It’s Easy to Eat Your Weight In Something When You Don’t Weight Anything

I just watched from the upstairs landing as a naked Alden had a conversation with the pizza delivery woman. He gestured to me at the top of the stairs and said, “That’s Jillian.” And then when she left he yelled a cheery, “Bye man!”

Today we took Elliot for his DTap and Rotovirus vaccines (By the way, the sugar water trick worked shockingly well). He’s nearly eight months old. We learned that he’s topped 20 pounds now, which puts him within five pounds of his 2.5-year-old brother. Alden was a big baby too. I need to dig out his records and find out when he fell off the cliff.

Alden, as I have mentioned to , has broken me when it comes to food. For the first year of his life I had a solid list of standards from which I would not deviate. I was not afraid to send a stubborn kid to bed hungry. And then he stopped gaining weight.

At one point in his life Alden was up in the 90th percentile. I don’t put a lot of stock in things like percentiles. Until my kid is in the 50th for height but 10th for weight.

Now I’m all, “Crackers? Those have calories. You bet!” If he wants to eat seven breakfast bars through the day, he can do that. Ovaltine? Sure. Pizza used to be a great go-to food. Then he started picking off the toppings. Now he picks off the cheese too. His idea of a great meal is bread and water. Seriously. Heaven help you if you try to put the thinnest slick of butter or peanut butter or Nutella on that bread. Then it’s “dirty.” He does like French fries, because he is not a communist.

He’ll eat a few bites of ice cream. He likes cheese, but only shredded. No milk (unless spiked with Ovaltine). No yogurt.

He’s a big fan of donuts (meaning he will eat between half of one and a whole one) but I’m not broken that badly just yet. He LOVES coffee, but that doesn’t help me. He will still eat his weight in pickled okra.

I’m frustrated, but not freaked out.

I was, by a large margin, the smallest kid in my class. Damon was a skinny little kid. In the long run his reedy body type will serve him well. As will his admiration of healthful but low-calorie foods like tofu and beans. Our pediatrician also pointed out that Alden is ACTIVE, and that means he’s not holding on to calories like more sedentary children. My kid has the excellent fortune of a super-active Daddy who takes him to the park and the zoo every week. Who wrestles and runs and dances and tumbles with him.

So we have switched back to full-fat milk for that Ovaltine. And we’ve moved from 90% water and 10% juice to something more like 50/50. We offer snacks continually. And otherwise we’re not going to worry about. I’m not going to beg him to eat. I’m not going to make it a power struggle. I tell him it makes me feel good when he eats the food I made for him. And if he doesn’t want to eat it I tell him that’s fine.

If anyone has any thoughts on delicious, high-calorie, healthy foods I would love to hear them. He won’t eat avocado either. Maybe he is a communist.

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24 responses to this post.

  1. I reckon he’s not hungry. He will be, though, and you’ll be the first to know.

    Reply

  2. I reckon he’s not hungry. He will be, though, and you’ll be the first to know.

    Reply

    • And it might change his eating habits when he’s big enough to help prepare food. It’s been my experience that children like to eat things they’ve had their hands in.

      Reply

      • Both your points ring true. I’m sure when I have to take out a second mortgage to feed the teenage Alden I will look back at this and laugh and laugh. And then cry because I had to take out a second mortgage.

  3. And it might change his eating habits when he’s big enough to help prepare food. It’s been my experience that children like to eat things they’ve had their hands in.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on May 21, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Quickbreads/muffins? Banana, or carrot or zucchini? You can sub (full-fat) yogurt for some or all of the butter or oil to get more protein in. And add chocolate chips to make it more toddler-friendly, or nuts (unless he would pick them out). I usually add ground flaxseed or wheat germ to pack in more nutrition. If carrot or zucchini, maybe puree the vegetables instead of grating, to make them invisible so he doesn’t pick em out.
    Does he eat mac & cheese? I make that with full-fat yogurt instead of milk, too, again for more protein and calories. We also put olive oil on just about everything the kid eats, including plain rice–I’m not sure she’s aware that rice comes without oil on it. There was a period of time when her dinner consisted mostly of brown rice with olive oil, and a pile of shredded cheese (still her favorite form of cheese).
    Would he eat cracker-and-cheese sandwiches? Quesadillas? Hummus? A little sesame oil on the tofu? I know you guys are veg so you wouldn’t resort to what I do, throwing a slice of ham at the kid.
    But I do agree, he’ll get hungry eventually. I know soooo many people who say their 2-3 year old basically lived on air for a year and then started eating again.
    Jeannie

    Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on May 21, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Quickbreads/muffins? Banana, or carrot or zucchini? You can sub (full-fat) yogurt for some or all of the butter or oil to get more protein in. And add chocolate chips to make it more toddler-friendly, or nuts (unless he would pick them out). I usually add ground flaxseed or wheat germ to pack in more nutrition. If carrot or zucchini, maybe puree the vegetables instead of grating, to make them invisible so he doesn’t pick em out.
    Does he eat mac & cheese? I make that with full-fat yogurt instead of milk, too, again for more protein and calories. We also put olive oil on just about everything the kid eats, including plain rice–I’m not sure she’s aware that rice comes without oil on it. There was a period of time when her dinner consisted mostly of brown rice with olive oil, and a pile of shredded cheese (still her favorite form of cheese).
    Would he eat cracker-and-cheese sandwiches? Quesadillas? Hummus? A little sesame oil on the tofu? I know you guys are veg so you wouldn’t resort to what I do, throwing a slice of ham at the kid.
    But I do agree, he’ll get hungry eventually. I know soooo many people who say their 2-3 year old basically lived on air for a year and then started eating again.
    Jeannie

    Reply

    • He turns his nose up at mac and cheese and also pb&j. I am going to revoke his toddler card. I love the olive oil trick! I also see promise in cracker and cheese sandwiches.
      Maybe I will even get serious and start baking those muffins. Thank you!

