Q&A: hot weather foods for toddlers

Now that we’re past Canada Day and US Independence Day, we can settle into the long, hot days of summer here on the north side of the earth. Which is great in some ways (tank tops and sangria), but can be challenging for other reasons. Ally writes:

“Help–summer is screwing us up! I’ve accepted that the later bedtime/early waking is not going to go away any time soon. Fortunately I just started freelancing a few months ago, so shifting the sleeping schedule isn’t killing me like it would be if I had to be at work at a certain time. But I’m starting to be seriously concerned about my son’s nutrient intake (he’s 2). He’ll eat a decent breakfast (toast or cereal and eggs and banana) but then the rest of the day it’s like pulling teeth to get him to eat anything. It’s like it’s too hot for him to feel like eating. I can get him to eat slices of cucumber and frozen grapes, but is this enough?”

It sounds like he really only wants cold, wet things during the day. So try to find cold, wet things that are high in nutrition. Watermelon is one of the most nutritionally-dense fruits there is, and if he goes for cucumber he’ll probably eat watermelon. Other melon varieties are good, too. So is kiwi. If he’ll eat the seeds (some toddlers won’t), kiwi is a good nutritious choice.

If you can get enough protein into him in the morning, all the rest of it will even out. Remember that you’re supposed to look at the nutrition he gets over a week, not day-by-day (this goes for adults, too, by the way). Fruit (unless he has problems with the sugar in fruit) is going to be the easiest way to cover his bases when it’s too hot to eat much of anything else. Just be warned that if he eats too much fruit it can affect his poop, so heads up.

You don’t mention if he’s drinking plenty of liquids, so I assume that’s not a problem. Lots of kids cut down on the milk in the hot weather and switch to water, so he may be doing that, too.

Anyone else going through this?

The vise generation

I’m slowly reading through the comments, and am finding them very helpful. And I’m feeling lucky, too, because it sounds like many of your parents felt like each time with you, or each big event, was very high-stakes. I don’t. We’re each going to see them all the time. Literally, as close to every day as practical with our jobs and locations. So there’s no reason in my mind to fight or make them choose about holidays and events and stuff like that.

I grew up seeing my paternal grandfather at least twice a week, and going to his house and playing with him all day long. It wasn’t until I was much older that I found out that my grandfather had been viciously mean to my mother and they had a hard time being nice to each other. So I grew up with that example, that even if my mother didn’t want to spend time with my grandfather, she knew he was important to us and that he would never deliberately hurt us, and that he could be someone with us that he didn’t have the ability to be with her. So she let us spend as much time as we wanted to with him. And she was able to protect us from knowing the tension and pain in their relationship until we were old enough to be able to understand it without taking it on ourselves.

The whole point for me is to stop them from being steeped in dysfunction, and let them grow up seeing functional relationships. Which is a segue into hydrogeek’s comment, and what I hope we can talk about today:

“Sorta on this topic, though, it seems like the generation of people whoare responsible for their kids and increasingly, their parents, have
the short stick. I know this is nothing new, except possibly the fact
that people are living longer and longer, so there are more generations
alive at the same time. (We have 4 generations on 3 sides of the family
right now!) While this is awesome in some respects, because my kids get
to know their great-grandparents, it does cause this whole new set of
stresses. Any chance of a post about that?”

Enu and other brought this up when we were talking about adult-child relationship a few weeks ago. And I don’t have any answers. My parents are caught between elderly mothers and adult children going through major transitions. At the same time, I’m caught between my kids and my parents and our shifting relationships. If we all lived together it would be much easier to deal with the physical things (medical stuff, babysitting, etc.) but probably way more complicated emotionally. In general, I think my family has it pretty easy because we’re all able to acknowledge each others’ whole person as we deal with stuff.

But what do you have to say? What conflicts and tensions are you going through, being caught between conflicting needs? Are the problems mostly logistical or emotional? Is the transition of power and decision-making easy for your family, or a huge source of tension?

Taking your kids out in public

I thought we needed a kind of trivial post for today to lighten the mood.

Last night I was at a restaurant here in San Antonio, and there was a family at a nearby table with a mom, dad, and four kids. The oldest kid was maybe 8, and the youngest looked around three.

When they walked in, I thought, “Those parents are going to have a handful during this meal.” But no. Those kids were calm and happy the entire time, and talked and entertained themselves and each other while they waited for their food, then ate happily. The two littlest ones started to get antsy about 5 minutes before they got their check, which was amazing timing.

I was going to talk to the parents to tell them how cute their kids were and also ask them what their secret was, but I went to the bathroom and by the time I got back they were gone. So I was thinking about it all night, and realized that was was striking wasn’t that the kids were “well-behaved” but that they seemed genuinely content, and like they were enjoying each other. The parents were super-calm about the whole process, and the kids got to choose what they wanted to eat from the kids’ menu, and seemed to really understand the restaurant thing. (Which goes back to my theory that you have to press through the crappy restaurant stage if you want to get your kids used to being able to eat in restaurants.)

I got the feeling that the parents had expectations and boundaries, and the kids were used to those but were treated as people within those boundaries.

I wanted to tell this story first of all because I love seeing happy families, but also because I wanted to tell those of you with kids who are going through the not-fit-for-public-consumption phase that it will get better. Follow your instincts and keep the appropriate boundaries, and get their drinks in cups with lids.

Anyone else see any good parenting this week? Have any problems with your kids in public?


I haven’t gotten a chance to read any of the comments from yesterday’s post, but I want to thank you guys for being so generous with your time and your ideas to help me. 76 comments! It means a lot to know that you guys are looking at all the angles, even when some of those angels are hard to confront. I’ll read them tomorrow when I’m back.

Data points, please

So things are moving along in my life. Which means I need to think about things that are going to be helpful to the kids after the divorce and splitting of the households. I’m hoping you guys can tell me things that you did if you divorced that you thought were good, or things that you wish you’d done differently. If your parents divorced, please talk about what they did that was good or bad, and what you wished had happened after the divorce that didn’t, or things you think your parents did right.

You can post whatever you want here, but just so you know, the kids are going to see each of us almost every day and we don’t have any reason to badmouth the other one (and we wouldn’t even if we did). And we don’t have the money to try to bribe the kids with toys, and neither of us have any problems saying no to things the kids ask for that aren’t possible. So all the big problems you hear about–loss of contact, sniping and bad-mouthing, and bribery and spoiling out of guilt–shouldn’t be issues. I’m looking for stuff that is smaller and wouldn’t necessarily occur to a parent. Although, of course, you’re welcome to post anything you want, especially if it gives you the chance to get it off your chest.

Oh, and sorry for two divorce-related topics in a row! Tomorrow is another day.

SA meetup report

I enjoyed it, and I hope everyone else did, too. We only had one real San Antonian, plus some Austinites and two people here for the same thing I’m here for. I wore stilettos just to uphold my reputation. Everyone in attendance had kids in the 3-4 range, so there was a lot of commiseration about that age. (Quote of the evening from John about his 3 1/2-year-old son: ‘His latest thing is, “Dadddyyy!! I don’t waaaant choices!!!!” What do I do with that?!’) We all agreed that Colleen has the hair other women truly envy, and that Wen’s son is far more chill with being the only kid in a restaurant of strange adults than ours might have been.