Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Accidental discovery

We've started making Sunday evening family movie night. Usually Hans and I are quite exhausted by Sunday night and lying on the sofa for 90 minutes with Jack is a nice relaxing way to end the weekend. Also Jack's ability to watch a movie has improved to the point where sitting through a movie is now possible.

Our first movie was Pony0. Wonderful! This past Sunday we tried Cars and I wasn't digging it, but Jack promptly fell asleep watching it, at the early hour of 6:45. We plunked him down in bed and he slept for 12 hours. So last night (this is spring break week and every night feels like Sunday night) we decided to try a movie again, this time Iron Giant (yeah -- love this one). We watched until 6:30 and then decided to watch the rest later. Jack and I read until 7 and he fell asleep around 7:45. He slept this morning until 6:30.

Is this a new sleep pattern? Wow, I hope so. He had been going to sleep at 8:30 and getting up at 6 or 6:30. Watching a movie together seems to really calm him down and get him ready for bed.

(Check out his kite flying technique in the photo!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Eating air

In our house food has become the new sleep; it's Jack's current issue.

In the past he was a great eater, but these days the list of foods he will willingly consume is shrinking. Fruit remains a favorite, and Jack loves just about every kind, including blueberries, apples, oranges, pineapple, bananas, mango, grapes, nectarines, and melons. He's pretty flexible about carbs, and likes pasta, crackers, pita bread, waffles, pancakes, bread, and (fortunately) almost any kind of meal or grain blend (particularly oatmeal). Thankfully he eats beets, red peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes, but not much else veggie-wise (and some of those items are technically fruits). When meat, chicken, pork, or fish grace the table, he turns up his nose. Beef in particular is unloved -- he says it looks, smells, and taste bad to him. I've tried fish sticks and plain fish and he'll eat neither. Sometimes he'll eat homemade chicken nuggets but not always. Rice and beans, hummus (from Good Frickin Chicken only) is ok and tofu tolerated when served as Chinese noodles (Hans' speciality). That leaves the old reliable bacon and sometimes ham. Peanut butter used to be a staple but he's been asking for tiny amounts mixed with jelly on his toast. When it comes to milk he's still flexible about that, and is happy with cow, soy, or almond.

I have been worried about him not getting enough protein, but when I did some research I found that his diet is adequate. The amount of protein suggested for kids 4-8 is about 24 grams a day. He can get his daily need by consuming 2 cups of soy milk (14 grams), 1 cup oatmeal (6 grams), and 1 cup pasta (7 grams). Since his baseline is at least that and sometimes more with the addition of nuts and other protein sources, I'm not going to worry about it any longer.

We're trying to be low-key about his food proclivities, to avoid eating from becoming a power struggle. We keep offering him healthy choices, encourage his to try new foods, and praise good habits. Maybe it's typical, but I know if Jack had his druthers he would eat chocolate, candy, and cake all day long. We don't have dessert at our house very often, mostly because when Jack eats a bunch of sugar he has a hard time limiting his consumption. Although we are firm with his limits here, he constantly begs and whines for more. I'd love to hear from other parents about how they manage their kids' diets and desire for sugar.

(photo is Jack eating bacon with his cousin Allison back in September)