Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Operation Picky Toddler

Oh, my sweet Johnny boy, why won't you just TRY the pasta? Ya know, I have been working diligently the past few months trying to get my son to try new foods, even if he doesn't eat any more than that one bite, at least he tried it. Sounds simply enough, right? Well, sometimes. I like to think I'm pretty intuitive and also pretty well versed in communication with my little one and finding ways to be creative with making him excited to try new foods.

For instance, "Wow, Johnny! There's a dinosaur on that meal! Do you think the dinosaur loves to eat that?" Johnny will exclaim, "Yes mommy yes! Dinosaur!" So, he seems excited to try it, right? Wrong! Or, "Hey Johnny, this tree stick (broccoli) looks like the one Old Brown (Peter Rabbit show) likes, I think you will really like this too! Look at mommy eat this yummy tree!" Sounds good, right? Well, he thought so too! Thankfully, he tried a little piece. He thought for a second and then tried it again and decided the texture was "yucky" but the taste was good. Okay, so I'm onto something here. My next goal is to try to boil or steam the broccoli so maybe the texture will be more pleasant.

The typical American kids favorites such as, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, pasta and meatballs; my son will NOT eat. To say I'm pretty happy about that may be an understatement. However, I'm not at all opposed to my child consuming those foods SOMETIMES. I guess it's just mind boggling to me that he doesn't like them.

So, what does he like? Well, I will make a list:
Pineapples (sometimes)
Watermelon (sometimes)

Broccoli (we are almost there!)
Carrots (same above with texture)
Spinach (I hide it in his protein shakes and pancakes)
Peas (he's not opposed to peas completely, he will actually touch them and squeeze them, he just hasn't tried one, YET!)

American Cheese slices
Almond milk (shakes ONLY, I don't blame him)
Greek yogurt with fruit

Chicken nuggets (I'm going to work more on perfecting a homemade recipe for this)
Whey protein (I have to make shakes for him so he gets more protein as you can see)

Whole wheat bread
Peanut Butter (Marantha Crunchy)
Home made protein pancakes
Home made french toast

So, as you see, he eats SOME really good food which, after writing this I am actually very pleased with. However, most of these items he will not eat as a complete meal or mixed together. For instance, he loves bread and cheese but hates cheese sandwiches! I can sit there for an hour with him and tell him, "Johnny, if you just TRY this, you can play." No go! He will cry and cry, turn his head, stuff his hands in his mouth, etc. So, I see how long I can go with no TV on, no games, no toys, nothing, until he at LEAST licks the spoon. But I think he's just so worked up every single time that no matter what it is, he's going to not like it and gag.

However, maybe he inherited this all from me? I remember up until the age of 21 (no I'm not kidding) that I wouldn't try ANYTHING. All I really ate was peanut butter sandwiches, salami sandwiches (BOTH PLAIN, mind you!), and anything fast food that was simple. I had never even tasted fish until my twenties! I didn't try mayo and mustard until I was 25 (again, serious). But now I will eat just about anything that you put on my plate!

I want my son to enjoy different foods and eat more protein in his diet (along with veggies) but I also feel like at this point, I'm doing what I can do be successful. All I can do is keep on trying and not give up.

At this point I am EXTREMELY thankful for Earths Best and Plum Tots for their squeeze packets of delicious and healthy food! My son LOVES them, and at least he's getting some fruits/veggies/oats/and quinoa in there!

Do you have any success stories for Operation Picky Toddler? I'd LOVE to hear it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Life Right Now

Let me preface this by saying that life has been insanely crazy. Life has been very stressful, lately. Life has been CRAZY BEAUTIFUL, lately. Watching my son grow and seriously pick up every single word I throw at him, asking questions, running, playing with toys, playing with kids, using the iPad better than me; everything has been so beautiful! Ever since hearing the news of little Ryan Cruz's death, I've been stressed about Johnny's every move, which I KNOW isn't good, but some days I just can't help myself. But, day by day I am learning to give him space (with a very watchful eye). There have been days lately where Johnny lets me rock him to sleep and he just stares at me while I sing him lullabies. There have been days where he cuddles me, a LOT! There are still days when he says, "mommy, carry you!" (meaning, carry HIM). I soak up these moments for all they are worth because he hasn't always been a very lovey, touchy, feely kind of kid. I think it may have taken some time for him to really LOVE me. And, while he's only 2 and a half, I think that's okay and normal. Because what I know is that boy really, REALLY loves me. And no words could ever suffice to explain the pure love and gratitude I have for my baby. Some day's I want to scream, some days I just want to SLEEP, some days I don't know how much more I can take from a tantrum; but learning how to be HIS mommy, and learning to understand HIS needs has been so worthwhile.

