Oh hey there.
It’s been a very long time since I wrote in this space. Our family looks a little different — it’s doubled in size to include two small, lovely, crazy boys.
I don’t have any romantic notions about starting this blog up again, but I’m currently doing a lot of computer-based planning on some topics that feel blog-y to me, so I figured I may as well plan them here. So I can share my progress like a good millennial, or something.
Those of you who have been around here a while know I’m not the best at sticking to goals, motivating myself, and, you know, other essential qualities of productive human beings. But ah, motherhood. It’s amazing the number of times I now find myself realizing that to change my child’s behavior, I need to change my own.
We’re at the end of our second baby’s first year now, and we just completed a 1,200-mile move. Now that the boxes are (mostly) unpacked and we’ve stopped with the daily takeout, we’re looking for ways to begin to thrive here. And we are all craving structure.
My three-year-old especially is a creature of serious habit. Lately he’s had some understandable anxiety after being totally uprooted. A lot of that anxiety is coming out in food-related issues. He’s always been an extremely picky eater, but frankly, it’s getting ridiculous.
This child would eat mac and cheese for every meal if I let him, won’t eat Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets because they aren’t processed enough, and recently decided to remove cheese ravioli and quesadillas from his already-limited food repertoire because I used an unfamiliar brand of cheese.
And now I’m feeling your judgy eyes and the need to back way, way up.
Because HOW in the world did we get here?
Well. When your infant spends every single car trip screaming his head off (I’m talking breath-holding, blue-turning screaming), and you figure out that giving him one of those food-trapper snack cups with puffs in it lessens the screaming time, you give him the damn snack cup. And when he shows a gigantic preference for carbs over any other type of food, well, that’s not the battle you can fight right then. You’re focused on the not listening to screaming for 12 hours a day.
It also didn’t help that until recently we lived in a tiny house with no dining table, and therefore no family meal structure.
So, how we got here is an unhealthy mix of some sensory difficulties and a lot of “accidental parenting,” aka survival mode. I have no regrets about our choices, honestly. We couldn’t have made different ones at the time, and I’m glad we figured out that cheerios and bagels gave us a little break. But now that he’s three and doesn’t cry all day (prraaiiiise), I’d really like it if he ate something other than variations on cheese, bread and fruit. Meals are a terrible chore and end in lots of power struggles, and I’m just. over. it.
So my brilliant plan is to rid the house of all our fallback options. No more Annie’s mac and cheese. No more cereal for breakfast. For Eric and me, no more sneaking ice cream and candy out of their hiding places after the kids are in bed.
We are revamping meal time with a combination of dietary choices and routine/rhythm/structural changes in our day. So if you feel like it, follow along. I have no idea how this is going to go.
Well, except for phase one: