Kids, I Give Up

This whole trying so hard thing? Making homemade this and that every time, playing with you every second? Nah, I think I’m going to ease up a little bit for a little while. Why?

I make homemade fruit/vegetable puree pouches for Baby. What has she done the last 4-5 times I’ve offered them? Pushed them away after the tiniest of tastes.

I like to make things like baked oatmeal or muffins or quick breads for them (and me!) for breakfast. Last night I made a batch of berry-oatmeal muffins (which were quite tasty – I ate one to test) for their breakfast this morning. Both girls ate about half of one each, then rejected the rest. Toddler said, “It’s uckko – it doesn’t taste good, mom.” What will I do with the other 9 in the batch?!

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Toddler’s remaining breakfast: pear and muffin. Both were “not good.”

By the way, the milk in Toddler’s cup was also full this morning, minus one short sip. Usually the milk jug comes with a pink plastic cap because that’s what our usual store has for 1% milk. This batch of milk, unfortunately, had a purple cap because my husband picked up milk from a different store on the way home from work a few days ago.

Obviously, that milk was undrinkable. 

Unless it’s on cereal, because apparently that makes the milk drinkable. But in her drinking cup? No way, mama!

In general these girls have become pickier eaters lately. While not unexpected, as they are kids and still developing their tastes, I don’t have to enjoy it. I won’t bend over backward to offer them every delicious fruit this summer, I’ll tell you that. You’ll eat oranges? Okay, oranges it is. Not so keen on peaches? Okay, no peaches for a few weeks. More for me!

It’s not just mealtime that’s wearing me down: playtime has been a struggle as well with Toddler. She begs me to play with her – make believe, coloring, dancing, you name it. I start to play along, but I do it all wrong!

I’m using the crayon she wants or I’m coloring in the wrong spot. (Every time.) I’m not supposed to sing that song. I can’t play with that toy after all. I can’t help her build that; she can do it herself!

Okay, kiddo – you want to do things your way and shut me down? Fine! I will leave you to play by yourself. I’ll just sit a few feet away from you so I can still see you and talk to you.

I won’t try so hard to play the game just as you want it played. You want me to play with you, but you still really don’t, so I won’t. Let’s try again in a few months, shall we?

Can you tell I’m a little tired of trying so hard to provide them with a fun play mate, delicious and healthy homecooked food, and entertainment – only to have it rejected time and time again? There’s a term for that in relationships, but I’m not sure if there’s a parent-child equivalent. It’s like an abusive relationship when I just keep going back for more, yet I keep getting knocked down each time.

(Let’s be real – I’ll always keep going back to them because they are my children and I love them, but I need a break for a while. Actually I need a vacation, but I digress.)

* * *

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Toddler is interested in some new things. She’s learning her numbers after 13, including what comes after 20 and 30. She’s asking how to spell words – and can actually figure some of it out based on the letter sounds. She asks what time it is and then looks at the clock for my explanation. I can tell her drawings are rainbows and people without asking her, and that she’s making a T-rex out of her Cheerios, not just a blob. Baby is saying some new words (“shop,” “duck,” and “hop”). She’s waving and saying “hi” like crazy. She’s started to cuddle, kiss (maybe – more like a crash), and hug a lot. She’s starting to make animal sounds like “quack” and “ooh-ooh-ooh” and a fox’s screech.

So there are some small victories. I can see them from my perch 3 feet away. I see all these amazing things happening, but I’m going to let it just happen, organically, and stop giving a dang all the time about everything. No more pouches for awhile, no more kid-specific baking for a bit.

As I’ve continued blogging, I’ve learned that I’m not alone in thinking my thoughts and having “moments” such as these – moments and thoughts I once believed were uniquely crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only mom or dad’s who’s taking a step back and not trying so hard, all the time.

Right?

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15 thoughts on “Kids, I Give Up

  1. I keep hearkening back to a family meal, eat or don’t, that was the choice. But then you got really hungry and they were less picky the next time. Mind you, I’m very old-school, and didn’t read a book or ask other mom’s for their input, but that’s just my personality. Maybe not giving them choices is harsh, but I never thought of it beyond different cereals or types of add-ons. But again, not many choices back then…how old am I? Just saying…..

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    • Yeah, you are totally right. That was my original intent for mealtime. I’ve softened so much! It’s not like I’m trying to feed them disgusting things, right? And they like brussels sprouts and salmon, for God’s sake! What’s mango and a muffin – bad food?! I think not! I think I need to let them toughen up. Thanks for the motivation!

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  2. They keep us on our toes! Charles is a roller coaster these days and I always feel like I’m walking on eggshells (which is nuts because he’s 4 and I’m the mom ha!). With food, I’m pretty intransigent. They eat what’s on their plates or they don’t eat. I’ve come to realize over the years that sometimes, they hit periods where they’re just not as hungry and the only way they know how to express their lack of hunger is through saying they “don’t like” something(s).
    How exciting that toddler’s drawings are actually looking like something! We’re waaaaay far from that with the 4 year old (though he can color inside the lines now). And though he recognizes letters and numbers, we’re not at the point where he’s able to put letters together to infer how words are spelled.

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    • Wow, walking on eggshells is a great way to put it! We do feel like that with our oldest, which is indeed ridiculous since we’re the parents! Lately I have said (a few times, to maintain max effect), “Who’s the mom in this house? And who makes the rules?” Yikes. But yes – walking on eggshells to prevent tantrums and to get them to do what we want them to do. It’s like constant damage limitation … exhausting.

      Great points about the eating and them expressing their lack of hunger. I think your tougher approach is very good; that was my intention when starting this parenting game, but I’ve softened! What, am I afraid they’ll go hungry?! Doubtful. Maybe I need to just lay down the ground rules. THank you for the motivation!

      My oldest looooves to draw, and does it a lot. It’s only in the last month that we are seeing actual things. It must be the constant practice?? Or a rainbow obsession, who knows?! I hope she learns to read soon because I personally find it exciting since I love to read, but I’m constantly reminding myself not to push her and to let her go at her own pace. Let’s hope both she and Charles find the process fun and exciting too!!

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  3. It’s exhausting trying to keep up with everything and be a full-time playmate. Makes me wish I had my kids a year or two apart haha. I love playing, but it’s hard to get anything else done!

    I feel your pain on the baking. I made some delicious chocolate banana muffins a few weeks ago and everyone hated them. I made peanut butter brownies last night — same thing. I had two words for them, but didn’t say them 😉

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  4. My two year old FLIPPED out yesterday that I could be so mean as to give her Macaroni and Cheese (one of her top 5 foods)… I asked what she would have chosen instead and she said “I just want cheese and noodles”…… AYFKM? lol

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