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2010 at 1:25 am

        The olive oil trick is courtesy of Dr. E. 🙂 There was a point in there, when she was a super skinny baby, when we were mashing avocado with olive oil. Talk about fat overload!

    • Yogurt in the mac n cheese. Now that sounds delicious! Thanks for the tip 🙂

      Reply

  6. Both your points ring true. I’m sure when I have to take out a second mortgage to feed the teenage Alden I will look back at this and laugh and laugh. And then cry because I had to take out a second mortgage.

    Reply

  7. He turns his nose up at mac and cheese and also pb&j. I am going to revoke his toddler card. I love the olive oil trick! I also see promise in cracker and cheese sandwiches.
    Maybe I will even get serious and start baking those muffins. Thank you!

    Reply

  8. Does he like nuts? Or trail mixes/dried fruits? (I am trying to think of things I would gleefully eat to excess if I could, besides brie and caramel corn.)
    I am totally with him on the coffee and the avocados.

    Reply

  9. Does he like nuts? Or trail mixes/dried fruits? (I am trying to think of things I would gleefully eat to excess if I could, besides brie and caramel corn.)
    I am totally with him on the coffee and the avocados.

    Reply

  10. Isn’t that the same kid who ate everything you put in front of him not so long ago?
    Here’s the deal: it’s the age. My kids did it shortly before 3, and it lasts throughout 3. Gets better in the late 3s and a lot better by 4. At 5 you might even be able to convince him to eat a fried octopus, legs all (yes, Monster ate one). Almost all kids go through an incredibly picky stage where the foods they once loved are now poison. Don’t get into a power struggle with him, but do make clear that this is dinner, and merely eating crackers all day every day isn’t an option, or you’ll find yourself making two dinners erelong. It’s partly control, partly learning his preferences, and partly because his growth has slowed dramatically. As long as he’s not showing any signs of lethargy or a real problem, try not to fret too much about it.
    In the meantime, make him some doughnuts out of wheat flour and bananas or zucchini, or parsnips. Get good stuff in there where you can, and realize that you are not only not alone, but that this stage will end if you don’t cater to it.
    Oh, and sometimes I have to negotiate with Ezra. “Do you want to go outside?” He says yes. “All right, we’ll go out after you eat breakfast. What would you like, peanut butter toast or yogurt?” If he declines to eat and says he’ll just stay in, I bore him into eating by politely making myself busy and not being able to play with him. Every suggestion he makes, I say, “Oh, i’d love to play with the blocks. Let’s do that after breakfast.” He usually gives in once he realizes that breakfast is the magic thing that will open a whole world of opportunity, and it’s still his choice.

    Reply

  11. Isn’t that the same kid who ate everything you put in front of him not so long ago?
    Here’s the deal: it’s the age. My kids did it shortly before 3, and it lasts throughout 3. Gets better in the late 3s and a lot better by 4. At 5 you might even be able to convince him to eat a fried octopus, legs all (yes, Monster ate one). Almost all kids go through an incredibly picky stage where the foods they once loved are now poison. Don’t get into a power struggle with him, but do make clear that this is dinner, and merely eating crackers all day every day isn’t an option, or you’ll find yourself making two dinners erelong. It’s partly control, partly learning his preferences, and partly because his growth has slowed dramatically. As long as he’s not showing any signs of lethargy or a real problem, try not to fret too much about it.
    In the meantime, make him some doughnuts out of wheat flour and bananas or zucchini, or parsnips. Get good stuff in there where you can, and realize that you are not only not alone, but that this stage will end if you don’t cater to it.
    Oh, and sometimes I have to negotiate with Ezra. “Do you want to go outside?” He says yes. “All right, we’ll go out after you eat breakfast. What would you like, peanut butter toast or yogurt?” If he declines to eat and says he’ll just stay in, I bore him into eating by politely making myself busy and not being able to play with him. Every suggestion he makes, I say, “Oh, i’d love to play with the blocks. Let’s do that after breakfast.” He usually gives in once he realizes that breakfast is the magic thing that will open a whole world of opportunity, and it’s still his choice.

    Reply

    • Oh, and baked sweet potato fries. Try them, if you haven’t.

      Reply

      • Hm. Thanks for the ideas.
        Samuel is very picky, too. The only cheese he’ll eat is the processed American slices. He goes without dinner several nights a week.
        I’m glad it’s just a phase.

  12. Oh, and baked sweet potato fries. Try them, if you haven’t.

    Reply

  13. Hm. Thanks for the ideas.
    Samuel is very picky, too. The only cheese he’ll eat is the processed American slices. He goes without dinner several nights a week.
    I’m glad it’s just a phase.

    Reply

  14. Yogurt in the mac n cheese. Now that sounds delicious! Thanks for the tip 🙂

    Reply

  15. Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2010 at 1:25 am

    The olive oil trick is courtesy of Dr. E. 🙂 There was a point in there, when she was a super skinny baby, when we were mashing avocado with olive oil. Talk about fat overload!

    Reply

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