Saturday, August 13, 2011

A little heat, a lot of snacks

It's been a strange couple of days around here. I think the summer's heat has sparked Alyce's crazies, as I witnessed this afternoon while she cried, screamed, and whined for forty-five minutes. I think the meltdown was technically sparked by me not having arms long enough to reach into the backseat (while driving) and remove the clothes from her bear, but I suspect that it had more to do with just having spent a few hours in the sun at the zoo. Whatever the cause, I could go my entire life without listening to that again. But our time at the zoo was delightful, heat and all.

I should mention, though, that the two three-year-olds among us spent more time asking for lunch and snacks than they did communing with the animals. At one point Alyce just sat down in the middle of a very busy trail of people and declared it the perfect spot to have a picnic. I think the two hundred other people trying walk around us felt differently. In the end, we found some shade and some grass and had ourselves some lunch.

Speaking of food, Matt and I have reached the point where if Alyce asks us for another snack, we might just have a meltdown of our own (we're none of us perfect). Lately I've felt compelled to sit down with new parents, or even with people just thinking about having children in the future, and let them know that their life will soon be defined by the fixing of snacks. It's not that I want to warn them against becoming parents--no, no, having kids is my favourite thing to do--but I do want to offer some insight into the world feeding young kids. Here's just a glimpse, if you will:

6:00 am: For Alyce, offer breakfast of cheerios and milk, and peanut butter toast, not toasted. Throw in some berries. Give Shira her own bowl of cheerios and berries. Prepare mentally for the all the cheerios you will soon be cleaning up from the floor. Get some towels ready, too.

6:05 am: Spread more peanut butter on the non-toasted toast, since the Alyce has not eaten the non-toast but has instead licked off the peanut butter. (Repeat at 6:10 and 6:14). Replace bowl of cheerios and milk for Shira, because you know the first bowl is already on the floor.

7:00 am: Alyce asks for a snack. You tell her that snacks will come after she's dressed and brushed her teeth, and remind her that she finished eating breakfast 46 seconds ago.

7: 05 am: Alyce asks for a snack, again. Remind her again.

7:07 am: No, Alyce, not yet.

7:09 am: Seriously, Alyce, you will get a snack in a few minutes. Now please get dressed.

7:11 am: Offer (finally) Alyce a snack of fruit. She asks for mac and cheese instead. Remind her that it's not yet lunch time and that fruit is all I have. Watch her calculate the odds of actually getting mac and cheese before eleven. She accepts the fruit.

7:23 am: I am not kidding, she asks for another snack.

You get the idea. This goes on all day if we're not careful. This week we've been brainstorming some ideas to handle the constant snacking, and we've had some success with leaving a snack tray on the table that she can have access to all day. She's slightly annoyed by our insistence that the tray stay on the table instead of following her around from room to room, couch to couch, or in the bathroom, but she's managing. Somehow. She's also finding ways to cope with having to wait for me to bring the dinner from the kitchen to the table, a wait that she often finds unbearable (see top photo for evidence of her very difficult life).

If anyone has any suggestions about snacking and limits, please do let me know. I like to encourage a healthy approach to eating and I don't want to spend too much time trying to control food and meal times, but it can get a little annoying. How do you handle the land of snacks?

P.S. We came to the bed last night and found that doll tucked in our beds. We were both thoroughly creeped out. Thanks, Alyce.


  1. Gah, the constant snacking. Liam is going to turn 8 next week, and we're still with the constant food preparation. I keep threatening to move all of the snacks and Liam dishes to a lower cupboard so he can just get them for himself, and I really ought to just do it already.

  2. Well, let me know what you find out b/c this is an issue for us as well. Except I've taken a different approach, that perhaps is going to cause food control issues?!? In our house a meal goes on as long as there is interest, but snacks only happen at "snack time" (once in the AM and once in the PM). The time varies according to "starvation" and for the most part Cal can have as much as he wants but I haven't let him graze throughout the day. I find that he will eat all snacks and then is too full for lunch or dinner, which tend to be more well rounded than the snacks! Also, sometimes I think it is a boredom thing - going through the cupboards is just something to do. Anyway, I have no I'm looking for enlightenment too!