It’s been one of those months where we’ve had a few rude awakenings: From a wakeful kid to a bad dentist appointment to an extremely picky toddler… We had some work to do.
It’s not easy admitting we’re not the parents we thought we’d be. But talking about ways we could do better was good.
After a depressing dentist appointment where I was told my daughter has numerous cavities (I seriously can’t write this without crying), we’ve taken the toothbrush back from my daughter and into our own hands. My husband has been impressive with his nightly coaching and flossing with her. I’ve taken mornings on the days he’s working and evenings with our son.
When it comes to our wakeful son (who honestly is finally getting better) we’re trying to tire him out more before bed. My husband (again, awesome) takes the kids out for a run or workout in the evenings. This seems to make falling asleep after their bath time routine easier, and for the most part, keep him asleep at night.
Next up (yes, our list of needed improvement goes on and on) mealtime. Our kids are crazy picky eaters. I purposely tackle picky eater stories for my parenting segment at the news station so I can learn how to deal with my own kids. We are all over the place. I mean literally. Often I’ll make something for the kids then my husband and I will just throw together something or eat on our own after their in bed. My son is up walking around with a piece of his dinner in hand, or just leaving the table completely because he doesn’t want what we made. The only time I can manage to get him to sit is when we prop up an iPad.
We’re tackling this issue a few different ways. For one, we’re at the table together most of the time, or at least the kids with one of us. We used to be better at this, but when my husband’s schedule was flipped upside down we got used to eating dinners apart, and sorta “fending for ourselves.” We’re trying to get back to sitting down together. When we eat together, my son is more apt to stay at the table with us.
Next, I’m getting the kids involved in preparing the meal. ALL of the picky eating experts talk about this. So even if they’re just peeling the banana that’s going with their pasta, helping slice the strawberries, or helping me add milk to their mac and cheese, it’s something! And I promise you, it makes a difference. Yes, my kids are still picky, but both my son and daughter take bites and actually TRY new foods that they’d never even touch before. Baby steps are better than no steps.
I’m also trying to be better about offering a balanced meal every night. They might not eat it all but it’s in front of them, and eventually, maybe they’ll eat all of their carrots.
So for example, last night I made the Plum Organics Mighty Mealtime cheesy broccoli mac and cheese, a new line made especially for toddlers but that bigger kids can enjoy too. It has a blend of whole-wheat macaroni with organic cheese and veggie bits. Just add water or milk, heat and serve. Easy enough and appealing to kids. I also let them help me slice up some organic strawberries. I rolled sliced turkey, and tossed in a few grapes. If they eat it all that’s great, but also very unlikely. But at the very least I know they’ll eat the fruit, my daughter probably even more.
My daughter tried everything and gobbled up the fruit and turkey. My son ate less but that’s him Maybe next time he’ll try more. Eventually, the more they’re offered a variety of foods and begin to recognize the “new” foods, the more likely they are to try it, and eat more of their dinner.
There’s also a Mighty Mealtime banana strawberry oatmeal option that my daughter loves, and a few other mac & cheese and oatmeal flavors.
So now when we get back from picking them up from school instead of me running off for a break and my husband working out til bedtime, or watching TV, we’re trying to be more engaged with our kids. From homework and working out together, to making food, to diligent flossing, and reading before bed. All of the little things we said we were going to do before we became parents, but it didn’t quite pan out that way.
We aren’t perfect. Not even close. Admitting some of these things I probably sound like a flaky mom. But like in marriage, I think parenting is a work in progress. And with some effort, we’ll keep getting better. At least, I hope.
Do you deal with picky eaters too?
Mighty Mealtine from Plum Organics is USDA-Certified Organic, non-GMO and comes in delicious oatmeal and mac and cheese varieties. Just add hot water or milk, heat and serve! Doesn’t get much easier than that. One of my awesome blog readers will win a $35 Plum Organics prize pack. Just leave a comment to enter below!
*I’m an imperfect parent trying my best and a big believer in trying to get the best foods in our little ones even if they’re picky, which is why I partnered with Plum Organics on this post.