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My Mealtime Woes


Let's talk about mealtime.

The one time of the day that's sure to stress me out is mealtime. It goes back quite a ways, so get comfy. Here we go.

When Grace was born, she just had no interest in eating. As soon as my wife tried to nurse her, she fell asleep. I mean instantly, as if there were a switch on her back that my wife was inadvertently tripping every time she got her into position. I realize that babies have to "learn" how to nurse just after they're born, but Grace seemed to have no inclination to learn. The nurses were feeding her with a dropper and little cup for the first day or so.

Things didn't immediately improve once we got home, either. We complained to our pediatrician, who suggested we take steps to "wake her up" prior to feeding times. That's right, she almost never woke up at night due to hunger. We had to wake her. My job was to get the wet washcloth and rub it on her little face and back to get her going. Once she started to cry, my wife would try to get her "engaged" as it were. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.

Flash-forward about a year. "Little Miss Third Percentile," as I had begun to call her, was enjoying her solid foods, but not a whole heck of a lot of it. Then we traveled to Pennsylvania to celebrate a college graduation with family. While at an Italian restaurant, we discovered that Grace likes pasta. Lots of pasta. She ate so much, in fact, that the waitstaff and even other diners were commenting on how much food this tiny little girl was putting away. I'm sure you can see where this is going.

We made her pasta at home. Lots of pasta. Today it's her favorite food (along with berries and cheese). I never wanted to be one of those parents who laments, "Gee, my little one only eats such-and-such," but that's who I've become. My mother tells me she had a similar experience with one of my sisters way back when. "She only wants to eat hot dogs," she complained to our old pediatrician. "So give her hot dogs," he replied. Those were the doctor's orders, as it were, but it still bothers me.

So, I'm trying to branch out (as I described in this podcast), with limited success. Sometimes she'll eat a sandwich, sometimes chicken. I'm good at sticking with "This is what I made for dinner and that's that," but my big problem is: What in the world do I prepare? There seems to be a serious lack of kid-friendly recipes available (as far as I can tell, at least)., and so on have got nothing for me. We did get one book by DK, but more than half the recipes are, you got it, pasta.

So, dear readers, my proposal to you is this: I need kid-friendly recipes. Please note that she's a peanut-free kid (which makes Halloween fun, by the way. "Daddy, can I have this peanut butter cup?" "No, honey. It might kill you."). I thank you in advance, as I'm getting desperate. As an act of gratitude, I'll share with you all the one recipe that I have been successful with. In fact, I use it to get her to eat broccoli. That's right.

This recipe came from my Italian grandmother, and we call it "Cold Broccoli." It's quite easy. Simply boil broccoli until it's tender buy not mushy. Next, toss it in a bowl with some extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice and finely diced garlic. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Don't ask me "how much" of each ingredient to use, because I don't really know. I put in, you know, "enough." She likes it, and maybe your little ones will, too. Let me know.

William, on the other hand (Mr. Fiftieth Percentile), is a human trash compactor. He'd eat a shoe if I served it to him on a plate.