat the sausage out of it at least. Since I served it with salad they got a reasonably nutritionally balanced meal. We have taken up Auntie Leila’s philosophy – you have to try a teaspoon of everything on your plate; sometimes Ginger’s teaspoons are minute indeed.

    • Small children are so funny (albeit exasperating). One day they’ll eat anything, the next they’ll turn their nose up at a cookie but gulp brussels sprouts. The unpredictability is a bit frustrating for the cook, though! I like Auntie Leila’s philosophy – it lines up fairly well with the book French Kids Eat Everything, which I really liked for its sane but adventurous approach to food for children. Ours will usually eat almost everything if someone reads them a good distracting book. Ever since they were babies they’ve sometimes refused to touch an unfamiliar food, but will mindlessly pick up bites and eat them if we start reading a picture book. I’m honestly not sure if it’s teaching any kind of bad habit, but it’s quite effective – if I pull out something new and they balk I just read a short picture book while they start, distracting them through the first few bites, and they’ll often continue on to eat the rest of it after I put the book away. I have a feeling this will work less well once they’re Ginger’s age, though. Right now they’re still gullible two year olds :).

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