Monday, April 26, 2010

Very Few Tater Tots for My Tater Tot

I have always taken my work seriously. I strive to be The Best and jump through any hoops necessary to get an Atta-girl. My position as wife & mother is perhaps my most important job and I take it very seriously. I feel like I earned a long-desired raise while eating dinner with my son this evening.

Even before I had a child, I've always wanted the best for my baby. I waited a long time to start a family so that I could give my child what I consider to be the very best of everything. Prior to getting pregnant, I focused on improving my nutrition so that I could give my baby the very best start. I took care to eat healthfully and avoid behaviors that might be potential risk factors for problems while pregnant. Once he was born, I committed to breastfeeding while trying to maintain a balanced diet. (Note: The first seven weeks of breastfeeding were AWFUL and I only stuck with it because I'm a stubborn old mule and I had made up my mind that this was the best source of nutrition for my baby. I'm glad I persevered though because I ended up with a lovely nursing relationship with my son that lasted until he was just over one-year old.) When my son began eating solids, I was mindful that his tastes could be influenced for better or worse by what I provided for him to eat. With that thought, I focused on vegetables after he had mastered various whole grain cereals. I think it's because I delayed introducing him to fruit, but he actually preferred veggies over fruit until he was around 18-months old. My son is almost 2-years old now and he still loves vegetables and fruit, but he does prefer fruit now. My son has been eating only table food, whatever I eat, since shortly after he turned one.

This is all just part of my job. It's up to me to make sure that my kiddo gets the nutrition he needs to grow healthy and strong. This isn't to say that there isn't room for junk food. He's had french fries plenty of times in the last year, he's had chocolate once or twice, he gets treated to juice now & then, and he has a few tortilla chips every Sunday afternoon. However, the mainstays of our diets (his or mine) aren't fries, chocolate, juice, & chips. We've always eaten reasonably well, but I've really kicked up the produce since starting WW.

I was admiring the design of one of his toddler plates tonight. It's a divided plate with one section being half the plate and the remaining two sections are roughly quarters. I filled the large section with steamed broccoli (seasoned with garlic, pepper, & salt and drizzled with a little flax oil - it was soooo tasty!) and the other two sections contained a romaine lettuce salad and half of a grilled chicken breast. I'm aware that this isn't exactly considered toddler-fare and I realize that most kids would turn up their nose at the broccoli specifically. But this is the meal that I prepared and this is what I set down in front of him.

He. Ate. Every. Bite!

At one point he held up a broccoli floret and asked, "What's this?" I replied that it was, "Wockly Broccoli and it's taaaassssty!" Yeah, I make up silly names for foods to make them cooler to him - you don't want to know what I call Brussels sprouts, but he ate it all!

Now, this is typical in our house. The kid eats chili, curry, pasta with sauce, steak (cut into super-small pieces of course), fish, jambalaya, you name it. If I prepare it, he generally eats it. But, for some reason I can't figure out, he began to shun steamed veggies. I found that he still loved veggies in casseroles, soups, and pasta sauces, but steamed veggies by themselves weren't a big hit for him anymore. I still offered them whenever I prepared them, but knew that he would only take a few bites before focusing on what else was on his plate.

So tonight feels like a victory of sorts. For months I have continued to offer what I knew was healthy & delicious (steamed veggies) and he ultimately came around and enjoyed it. I'd like to say that this was a win for Team Mama, but it really was a win for both of us.

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