Monday, October 18, 2010

Food fights, mealtime messes, and amazing art

    I’ve been raising children for a while now.  A little over twelve years, in fact.  I think I am a pretty good mother, and yet, sometimes I just don’t understand my children at all.  My youngest child is 14 months old.  She used to be the chubbiest little thing- she had rolls on her arms,  rolls on her thighs, even rolls on her ankles.  She had a round belly, full round cheeks, and, like the scruff on a puppy dog, a little roll of chub on the back of her neck.  She would eat anything and everything we served her.  One time we gave her avocado and though she grimaced with every bite as though it caused her great pain, she kept right on eating it.  Then she started getting picky, very picky.  She lately has a diet of about 5 or 6 foods that she will eat.  Anything else she is served at mealtimes gets pushed to one side of her high chair tray or thrown over the side.  Ironically, she puts everything else she gets her hands on in her mouth.  It is not unusual to find her eating bits of paper bitten out of books.  She samples leaves and mulch from the front yard.  She sucks on toys, pencils, and glue sticks yet we literally cannot get her to taste a grain of rice during dinner.   I really don’t get it at all.  How can she be so willing to nibble such an array of strange inedible treasures, yet be completely opposed to eating a bean or a bit of chicken?
    Lately, the battle of what goes in baby’s mouth and what does not has gotten a little more interesting.  In typical toddler fashion, she is into everything these days.  Everything!  Over the weekend, she got her hands on a can of Nesquik chocolate milk mix.  Before we realized what she was up to, she had pulled out handfuls of the powder and, with it all over the floor and herself, was decorating the kitchen in sugary brown dust.  The next day she climbed up to a chair next to the kitchen table and dipped her hands in a cup of chocolate milk and proceeded to “finger paint” with it all over the table.  Then, she saw some mashed potatoes on her high chair tray, some of the “reject” food she had decided against eating, and added those to her “masterpiece”.  This morning, she once again scaled the kitchen chair and discovered the fun of shaking salt all over the place.  She stood happily tossing it around in every direction and feeling the wonderful grit in her hands and hair as she created yet another beautifully artistic mess.  The older children and I could only laugh as we swept the floor and wiped the table off.  Food may not always be valued as a source of nutrition around my house but it certainly seems to be a fabulous source of amusement!

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