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ice cream is not for breakfast

feeding your kids without losing your mind

Playing with food

September
19

I thought this day would never come – my two-year-old leaning from his high chair with arms outstretched, pleading “boccoli, boccoli” as I walked to the dinner table with a plate of steaming asparagus.
Now, I don’t fuss over details. The idea is that Aristu is enthusiastic about vegetables, may it be broccoli, asparagus or green beans, is good news. That’s a big change from a few months ago when he would spit out anything that had vegetables in it, even though I tried to hide it in all kinds of food.
Now, he’ll eat as many florets of broccoli as I give him — OK, I’m pushing it; let’s say three or four — though he doesn’t eat the stem. But we’ll get there at some point. The other day he examined a string bean for a few seconds before tentatively putting it in his mouth.
What does bother me, though, is that he seems to like his vegetables after giving them a bath. We usually give him a plastic cup with a little bit of water because he seems to want to graduate from his sippy cup. These days he likes to slip the broccoli/beans/asparagus into the cup, swirl it around, take it out dripping, suck on it and then chew it. The other day he gave the same treatment to a chicken nugget. As my husband and I and our oldest – he’s 12 – gagged with disgust, Aristu wasn’t bothered at all. He sucked on the chicken nugget and then wolfed it down.
I don’t like the idea of his playing with food while eating dinner. I know that at day care he sits before a television while his teacher feeds him. I disapprove of that, but I don’t insist she stop doing that because, otherwise, it would take her forever to feed him. I know, it takes him 45 minutes to eat when he’s home.
But I’m going to let him play with his food as long as he eats it at the end. If you’re the parent of a fussy eater, you’ll understand. It doesn’t matter how he eats it, as long as he eats it. Right?

This entry was posted on Friday, September 19th, 2008 at 10:38 am by Hema Easley. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: asparagus, at and play, broccoli, chicken nugget, green beans, vegetables

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About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

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About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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