Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cheese Doodle Guilt

Mommy guilt is every type of guilt I've ever experienced in my lifetime -forgetting to send a birthday card, not studying enough for a test, talking my way out of too many speeding tickets, failing to clean my house right before people randomly drop by- rolled into one giant ball of self inflicting horror.

Whenever something bad happens, or even something good- I find something about it in which to assign guilt to myself. 

With Chubbs, that bad habit has ballooned out of control. Everything makes me feel guilty -not doing enough therapy, not reading to her enough, not standing on my head/dancing/juggling entertaining her enough.

But today I discovered a way to soothe my mommy guilt with one thing that has made me feel quite guilty for a while now.

Namely, this.

Chubbs is such a picky eater. She is sixteen months old (yes, I know I posted seventeen months a couple of days ago...I claim prego brain)- anyway, she is sixteen months old and still gets most of her nutrience through the bottle.
She has enough teeth to take out even the strongest of foes (including three molars), so she technically could chew anything that I choose to give her, but she uses her stubbornness to either:

1. taste the food and immediately spit it out with a face of appalling disbelief that I would torture her so
2. pin her lips together and turn her jaw upwards in a stuck up way that implies that in no way could she deign that food to cross her lips
3. find the food that I have pried open her mouth to insert far back into her cheek...fishing it out with her weirdly talented tongue and spitting it out so forcefully that I end up wearing half of her dinner while she wears the "where's my bottle?" smirk

Occasionally, she will surprise me and chew and swallow real food, mistakenly leading me to believe that she loves it. She waits until I have fixed it a second time (or have gone out and bought it in bulk) and then follows one of her normal three steps.

She most always will eat stage 2 or 3 baby food- but only carrots, sweet peas or mixed vegetables.

She will almost always eat crunchy things- such as crackers, cheerios, goldfish (but only if she is feeding them to herself)

She will pitch tantrums until she gets sweet things- ice cream, cake, KLONDIKE bars...and if she see someone eating it and is not offered any- watch out because your eyes will soon be scratched out by the tiny fingers of terror, extracting revenge for not sharing the sweet treat with such a deserving child...

If we are at a dinner party and we feed her real food off of our plates, she eats whatever just fine- proving that she can when she wants to.

But once at home, and eating isn't quite as social as it is just Mommy nibbling along with her (Daddy is still at work) instead of a room full of adoring fans cheering on her every jaw movement, she refuses to work at it, settling for the sure to come comfort bottle that merely requires her to contentedly suck instead of diligent chewing.

Sigh. It has been discouraging...causing me lots of guilt as her diet mostly consists of formula, baby food, occasionally yogurt, crackers and ice cream.

I know, pretty much worst mother ever.

But honestly? It is pretty wonderful if she does anything with her teeth besides viciously bite her parents (my skin can only take so much) - that I feed her some things that maybe aren't on the #1 toddler food list just because it is real food that she will tolerate, and she can't stay on formula forever.

Thus, the extreme case of mommy guilt.

But today I soothed this guilt as I discovered something very useful.

After her nap, she refused more than two bites of her greek yogurt, angrily spit the fresh raspberries back at me, and laughed in my face that I would expect her to eat deliciously ripe strawberries. I gave up and gave her something I knew she would eat-a puffy cheese doodle.

She latched onto that chip like a starving woman, eagerly chewing and gnawing until the only remaining evidence of it was the cheese spreading across her cheeks and hands (that somehow all made it onto my white couch).

Experimenting, I spread cheese doodles all around the room- places that she would need to work to get to.

First I put them up high, so that she had to stand to reach it. I put two cheese doodles right next to each other, so that when she reached her grubby paws to grab both of them at once, using those razor sharp teeth to shred both chips immediately to bits, she had to balance herself standing up without using her hands to do all of the leaning.

I then put them a little ways away, so she had to walk over to the next one, etc, etc, etc.

After a very useful (and not at all sneaky) therapy session, I wasn't feeling so bad about feeding my daughter cheese doodles instead of greek yogurt or fresh fruit for her post nap snack because she had just flown around the room and back, not remembering to be stubborn about physical therapy as her intense desire for yet another cheese doodle gave her super human powers, enabling to walk just a little bit faster, crawl even more aggressively, and even pass easily from furniture piece to furniture piece without flinching to get to that next cheese doodle....

Guilt- gone.

Yes, I feed my one year old cheese doodles instead of fresh fruit.

But she walked to get to them...which made me pretty happy.

Give a little-take a little....

Meanwhile? I just keep wishing and praying that the healthy stuff that the rest of us are eating will someday appeal to Chubbs' little, but voraciously sharp sweet tooth...hopefully someday soon...If any of you have advice and have dealt with this before, I would love to hear whatever worked for you and your 'stubborn' child...(-:

10 comments:

  1. Love it! We too give in to Cheetos at our house. It is my little man's favorite. And really, he is so tiny, what are a few extra cheesy calories going to hurt? :) I love that you worked it into her therapy. Smart Mama. And I have no words of advice to get her to eat the healthy stuff. We are still fighting that battle at our house to!!

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  2. Oh man the mommy guilt is consuming, but I really believe that it all evens out in the end. Cheese doodle today, walking big girl tomorrow...

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  3. i genuinely attribute LC's four-point crawling successes to using Cheetos Puffcorn as bait.

    And, while LC was (and is) a gloriously voracious eater, her brother...who is a year younger, her exact height, and over 3 pounds HEAVIER...refuses all foods.

    Baby food? Nope.

    Sweets? Ice cream? Candy? Nope.

    Chips? Crackers? Nope.

    He's 20 months old and has eaten a single serving cup of pre-packaged applesauce from start to finish as his ONLY successfully completed solid foods in the past. three. DAYS.

    So, if that nutritional guilt sneaks up on you again, just whisper to yourself, "Well, she's eaten more than Biggie has this WEEK in this meal alone."

    Maybe we should hook these two up. Think of the cheap dinner date THAT would be.

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  4. Millie is the same way- I always wonder how she hasn't lost her baby fat since she doesn't seem to eat anything! It's maddening sometimes.

    But I love that cheese doodles worked as motivation. It'd work for me, too!

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  5. LOL! Good for you for thinking of using them as "therapy tools"!!
    My kids are both still very picky and if I let them they would only eat, pop tarts,yogurt,chicken nuggets and chef boyardee, oh and of course pringles!!
    I think feeding kids is one of the hardest things about being a mommy. Caleb went 2 weeks when he was around a year old where he ONLY ate fishy crackers and cheerios....He still prefers crunchy or hard food, he is my sensory eater, but every once in awhile he wil try something new....and actually like it!
    Oh and I think both of my kids started eating cheetos around 13 months so dont feel too bad! :)
    you are doing an incredible job with that fashionable little girl!!!

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  6. Many a child has survived to a normal adult hood on chicken fingers and mac-n-cheese - thats that I tell myself. Just pat yourself on the back while trying the good stuff and then do your best with the bad! Great thinking with the walking!

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  7. Don't feel bad about this! Our PT is ALWAYS recommending we use food as a motivator.

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  8. I'm come over from Kelly's blog.

    Your daughter is adorable!!

    so nice to meet you♥

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  9. Her tastes will change as she grows. I remember our first one lived on yogurt and high protein cereal for a long time--up to about 18 or 20 months! Do you recall how Chubbs didn't like the bath at first? Look at how that has changed? New sensations take time to get accustomed to. Think of what she has been exposed to and what her expectations are. Have you ever thought your were about to drink coffee and took a sip of tea? If you were expecting tea, it wouldn't be bad...but the expectations change the perception. Too long of a post...bottom line...Chubbs is a sweetheart and we love her!

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  10. Hi Deanna~
    Just wanted to say "hi"... newest follower! I found your blog through Kelly's SUYL. The picture at the end of Addison's birth story is just about the cutest picture I ever seen! What a sweetie!
    Take care!

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