Monday, June 14, 2010

Magic Cheerio Dust

Mealtimes have continued to be a stressor in our household. I continue to struggle to serve the tot something other than steamed sweet potatoes or bananas. I recently purchased a book, First Meals by Annabel Karmel. I had tried some of her recipes in her purees cookbook and they had mostly been a big hit with my little foodie.

The first recipe I decided to try was a pasta recipe with cheese sauce and bits of ham and peas. It wasn't extremely complicated to make but it did take a little bit of time to make the sauce and cook the pasta. It smelled great and I even tried a bite before I served it. It tasted great, so I was hopeful. I am sure you can guess what happened. He wouldn't even try it! It sat on his tray for most of dinner and he would turn his head and purse his lips anytime either Husband or I tried to offer a morsel. Finally towards the end of dinner he tried some pasta. Well, let me be clear. He put some pasta in his mouth, chewed it up and spit it out. Did I mention that it was the cute mini bowtie pasta? I have no idea what he found so offensive about the tiny, cute, cheesy bowties.

I was somewhat discouraged by his lack of interest but we had a lot leftover (probably because it didn't get eaten at ALL the first time. Grrrr.) so I decided to offer it again today at lunch. This time I tried to give him just the pasta first and leave everything else on the counter reasoning that if he had nothing else to pick from, maybe he would at least try it. And...he ate a pea. One measly pea. Then he began fussing and gesturing in the general direction of the kitchen in a "WOMAN! FEED ME SOMETHING ELSE!" type fashion. So I got the requisite sweet potato chunks and some banana and strawberry slices. Of course, everything else went over like gang busters and the pasta sat there ignored. All of the sudden, I remembered this trick we used to use when the tot was much smaller to get him to try new foods that he didn't like the texture of. I swear, if I had looked up above my head right at that moment, there was probably a cartoon light bulb dangling there.

When the tot was first eating solid food and was presented with a "wet" fruit or vegetable like banana or strawberry, we would sprinkle crushed Cheerios over the top to give it a better texture and something he could grasp more easily. So, I went and got Cheerios which I crushed and then sprinkled over the cheese (now cold) pasta and held my breath waiting. The tot regarded the "new" pasta with the Cheerio crumb topping. And all of the sudden, he grabbed a bow tie in his chubby fingers and popped it in his mouth! Then, miracle of miracles, he chewed it and swallowed it! Success! He followed that bowtie with six or seven others and I could hardly stand my excitement! I feel certain that the whole portion of pasta may have been consumed had it not been for the enormous amount of banana, strawberry and potato already in his tummy. I am now debating whether to share my secret with Husband or just let him be impressed by my sudden feeding skills.

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