Foodie Kids? Food and Kids

Yesterday morning Nathan came downstairs wondering what smelled so good.

Tim: "Mama's making pot roast."
Nathan: "Can I have some FOR BREAKFAST?"

Sorry kiddo. As soon as he got home from school, the first question out of his mouth: "Is the pot roast ready yet??" And when dinner was finally on the table, he was thrilled, carefully dipping his meat, potatoes and carrots into his mug of gravy (gravy on the plate? don't be silly) and then drinking the remains.

Nathan will routinely ask for savory dinner food for breakfast, often has opinions on how we should season our meal (lemon and rosemary chicken of course Mama) and is always happy to help plan out his school lunch. It probably helps that we ask his opinion on these things.

Liam, it turns out, loves to wander around the spice store, smelling the jars and thinking about what can be made with the things he smells. On a recent visit to Penzeys he took a big sniff of a cake spice.

"What does it smell like?"

Wouldn't you know - the second ingredient was star anise. It probably helps that I'm willing to let my three year old wander around a spice shop smelling things...

Of course, none of this is to say that our kids aren't picky eaters. Nathan can turn up his nose at something he hasn't even tried like the best of them, and Liam routinely sits at the table insisting he just wants cracker and peanut butter (or hot dog or chocolate ice cream). But I hope that we are at least instilling in them an interest in good food, in getting to know flavors, and that someday they will be adventurous cooks and eaters.

Potty Training Week 3

Once upon a time we had a 15 month old how hated diaper changes. Once upon a time we had a 2 year old who knew when he needed to pee. Once upon a time we had a 3 year old who felt he was now old enough and potty trained well enough that he didn't always need to stop playing just because his body needed (this didn't always end well). That once upon a time was never Liam. AND YET, somehow we (I) still thought the whole cold turkey potty training thing would work. As long as we waited for Liam to show us he was ready. Which it turned out is a lot less fun when after age three he was still now showing any signs of interest or readiness. This time it was Tim who put his foot down - he was tired of diaper changes. Because we couldn't take three days off (or count on a snow storm for days off) we started on a Monday and figured we'd make the start of potty training his teachers' problem. It didn't go well. Liam was super excited about his cotton undies and happy to wear them, but that didn't mean he was tuned in to his body in the slightest. Accidents were common at home (not a problem, but not leading to new understand, so in the end just unhelpful mess) and no activity was happening at school. Oh, and of course we chose to start a week when Liam was already constipated. Oops. No wonder he couldn't tell what his body was up to.

And so, this mama who was crazy enough to switch back to cloth diapers after baby #2 became a toddler, who potty trained the first kiddo as a money saving activity, who was convinced that we'd just use the potties and seats and undies we had and not need to invest any financial resources in this new waste management endeavor, is now buying pull-ups. And bribes. Or "celebrations" as we call them. Lego guys at home (knock-off lego guys) and a new hot wheels car on the way home from school for a day with potty activity (no celebration if there is no potty activity - he can have as many accidents as he needs but I'm not going to celebrate holding it in all day).

After some help from miralax, I think we're making progress. Pull-ups never would have worked for Nathan (why stop playing if you don't have to?) but Liam wants to keep them clean and they remove the stress of lots of messes, so I guess it's working for now. So once again we are reminded that every child is different. And now we know how spoiled we were with potty training the first time.

The boys and their music

Liam this morning as we listened to Tchaikovsky Discovers America:
"Quick, turn it off! I have to sing about space ships!" (He sang a song the boys made up a few weeks ago about a space ship and astronaut and alien.) "Okay, turn it back on - Tchaikovsky please."

This sounded a lot like a three year old Nathan having a similar struggle between the world of classical music and children's nonsense.

(September 2014)
Nathan: "I want to listen to Mozart. No, the opera. No, I mean, Peter and the Wolf. (once all the instruments had been introduced) Actually, I just want Daddy Does the Dishes."

Monday night conversation with Liam

Liam: "Dada?"
Mama: "What do you need buddy?"
"I need Dada."
"Can I help you?"
"No, I need Dada."
"There's poop everywhere."

For the record, Mama did kid clean up - Dada only had to tackle the rug.

The Start of School - the End of Santa

Or: Beginnings and Endings

We're pretty terrible at transitions in our house. We didn't tell the kids it was our last night in our Arlington apartment because we didn't really realize it was the last night until two nights later, at which point, oops!

The week leading up to the start of the school year wasn't much different in our house. Except that Liam didn't have school for the first time all summer. And we were planning a not well organized three day trip to Niagara Falls. And Nathan once again wanted to talk about whether or not Santa is real.

So on Labor Day, after unpacking from our trip, with Liam somewhere else in the house doing who knows what, we got to talking about Santa. And this time Nathan seemed anxious about learning the truth. And ready.

Santa was a concept that Nathan picked up from the world around him, loved by some parts of the extended family, kinda ignored by others - everything Nathan knew about Santa he first told us, and we'd added on the most important (to us) detail that Santa is a reminder of the spirit of Christmas - the incredible gift and love from that we celebrate on Christmas - so that Santa is part of the joy and wonder and fun of Christmas but doesn't actually really matter.

That "but doesn't really matter" concept has gotten us out of the "Is Santa real?" conversation for the past two years, but it wasn't what Nathan needed this year. Thankfully, having a three year old who tells you Santa isn't real gives you plenty of time to figure out what you're going to say when he really does begin to believe Santa might not be real.

So we talked again about Santa being a reminder, the embodiment, of what we are really celebrating at Christmas, and we talked about all the things that make Christmas feel magical (even if we could probably figure out how they happen) and we talked about how wonderful it feels to give a gift in secret, and then we let Nathan know that the gifts he gets from Santa are gifts that his family want to give him in secret. And that he can do that too.

And he was on board with it! And I've been told not to look in a certain corner of the play room. And we'll see how he feels about it (and if he can keep his new knowledge to himself!) when December roles around.

Later that night, with school starting the next day, we talked about First Grade.
What are you looking forward to? Learning how to read.
What do you think will be hard? Learning how to read.
What are you most excited about? Reading.
What are you most worried about? Reading.
What do you think will be the same as kindergarten? Having lots of books in the classroom to read.
What do you think will be different? Being able to read the books myself.

So in addition to being ready to be Santa, Nathan is ready to read it seems. And excited for both.

Endings and Beginnings - here's to this next season.