Cereal For Every Meal
Benjamin, our 2 ½ year old prefers and often demands “cer-re-real” for breakfast and dinner. He will eat regular food at lunch while at daycare, but even on the weekends, his request for sugary goodness is heard loud and clear at noon. So when I took him for his wellness check-up last week, the pediatrician, Dr. Chu asked me about his general habits, including food.
I really didn’t want to tell her about the many times I cave in and let Ben eat cereal. I didn’t want to have to tell her the brands, the portion, or hear back the calculated average of Red Dye #7 he was ingesting, but you have to be honest with your doctors. So I said, “He’s pretty picky.”
“Picky,” Dr. Chu said. “Ok.”
The guilt pooled.
“I mean, I introduce foods to him all the time.”
“Uh, huh…” Because what else is she supposed to say. I’m doing this right, right?
“Well, he eats a lot of cereal.”
“Good. Good.” She replied, so easily. Not what I was expecting after dropping the cereal bomb either.
So I try to cover the cereal bomb carnage that only I can see…
“I mean, last night I made him a hamburger and all I could get him to eat was the bread and like two bites of meat. Does ketchup count as a vegetable, because he ate a whole lot of that?”
She laughs. “Does he like French fries?”
This question actually threw me off because 1) Who doesn’t like French fries? and 2) She didn’t ask me about vegetables. I was half expecting her to ask about whether or not he had a pickle, which he DID, and then I could have a small victory between us where my son actually ate something green other than a booger, but instead it was French fries.
“Yes, he’ll eat French fries.” I said slowly and then I remembered other food victories I hadn’t mentioned yet like, “He also like Cuties, you know, the oranges. He eats one every day! And yogurt! He really likes yogurt!”
My voice was elevating and I could feel the excitement of being able to identify the wins I experience during my daily Hunger Games battles.
And that was pretty much the end of the food conversation. I mean, we had thoroughly covered it, right? But I was expecting, and I guess felt like I deserved a lashing for the copious amounts of cereal my toddler eats and it never came. I felt thwarted. Like I had run into battle with my shield raised only to find out the battle was over and I was late to the game. Didn’t I deserve to be told I was doing this wrong?
Then. It. Hit. Me.
I’m NOT doing this wrong!
So my toddler won’t eat the five basic food groups at each meal. Whose toddler does? The magical toddler that everyone else has that I have created in my head to compare my parenting skills to? Yes, THAT toddler eats the rainbow, was potty trained at 18 months, and doesn’t sing “And BINGO was his name OH” at the top of his lungs for 15 minutes while his mom is trying to discuss food habits with his pediatrician.
Let’s just add that I also have a twelve year old and because there is such an age gap in my children, I tend to forget that I have done this before! I have fed and nurtured another child to almost preteenhood so why am I freaking out that I am insufficient for this one because he prefers cereal with marshmallows in it versus a juicy chicken breast.
Because parenting ain’t easy. We want the best 24/7 and sometimes have to settle for the best right now and it makes us feel like we aren’t good enough, but the pediatrician at the end of the tunnel says we are, and sometimes it’s hard, and just keep trying.
And isn’t it true that “Everyone knows how to raise children except for the people that have them.” -P.J. O’Rourke (Lol.)
Last night our two-year old ate:
1 bowl of Lucky Charms
1 Cutie Orange
1 Activa Yogurt
7 Pieces of Broccoli (green victory!)
Last night our preteen ate:
7 Pieces of broccoli
1 Bite of Beans
Here’s what I cooked, in case you are interested
Eye of Round steak
(preheat oven to 350)
Place in Pam sprayed glass dish, 3 mini steaks
Cover in Worchestshire, Liquid Smoke, Garlic & Onion Powder, Black pepper
Small pat or butter on each one
Cover with tin foil
Cook for 40 Minutes
Dump frozen Broccoli florets in microwave safe baking dish
Add some water per directions
3 pats of butter
Saran warp it up
Cook for as long as it says to
Canned Beans of your choice
Heat up in a bowl of your choice
For the length of time you choose
I think this whole meal cost me $25 and it fed 3 people, with broccoli and beans left over. I realize it’s not fancy, but it’s real… kinda like my parenting skills.