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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


christina says:

same here, thanks for always been so real 🙂

christina says:

oopps, i ment “being”, lol

shelly says:

Oh my gosh yes! I have one extremely picky eater who refuses to eat meat of any kind. She also is on a “pasta fruit and yogurt only” kick at the moment. She’s always been a veggie and fruit eater but now she’s being picky about veggies. Every meal feels like a marathon. I get so frustrated making food for her and having her turn her nose up at it. Even when she helps make it with me.

The toddler is starting some picky behaviors, which I know is typical of almost two year olds. But I’m afraid she’s going to see her sister’s pickiness and imitate it. Help me please! And to add to this she has severe egg and peanut allergies so she already has limited options.

I think I will lose my mind some days. Honestly. And the whole “they will eat eventually” doesn’t apply to this girl. She will refuse to eat all day long. The force is strong with this one.

AmyRyb says:

Both of my kids are picky, at least when it comes to healthy stuff. My 3yo wouldn’t even try a blackberry the other day! Veggies are extra tough. My older son has Celiac disease so we’re more limited on what he can eat anyway. I keep telling him how much easier his life would be if he tried more veggies and learned to love salads! But I have a couple tricks–the best one being breaded, baked zucchini. My older son loves that, with gluten-free breadcrumbs. My younger one really liked roasted sweet potato fries the other day. We’re in a tough spot now, though, because we have sports at least two days a week, and every other week my non-cooking husband is on his own with the kids for dinner. We need quick options that are easy to cook, and these seem like they’re be right up my 3yo’s alley!

Connie Clopper says:

Thanks for sharing some of your tips on picky eaters, my daughter tends to eat a little more and a little better (she is 5) than my 2 year old son…maybe it’s just a boy thing!! He just doesn’t like certain textures I don’t think… what child doesn’t like mac n cheese!!! Mine! LOL. I want to try to find those Plum Organic foods you mentioned, do you know what stores carry them? As far as cavities, my daughter has a bad one in one of her molars so we (well mainly me as the mom) have had that moment where you are walking out of the dentist office feeling like the worse mom in the world too, right after you find out!! But reading about how prevalent they are is kind of scary I try to make sure she gets her teeth brushed twice a day and sometimes in the morning rush we forget (Whoops!) and she may eat more starchy and sugary foods then she should but then again we have that battle of her either not eating anything or eating something that isn’t good for her teeth! Doesn’t parenting seem like a constant balance beam sometimes?? I love reading about your son though and comparing him to mine, who is JUST starting to get into trains- we can actually see trains go by the street that is behind our house, and my son loves getting up in his clubhouse in the backyard to see or look out the windows of our house!! It’s neat to watch them watch something they just LOVE!

Connie Clopper says:

Oh! I meant to ask- please tell me about those plates/bowls in the photos! Are the bowls attached to the plate?? I want those!! LOL!

Bren w says:

Yep, i have one of those picky eaters also. My grandchild who just turned 2 only likes fruits, beans, and cheese. Oh, and bread. “Feed the birds, Nana?” Its me feeding the birds and making bread balls for her 🙂

Kelster says:

My friend’s son is really picky. He will only eat shrimp. He might take a couple bites of something else and then he’s finished.

Jenny says:

Keeping pickyness at bay is an ongoing endeavor. I really got a lot of good ideas and shifted my mindset about eating while reading “French kids eat everything”. I highly recommend checking it out. Brushing teeth is exhausting and quite honestly we only brush and floss once a day but we are adamant about it and always have me or my husband do it. I had to have my fillings replaced this year because they were cracking (they only last like 15-20 years for the silver ones and 10-15 for the ceramic ones) and that reignited my desire to keep my kids from having cavities. I don’t know when we will let them brush their own teeth at night but right now they are supposed to get their practice in the morning and we do a thorough cleaning at night.

Shauna says:

I have the same worry with my kids and the dentist! I’m so scared to find out we aren’t brushing properly!

My daughter is just starting to get super picky and I’m trying not to accommodate it too much without forcing her to eat things she doesn’t want.

Heidi says:

There’s a book called “The Two Bite Club” that I read to my kids and daycare kids. I still have picky kids but they enjoy the book and it does help them to at least try things :-).

Shea says:

My LO also 5 had a bad dentist appointment last August. 4 cavities! Previous to the appointment I thought we were rockstars when it came to brushing and healthy eating. I blame it on genetics ;P Anywho, we love plum organics in this family. They make great quick snacks for my 5 and 2 year old. Love your stories!

Great post, this is really helpful for new moms to be! Check out this great article about easy tips to stay healthy during your pregnancy! (and then you leave a link to my post that is pertinent. http://travelingpanties.com/2016/05/16/tips-to-stay-healthy-while-pregnant-and-another-pregnancy-vlog-at-18-weeks/

Parenting is a learning process. I have three kids and I am not perfect at all. I am still learning and I still have a long way to go before I can consider myself very good at parenting. It is a tough job actually. Thanks for sharing.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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