Parenting is excruciatingly difficult. I really don't think I would fully grasp the challenge had I not been granted the opportunity to stay home and raise my son. My goal as a parent is to learn how to be the best parent I can be. It is so easy to say yes and to just let kids do whatever they want. And it is so beyond challenging to say no and really stick to it. To learn to set rules and boundaries. To teach your child proper behavior and manners. To make sure he understands he can not have dessert without eating enough of his food. To make sure he understands that bed time is sacred and necessary. I want my son to be able to come to me if he has a problem, to be able to confide in me, to not be afraid of anything he may have done or do. I want him to make mistakes in life, I want him to fall down and pick himself back up, I want ALL of these things for him. Because these are the things that help you in life. These things propel you forward. These things are what life is about. I want to teach my son patience yet to understand a sense of urgency in regard to work and chores. Most of all, I want him to feel and understand my love.

Now, to my next point. I hate change, but I am wise enough to understand that it is necessary. We bought a new car recently and are moving at the end of the month. It is now two weeks since we got our new car and my son is finally accepting that it is OUR car and not "papa's" car. I think it's adorable and so freaking smart that he calls it "papas car." My father-in-law has a black Ford car and ours is a black Ford SUV, so for him putting two and two together in regards to the logo and the color, is nothing short of awesome. However, me being cursed with oversensitive feelings, it's made me sad when he wouldn't want to ride in the car or would call it "papas car." It made me feel like this whole change thing when we move is going to be very difficult for him. I already know it's going to be hard for all of us, but I know once we get settled that it will truly be the BEST thing for us. So, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers with our move and that he's okay with sleeping in a new house.

So, here's to a new journey in our lives!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A New Year?

So, I was scrolling through my blogs because I wanted to write about a certain topic related to parenting and in the process I realized I never wrote a blog for a recap on my year in 2013 or my goals/predictions for 2014. And it's July of 2014. If that isn't a sign that I'm a parent to a toddler, I don't know what does. Or what does it mean? I'm not sure because the truth is, I really look forward to writing about my year. I enjoy thinking back to the experiences of my years and figuring out ways to enjoy life more, or remember a certain event that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. While I am trying to weed out certain experiences in 2013, it took me a while to think about everything. We are so deep into 2014 and SO much has happened in my life this year already, like, so so much, that it's quite the challenge to even remember what the hell happened in 2013.

Big events in 2013:
1. The celebration of my son's 1st Birthday (Yo Gabba Gabba!). With his birthday being on Christmas, it makes more sense to celebrate it when everyone calms down from holiday overload.

2. Emergency tooth "surgery" the day after his party. FUN!

3. Celebrating my husbands birthday (Davanti Enoteca)

4. Our first family vacation in Vero Beach, Florida where my dads family has been vacationing since like, ancient times (like that, dad?). It was my very first time back there since I was 17, so I hadn't been there in about 10 years at the time. Almost our entire family was there and it was so memorable and fun! I did a specific post in my earlier blogs.

5. Our first family vacation to DISNEY!!! And my first time staying on the actual grounds (Beach Club Resort). It was AH-MAY-ZING! I loved every single second. I also posted on my blog specifically about this.

6. I enrolled Johnny at my College Alma Mater (UIC) for swimming lessons! He hated it. I hated it. Our instructor was cray cray. But we made some cool friends and it gave us something to do. Would I do it there again? No, sir!

7. My hubby and I went to Nashville for the 4th of July and THAT was super awesome. We stayed at the Grand Ole Opryland!

8. My husband and I celebrated ONE YEAR of marriage in Las Vegas!

9. I faced some fears in dealing with a certain family member of mine. And realized that it was the very END of that relationship for good. HUGE MOMENT and HUGE epiphany for me.

10. I celebrated my sons 2nd birthday! How is he TWO!? Ugh. Anyways, that happened. I love him to death.

Breaking it down helps me remember more about 2013. My husband started a new job in April of 2013 and the whole thing was a very big change for all of us. He needed to work more hours, his commute was MUCH longer, he went from a casual to a corporate environment, he was now taking TWO sources of public transportation, and dinner went from being at 5:30-6 to 7-7:30. My job as a mom was almost like a single mom for a while, but I didn't mind. We need to make sacrifices in our lives for our spouses and this was no exception. Something that we always aim to do is spend time together ALONE. So, we do dinners out or drinks or hit up festivals, take weekend vacations, etc., just to make sure we are giving each other the attention we deserve.

At the very end of 2013, my husband and I committed to each other to finally lose the "baby weight." And truthfully, it wasn't because I didn't like the number on the scale. But EVERYTHING was tight on me. I felt SO uncomfortable. And I really wasn't happy at the end of 2013 with myself. In 2013 I really think I put myself on the back burner. My husband needed more from me. My son needed a LOT more from me. And the truth is, I don't have a lot of family help to stop by if I need to run to the store or need to get something done. So, I placed a lot of unnecessary stress on myself. Looking back I find that I was just going through the motions of life, stressing, and not being very kind to myself. That's just the honest truth.

As for what is going on in 2014, I posted a LOT about that and will make it a point to post at the end of the year and do my recap. What I CAN say about 2014 is that so far it's the most challenging, most exciting, most brand new, and filled with the most change! And I wouldn't have it ANY other way!