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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In Praise of Trader Joe's Frozen Meatballs

If I've learned anything in my five and half years as a parent, it's that the things I stress and fret about the most seem to work themselves out by the time I've read all the books and consulted my pediatrician.    I make a doctor appointment to get a strange rash checked out, and that morning, it clears up.  Oh the sleep I lost over taking away Lolly and Frostine's pacifiers.  We made a big production over taking them to the toy store, picking out whatever they wanted, and paying with our "binkie bucket."  I was in a such a panic that night at bedtime I broke out in a cold sweat.   But it was like they never had pacifiers at all.   Not a tear was shed and neither of them mentioned the binkie bucket again.

Lately it's been Gloppy's eating habits that have kept me up at night.   Up until recently, we have described him as a pretty good eater, marveled at what he will eat and how much.  The past few weeks, he's been on a pasta and cookie only diet.  Eggs and bananas were his breakfast of choice, now I'm lucky if I can get him to eat a piece of toast and a drink a glass of water.  I think it's pretty typical behavior for an almost three year old, but it has me a little worried.  It has Mr. Mint a lot worried.

Let me just say that I am of the Ellyn Satter camp; you put healthy food in front of them and whether or not they eat it is up to them.    Personally, I am annoyed when people push food on me, telling me how much I'll love it (hello Mr. Mint's family!!!).   I'll decide what I like, thankyouverymuch.  We try to enforce the one bite rule, and if they tell me they don't like something, I don't try to convince them otherwise.   Yes, I get annoyed if I have put a lot of effort into dinner for several nights in a row and most of the food ends up in tupperware in the fridge.  But I refuse to have battles at the dinner table.  There is always something on the table that I know they will eat.  If they eat strawberries and bread for dinner, so be it.   If I really want them to take a few bites of something, I'm not above bribery in the form of ice cream.

Mr. Mint is the exact opposite.   He pays attention to every bite they take, and gets annoyed with me if I let them have their fruit before their protein.  I have a pretty good idea where he gets it.  My mother-in-law will bring up the starving children in India, tell them they'll never grow if they don't eat such and such or ask "aren't you a good boy/girl" if they aren't hungry.  I could go on and on and on.   What and and how much one eats is big deal at my in-laws house.

So I've bought in a little bit to Mr. Mint and my mother-in-laws worries about Gloppy.   There have been a few times when I have considered asking my pediatrician for advice.   Like when all he has eaten all day is a banana, some pasta and some more pasta.   

Today on the way home from Tiny Tots, I asked Gloppy what he wanted for lunch.  He answered, "meatballs, I love meatballs mommy."  I had a moment of panic, thinking I don't have time to run to the store for some ground meat, roll some meatballs and cook them.  Then I remembered the Trader Joe's meatballs I had in the bottom of my freezer.  I almost peed my pants I was so happy.  I cooked up three meatballs and gave them to Gloppy over a little plain pasta.  He ate two whole meatballs, more protein than he's had in one sitting in I don't know how long.   Then at dinner we had build your own soft tacos.  He filled his taco full of ground beef, black beans, rice and cheese and gobbled it right up.  Cue the choir of angels please.  I think he's finally tired of pasta and plain toast.  No sign of his appetite for cookies slowing down though.

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