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Eating with 2 three-year-olds

by on October 25, 2013

Thing 1 has been home all week with the start of pneumonia, again. She had pneumonia in May this year and spent a week in the pediatric wing at the more expensive (and ideally better equipped) hospital in town. We did chest xrays on Monday after visiting the doctor and having three back to back nebulizer treatments, which is a lot for a small 30 pound frame. We finally got her oxygen levels up so I was able to take her home instead of taking her straight to the hospital. It was a stressful week and I hardly slept because I was up worring about having to go back to the hospital.

Anyway, last time she got this she stopped eating so we’ve been trying to find stuff that she would like to eat and allowing her to eat a little all throughout the day. Today, her oxygen levels were good, low 90’s still but she didn’t seem to drop into the 80’s so I will consider this a win. We made a quick run to the grocery store this morning and stopped for lunch on the way home. She said she wanted ‘bread’ for lunch so I figured we’d stop at Subway and get sandwiches. She managed to eat the tomato and a couple olives, then proceeded to scrape the turkey, lettuce, and cheese off the bread and eat the bread by itself. Maybe next time I will take her at her word. 

Then, tonight for dinner I made cheater french dips and boxed macaroni-n-cheese. Real health nuts we are here. Thing 2 proceeded to tear apart the bun her french dip was on and dissolve the chunks into the au jus stirring it up with her little metal toddler spoon. I like to think that this is some sort of sign of hidden genius, but there are moments that the little window licker just seems one pumpkin short of a patch. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m impressed with what they can do at 3, but I also think that means we hold them to a higher standard. Every time they prove themselves smart, we expect more. Perhaps this isn’t fair to them, but I like to think that we will help encourage them to do more and not get bored in school like their parents did.

We become so accustomed to their intelligence on a daily basis, we often forget that they are, in fact, only 3. They can both write their names, Mommy, and Daddy without any assistance. They know how to wake the computers up, open Google Chrome, type http://www.pbskids into the browser and arrow over to the full address, press enter and play whichever games they choose. They also enjoy playing Plants Vs. Zombies, Worms, Borderlands, Blood Bowl, and Rock of Ages. They aren’t fully capable of moving the characters around and completing tasks but they know how to move in almost all of them and have figured out clever ways to drain the bankroll. 

Then they throw a tantrum, refuse to go to bed, talk about pee-pee/poo-poo/fart-fart, shout ‘No!’ when told to do something, or any number of other things that are perfectly normal for kids their age while their father and I become quickly frustrated because we know they are capable of more. We often equate intelligence with maturity and we’re both working on understanding that there’s a difference. 

They are also very funny. Thing 1 woke me up the other day by slapping me on the face with both hands and telling me she was just doing a face dance. I laughed. Hard. Thing 2 has the most amazing facial expressions, often invoking gales of laughter at the most imperative moments. 

And yet, eating with them is always a chore. They take FOREVER to eat. I don’t know if they do that at school, I would imagine not because they probably aren’t allowed to. At home, they can stretch a meal for 2 hours. 2 HOURS! For 1/4 cup of oranges, 1/4 cup of green beans, 1/4 cup of chopped chicken and a cup of milk. Seriously. We’re not sure how to change this. We’re trying new techniques as we think of them. We’ve set timers, we’ve allowed them to just eat at their own pace (which usually means they don’t focus on eating and then end up getting upset when it’s time for bed), taken their plates after an hour regardless of how much they have left, bribed them with dessert, bribed them with computer time, and a number of other things. Nothing seems to work. They’re stubborn. It’s frustrating and makes me proud all at once. I’m happy to let them be them, I just wish they’d get a move on while they’re doing it!

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