Saturday, April 21, 2012

How does she do it?

I'm having some difficulties and wondering if the moms out there can offer me some words of wisdom.

Patrick is 10 1/2 months old, eating full on table food for the past month or so.  With this comes difficulties.  Number one being the time he's hungry in the evening.  I generally get him home from daycare by 5:00 but he's hungry by 5:15 or 5:30.  I rarely am able to get a good dinner cooked in that time, so he eats leftovers or I've been cooking sweet potatoes for him.  Then while he eats, I cook or at least start the meal that Joc and I will eat.  Then when he's done he's ready for his bedtime routine (seriously).  Joc gets home between 5:45 and 6:30.  Patrick's in bed and asleep by 7 every night.  Then Joc and I sit down to eat, or if I did manage to get a meal cooked and ate with Patrick, Joc eats alone.
I see many issues in my situation:  Patrick is getting used to eating by himself, so if I do sit down with him to eat he gets a little fussy that I'm not constantly helping him eat.  (this i think I solve by being consistent in eating with him)  Thoughts on that?  Also.  We aren't eating as a family.  I'm not sure we can wait for Joc every night because she doesn't get out consistently and Patrick is a mess if we were to wait.
I'm not really interested in pushing bedtime back, he almost always lays down and falls right to sleep. And we get him up by 7am so he needs those 12 hours (plus his naps are not always great at daycare so he's usually very ready for bed).

He's also become a bit funny with food.  He does this thing where he clenches his fists, bears down and moans/grunts and gets all read in the face.  I'm not sure what he means by it.... I'm trying to sign language thing but dang it, he's not participating yet and he refuses to tell me what his deal is... (c:  He also likes to take a bit, chew for a moment and spit the food out.  Yet an hour later he's fussy and wants a snack.  He likes fruit and apple sauce... but I need him to like other food!  I try to give him fruit for dessert, and only if he's eaten at least half his meal... so he's not just filling up on the sweet stuff.  Is this a phase?  Do I take him out of the highchair when he's playing and throwing his food to tell him it's not play time when he's in there?  Or let him play with the food?  Do I try different food in the same meal (if he's not liking what I made for him) to make sure he gets enough to eat?  When does the "this is what's for dinner, if you don't eat it then that's your choice" start?  I know it's too early now... but he knows what's happening... he knows if he whines and squeals enough he'll get attention... Am I creating a monster???!!!  I don't want to get in the habit of cooking one meal for me and Joc and something different for the boy.

Also, how often should I be giving him snacks?  I'm trying to start weaning him from the boob... so I'm trying some snacks between meals, replacing the boob... but sometimes I worry I'm giving him too many snacks and that's why he's not eating well at dinner.
What snacks do you give the kids?  (I've got yogury puffs, gerber veggies bit thingies, I cut up cheese, goldfish crackers are a new thing... )

Working 4-5 days a week is challenging with a baby...

Any advice would be appreciated.


Amy Starkey said...

ok, first of all, i'm pretty sure everything you are going through every parent goes through. second thing, don't worry about most of it yet. i mean, of course you are going to worry, you are a mom. but really, he is just 10 1/2 months old.

and really, please call me because i started typing a comment but it was like a novel! :)

Jen said...

Okay... You are not going crazy. Everything here is normal! We went through this with Belle (I was laid off and home by the time George really started eating real food), but by all means - FEED THAT BABY when he's hungry! If you don't, you will all be a mess (stressed and upset) by bedtime. What I did with Belle and it seemed to work with us (not that I'm saying it will work for you, but might be worth a try). We would get home about 5:45-6ish and of course, she would be screaming and ready to eat, but I had to try to get a meal ready for Nick and I too... So - I would put her in her high chair and give her a snack to get through until I had time to get real food made. We also used A LOT of the Gerber pre-made meals... they are GREAT in a crunch. If you are not wanting to go that route, I suggest making up a meal for him the night before so you can just warm it when you're ready... But, putting them in the chair with a snack and chatting with them while you cook seems to help. Even if you give him a couple toys on his tray while you cook - they really mostly want to be with you at that time.
Also, I suggest asking your daycare provider to give him another bottle shortly before you arrive (if you get there at 5, ask them to give him one at 4:45). That will hold him over for a few...
As for Joc - I suggest feeding PJ when you get home and he's hungry and eating with Joc. Yes, you will likely eat at 7 or 8 every night (that will be normal for the next year or so), but it's important not to let her start feeling isolated by eating alone...
If you are set on starting your bedtime routine by 6:30ish, just make sure she's part of it so she doesn't feel left out. We started our bedtime out at 7 because that's when Belle would get tired, but after a few months of daycare and only getting to see her for an hour after work before bed, we began to push it back a little... first to 7:30, then to 8, which made ME feel much less guilty and made her nap better during the day. :)
As for snacks and foods, some days he'll eat what you give, somedays not - even if it's the same thing. Don't worry about it! If he's hungry, he'll let you know and on those nights when my kids wouldn't eat, I just made sure to give them a yogurt with their bottles before bed. Fills up their bellies a little more than just the milk, it's good for them and they almost always eat it because it's sweet. :)
Feel free to call me with questions anytime! :)

hasib said...

I wish favouer will luck for patrick.