Saturday, October 16, 2010

On the topic of Toddlers and food...

I refuse to eat sausages and mashed potatoes every single night, and it annoys me that people do this!

Firstly, because I am a vegetarian....actually, no. That is not a reason, because sometimes we do have meaty things for dinner. I am not the only person that eats (even though it feels like it today... I am not hopping on the scales until I have starved myself for at least 24 hours.) in my house and therefore it would be unfair not to serve meat occasionally. Just don't ask me to cook it, okay? Or prepare it. Or...Okay, I will stop now.

Mainly because it's not a balanced or varied diet, eating bangers and mash every single night. I know of people (none of my friends, you are all amazing) who have given up on vegetables because they wouldn't be eaten. YOU CAN'T GIVE UP ON VEGETABLES! YOU NEED THEM! I know of people who serve chips with every meal, because otherwise their kids wouldn't eat. Okay, if your child eats chips for every single dinner and maybe one wilted carrot stick, well it would probably do your kids the world of good to go hungry for a bit. AND GROWN UPS TOO! Some people really need to head back to primary school for nutrition.

A recent report suggested that Australian kids have THE WORST DIET out of any developed countries, with only 3% of children aged 2-4 and 2% of children aged 9-13 eating the recommended 2-4 servings of vegetables per day and 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese, which is terrifying. Surely parents want what is best for their children? Have we grown so soft that the concept of tough love means nothing?

All this ranting is not to say that Ava is some wonder child who eats and loves every vegetable known to man....Ha ha ha ha ha....I WISH! She is like every child when they hit that magical age between one and two, and has gone from eating everything and vast quantities of it, to eating nothing. Or only bread. Or things dipped in things. Or things that are white. And definately not things that are green... She is a normal child (in spite of me) and most of the time flat out refuses to eat anything that isn't garlic bread or rice.

When it comes to what is served, I have one rule: What I make, a vegemite sandwich or go hungry. The way I figure it is that it is my job to teach her what is a balanced meal. What goes on the table and on her plate is my job, what goes in her mouth and down into her tummy from that plate is mostly up to her.

Tonight we had a warm pasta salad with aparagus, zucchini, pumpkin, olives and cherry tomatoes (can you tell my man is out tonight? ha ha ha...) and garlic bread. Ava pretty much picked out all the noodles and ate them, and then munched on garlic bread. BUT she was served a proper balanced meal.
(Yes, but she still only ate pasta and bread) Yes, I know! Shut up, voice in my head!
(No.) You're mean.
(Yes... That's because I'm you.)

Touche', voice, touche'.

*   *   *

Toilet training is sending me potty. Ha ha ha...NO SERIOUSLY! I have had my tolerance of wees and poos for today (one in knickers, one laid freshly on the playroom floor this evening, poo that is) and so I am counting my lucky stars that she is tucked up in bed. Why cannot it be one miraculous toilet training weekend, kinda like a marathon? Sweat, blood and tears (and wee and poo) but with a clearly defined, nay signposted, glorified, definate end point. I feel like a recording, saying the same thing over and over each day, slowing getting less patient and my tone of voice becoming sharper? Seriously. Two weeks ago I would have crowed at the moon for a wee next to the potty, today I am tired, cranky and have already snapped at Ava and made her cry once. Why? WWwwwwwhhhhhhhyyyyy? Why couldn't I have showered her with praise and support and love and told her that the next one was going in? I feel like a shit. A shit that makes 2 year olds cry when they don't make the potty. Oh dear God, writing about this isn't helping this time. Do you know what she said to me through tears? "Mummy, I love you." Oh God, it felt so bad.

So, to take the pressure off, we stripped off to our singlet and ran around the back yard in the buff. Wee on the patio? Don't care. Wee on the lemon tree? Yes, if you can. No, oh well, we will get there some day! And so this cranky, crazy Mummy and her bare-bottomed, wet, happy, loving toddler ran about the backyard screaming and laughing until it got dark and cold. A perfect end to a less than perfect day.

I try Ava. I try so very, very hard to be good and kind and sweet-tempered and strong. It's hard for me because I am a wee bit nutty sometimes, and always a lot tired and a little cranky too, but you are my earth and stars, my beginning and end. You are everything that I need and everything that I want and all the things that test me the most. You are the soul mate that I never expected to find in my child.

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