Nothing says “I’m an adult” like going out with adults and finding a lalaloopsy doll in your purse. Trust me, that in no way looks creepy as hell, or like you might run an ice cream truck business on the side. I am simply thankful that the top of my bag zips shut instead of using just a button.
My kids are my very favorite everything. I realize that sentence makes little sense, but it’s absolutely true. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy going out as an adult and discussing more than the choreography of the hot dog dance. However, I spend so much time in Captain and Peanut land, that sometimes, it’s hard to switch that part of my brain off, and go into “adult company” brain.
This is not only expected, but accepted with my friends with kids/nieces and nephews. I think that’s the main reason you see people with kids mostly hanging out with other people with kids. No one bats an eye if you pull out 11 diapers from your bag before you hit your wallet, or if you start absentmindedly singing “don’t, don’t, don’t bite your friends” at the dinner table. No one gives you stares of death when your son has changed your ringtone to “crazy frog”, and it goes off during the cheese course. Parents hang with parents.
This is not so simple in my field(s). Both in academia and the arts, people procreate later and less. It’s all about career for them. For me, I was forced into a choice that I would’ve eventually made on my own. In my early 20s, my doc said to me “if you’re going to want kids, do it now, because you won’t have the opportunity later.” Decision MADE. Babies at 24 instead of 34. DONE.
That left me in limbo land with my friends. It is only now, as more and more of my friends enter their thirties, and mid-thirties, and have decided to breed, that we are on more equal footing. This, to me, is the sweetest revenge and bliss. Whereas, for the past several years, I’ve watched them do things in their career that I’m only now just getting to experience, I have done all the stuff they’re currently doing. There is simply nothing more hilarious than when someone takes an eyeful of pee when they first change their son’s diaper.
I love watching my friends’ husbands treat their pregnant wives as though they’re made of glass. WATCH OUT!!! SHE MAY SPRING A LEAK!!! (or pee herself, more likely) I giggle when my friends complain that their “morning sickness” is lasting ALL DAY!! Not at them, mind you, but at the asshole who first coined the term “morning sickness”. Ok, and a little bit at them when they seem so surprised. I also ADORE joking with them (at them, at their expense) about just how much their lady flower is going to hurt. Because, really? It hurts for weeks. WEEKS. No one tells you the pain lasts that long. It’s like driving mack truck through a mouse hole.
What’s most interesting to me though, is the promises and platitudes all newbie parents spout. “I’ll NEVER give my kids fast food!!” “I’m going to raise them on all organic fruits and veggies, and MAKE them like broccoli rabe!” and my personal favorite? “I’m NEVER going to bribe them!” That one cracks me up every.time.
At some point, in some fashion, they’ll break on all of these things. You’ll be on a road trip, and wendy’s is the only option. Your kid will be a super taster, and will only want carrots, corn, and cooked snap peas as veggies, and NO fruit. (seriously, the Viking’s boy won’t eat ANY fruit. NONE. hates all things sweet!) And the bribery? “I’ll give you a cookie if you eat all your broccoli, I’ll give you M&Ms if you don’t pee on the floor! I’ll buy you a pony if you poop in the potty!!”
They will eventually say and do all of these things. The trick is to A: laugh first, help second. and B: help them realize that raising kids is fluid and changing…just like breastmilk and diapers. and C: laugh again, it’s damn funny.
On that train of thought, here is my top ten tips to build a better eater. I have bribed them, yes, but my kids are good, if not strange, eaters. (I am NOT a dietitian or Pediatrician, consult them…read this…consult again.)
- Start early and often with strange veggies. The new recommendation (as told to me by my Pediatrician) is to introduce one food at a time, introducing ALL the foods (including nuts and shellfish) in the first year, save for honey and other foods like raw fish and unpasteurized cheese for the first year.
- Don’t cover the food in cheese or ranch dressing to make it more palatable, but a little butter AND salt goes a long way. They need the saturated fats, and let’s face it, butter is delicious, and sometimes coconut oil can mask the true flavor.
- let them see you/help you prepare the food. The Captain HATED veggies that weren’t green for the LONGEST, but now, since he helps make it, the boy eats the rainbow.
- Don’t expect them to want to sit for extended periods of time to eat. Spread it out. Several small meals is not only easier to digest, but makes it easier for them to focus.
- Don’t give up if they don’t like something. 10-15 tries should be your goal before you put it away for a while. It took me at least that many tries before I liked red wine, and now? You can pry my cabernet from my cold, pickled, dead hands.
- make it FUN. Skip Hop has painter’s palette kids plates, Fish’s Eddy has Alice and Wonderland plates…Heck, Target has fun plates. If they’re interested in the accessories, they’ll want to eat from their “special plate”.
- TREAT them every once in a while. Let them know the world isn’t all broccoli and meatballs. A kid should KNOW how a cookie tastes, or buttered popcorn during a movie.
- Eat well yourself. If they see you eating nothing but beige crap, guess what they’re going to want to eat?
- Let them eat WITH you. Sushi? YES! Weird cheese? DEFINITELY. Spicy foods? OF COURSE.
- let them pick one thing a day to eat. Truly let THEM pick it. Give them a few options, and they can choose one. The illusion of perfect free will goes a longggg way.
The Captain on My birthday, HOSING some sushi.
Last night. She was COVERED in tofu. COVERED.