The best intentions


Chocolate, salted meats and processed potatoes are my friends. Not so much fruit and vegetables.

I have terrible eating habits, but I'm determined my children will learn better. Unfortunately, I have to learn about nutrition in order to impose it on them.

I have a friend who studied nutrition. She teaches aerobics and yoga.

I'm really not sure why she's my friend, but she made it clear not too long ago. While at lunch, she let her son order chicken strips with a side of bacon.

Nobody's perfect and that's why I love her still.

The problem with trying to get kids to eat right is that it's fun to use them as guinea pigs.

One of the perks of parenthood is that you get to give your children their first taste of chocolate. Or ice cream. Or whipped cream (not from the tub, from the spray can, which really puts them in a panic at first, but as they register the taste, they're willing to be scared out of their wits for another. The first time I tried that with Katie, her breath came out in panic and I got a face full of whipped cream.).

The problem is the first taste is fun, the rest become cravings.

Katie's your best friend when she sees you pull a popsicle out of the freezer and within seconds you've got a squirming almost-two-year-old in the line between the popsicle and your mouth.

Only the fact that she is nearly two saves you.

"Say please."

To which she responds by crashing to the floor wailing with a combination angry scream/sob.

I'm pretty good at tuning her out now.

Another parental perk is that first taste of sour. There's not much that is more amusing than the puckered face and accusing eyes of a child who's had their first taste of lemon. Or lime. Or pickle.

We've tried them all. I still laugh when I think of it.

The best, though, was formula. Katie's in this phase of getting the baby's formula and dumping it everywhere. I continuously take it away from her, which prompts the aforementioned tantrum (I told you, almost two-years-old. We get a lot of those around my house).

One time, a particularly long wrestling match that included a lot of screaming ended with her yelling "bite, bite!"

I had formula down my shirt and in my shoes and wasn't particularly happy, so I gave her a bite.

Bitter beer face is nothing compared to what I saw.

Any parent knows (especially those who lay on the floor with their mouths open playing airplane with a recently-fed baby) that formula is just about the worst tasting thing you can imagine. And that's diluted with water.

Katie got a pinch of the raw stuff.

I didn't even mind cleaning up. It was such a small price to pay for that show.

I didn't even feel all that bad. Formula is very nutritionally balanced and I haven't had to clean it up since.

To make up for what might be, at best, uncertain eating habits, I feed her a high-protein, vitamin-packed meal shake every day.

I'm pretty sure that makes up for the hot dogs, cookies and never-ending flow of fishy crackers (baked, not fried, so that's got to be a point in my favor).

Fortunately, Mother Nature intervened a little. Two of Katie's favorite foods are beans and apples.

Unfortunately, a number of grandpas have also intervened.

Katie loves beer.

She'll make friends with a complete stranger if he's holding a beer, which was a complete shock to one man who one second was holding a full beer and having an adult conversation and the next second was holding a small, bald child and a half a beer. Most of the rest he was mopping off both of them.

Katie's favorite people are ranked by who will give her the most to drink. Mama is pretty low on the list.

I've been told that most kids love beer and that's it's actually good for them in small quantities. The problem with that is getting Katie to understand the term "small quantities."

I guess there's a time to splurge and a time to hold in the reins.

It's a learning experience for all of us particularly for Katie for which patience is not a virtue (did I mention she's almost two?).

Well, we can always tell her we had the best intentions.

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