March 2011

Dinner Drama Part 1: Unfinished Business

by Sally on March 31, 2011

Oh, dinner.

I vaguely remember an event that occurred around 7:30 every evening and involved eating at a leisurely pace and my husband and I speaking to each other and actually hearing all the words.

I’m not sure what happened to that meal. Lately, many of our dinners devolve into an exercise in frustration.

The reason: For the last several months, Sam has not eaten his dinner. More than a few bites, that is. And some nights, not a single forkful passes his lips.

A while back, I posted these before-and-after shots of my kids’ dinner plates. Those are looking pretty good compared to Sam’s recent dinner showings.

Like this one:

I served: Baked fish, brown rice & broccoli

Sam ate: One bite of fish and a lick of ketchup

Or this one:

I served: Homemade pizza & cantaloupe

Sam ate: The cantaloupe

I follow Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility: That means I’m supposed to be in charge of what we eat and when we eat. My kids are in charge of whether they eat it and how much they eat.

But I’m also human. And a (slightly harried) working mom of two young kids. So some days, when Sam is clamoring for a banana 30 minutes before dinner and I have three pots going on the stove and the phone is ringing and Henry is whining that he can’t find his Lego policeman’s microscopic set of handcuffs, the Division of Responsibility goes out the window. And some nights, after spending 45 minutes preparing a pretty delicious and well-balanced meal only to have Sam push away his plate yet again, I feel utterly defeated by this 30-pound redhead.

Sure: This phase, too, shall probably pass. But in the meantime, I wanted to know if there’s anything I could do differently. And I wanted to hear an outside perspective. So I decided to consult with Dr. Dina Rose, a “food sociologist” who teaches parents how to instill healthy eating habits and consciously shape their children’s relationship with food. She writes a terrific blog called It’s Not About Nutrition.

Next week, I’ll let you know what she has to say about Sam’s dinner defiance, plus some surprising tips she had for getting both kids eating better.

Oh, and those Lego handcuffs? I accidentally vacuumed them up. Don’t tell Henry.


This One Goes to Eleven

by Sally on March 22, 2011

This is Sam. He has bright red hair and vivid blue eyes and is almost three. He loves singing, dancing, and performing dramatic interpretations of Ten Apples Up on Top.

Mostly, he’s loud.

He slept for much of his first three weeks of life, lulling us into a false sense of confidence that we could manage two children. Then he woke up, and things hit the fan.

Weeks of colicky screaming turned into months of teething-related screeching. And now, he simply operates at top volume at all times, whether he’s wailing or giggling. In the words of Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel, “This one goes to eleven.”

Sam is also a… how shall I put this… challenging eater. This serves me well, because it guarantees I will always have empathy for moms with mealtime issues. I will never, ever look at you with disdain if you tell me that lunch for your child today was the jelly he licked off of his PB&J sandwich.

And because Sam is so loud, these challenging eating behaviors are amplified–and impossible to ignore. He doesn’t just want M&Ms for breakfast. HE! WANT! EM-NEM! FAH! BECKFUST! He doesn’t quietly ignore the asparagus spears on his plate, he rejects them with a dramatic, “YUCK! THEM ARE GIDUSTING!”

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about little Sam–what he’s dishing out to me and how I’m taking it (both the successes and, oh yes, the failures). I hope you’ll stay tuned. It’s gonna get loud.


“What Can You Eat?!” & Other Food Allergy Faux Pas

March 15, 2011

My son’s school takes food allergies seriously. Class party menus are planned and screened by the teacher and principal, and parents are told not to bring goodies without clearance. So when the Valentine’s Day party rolled around this year and parents sent in a bunch of random treats anyway, I thought about the moms and […]

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{Recipe} Very Lemony Homemade Hummus

March 9, 2011

When I finally got around to making hummus, I couldn’t believe how simple it was. I’d been spending way too much money on store-bought hummus that wasn’t half as good. This recipe comes from my friend and fellow dietitian Cheryl Graffagnino. I love it because it has lots of lemon, doesn’t require too many ingredients, […]

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The Pantry Challenge Postmortem

March 3, 2011

5 Lessons Learned: 1. It is not humanly possible for me to feed my family for $25 a week unless I resort to cooking ramen noodles and off-brand macaroni and cheese for dinner. With my Pantry Challenge budget, I could barely keep us in milk and produce. $50 a week would’ve been more doable–and still […]

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Pantry Challenge: Week Four Update

March 2, 2011

The Pantry Challenge is over, and not a moment too soon. While toasting a heel of bread this morning for breakfast (after discovering there was no cereal left) my husband turned to me and said in a rather unfriendly way, “It’s March 2nd. I’m done with this Pantry Challenge.” Alrighty. Message received. It hasn’t been […]

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