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Toddler - Week #61

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One Year and Week Nine: His Appetite is Just Fine!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Picture this: You set your 61-week-old cherub in his high chair and serve him a wonderful plate of healthy foods. He picks up his fork and spoon and begins to happily eat it all. Yeah, right! The truth is that the healthy foods will more likely land on the floor more than in the mouth!       

       Evan has been eating table food for quite sometime now. Previously, he had eaten whatever we gave him. He was not choosy. Lately, he has become pickier about the foods he eats. He once ate broccoli and carrots but now turns up his nose at these. Also, he has been eating with his hands up until now. Though he still primarily eats with his hands, he has begun to try to use a spoon. I have always placed the spoon on his tray just so it would be there. Recently, he has begun to attempt to use it as he sees all of us use one. This does not, however, lead to a less messy dinner time! We still have lots of food on the floor when dinner is over-much to my dismay but to the dog's delight!


Creating Good Readers:
           A wonderful thing available to readers is personalization of books. Your child will love getting a personalized book. Many companies offer this service on the internet. However, you can do this while you are reading without even purchasing a special book. You can simply put your child's name in place of the main character's name. Give it a try-he will love it and find it very entertaining.


Book of the Week:
            Teddy Bear's Picnic

       By: Paulina Malinen       

       There are many versions of this classic song/story available. This particular author turned the song not only into a book, but made it a pop-up book with goodies to pull out. I like it because we are exploring the use of utensils in our eating adventures, and some of the pull-out goodies are utensils like a fork and spoon. You get to set up the teddy bear's picnic as you read along. You can read this book and personalize it as mentioned above to add to the fun. There are internet sites that offer this book as one to be personalized with your child's name actually written on the book. Whichever version you decide upon, the overall message about friends and family enjoying a meal can be helpful when you are trying to point out table manners to a little one.


           You cannot read about the teddy bears having their picnic in the woods without gathering all of your furry friends and a blanket to head outside for a picnic of your own. I decided to choose foods that would not be finger foods so I could practice using the utensils, but that is a personal decision.       

       We also made our own ants for our picnic! Not real ants though. We made an art project out of these picnic pests. It was a simple project. You will need black poster paint and a paper plate. I painted Evan's little fingers with black poster paint. You will need to paint all but the thumb and pinky fingers. Poster paint works best because it is easy clean up. Press the three fingers onto the paper plate, one next to the other. This is the ant's body. Add on little legs with a pen. You can do this as many times as you like. I then let Evan color the paper like it was our picnic blanket. You could add magazine pictures of food if you like. My four-year-old daughter likes to make collages like that. But we skip the glue stick for Evan because it is too messy.


Rhyme Time:
           We had fun singing this tune this week at our picnic:       

        The ants go marching one by one,

       Hooray, hooray!

       The ants go marching two by two,

       Hooray, hooray!

       The ants go marching three by three.

       The little one stops to picnic with me.

       Then they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain.


Evan's Opinion:
           I chose foods like pasta salad and ice cream so we would have to use our spoons. But this isn't that easy when you are sitting on a blanket to eat. Luckily, Evan likes to eat, so he will sit very still to get a meal! In fact, if he is walking around and sees someone eating something he likes, he automatically sits down and looks at the food waiting for someone to share. This is still true even though he has decided he doesn't like certain foods anymore. So he did stay put during the picnic, but the mess was still large. In his seat, he misses his mouth and food falls on the tray. But there was no tray when we sat for our picnic, so let's just say that the blanket has seen better days! It was a fun adventure though.       

       The ants are very cute. Alice used magazines to find picnic food that she could glue onto her plate. This made the project really look cute. I let her put Evan's food pictures on because I learned my lesson before about the glue stick. It is too messy right now and we have enough of a mess at meal times without adding to it during arts and crafts!


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "What do I do with a picky eater?"       

       First, relax! It may be helpful to know that you are not alone! Your 14 to-15-month-old child is supposed to do this and take control of his own eating. Toddlers learn quickly that the foods they eat are one thing that they can control. You can stress over it and worry about his health-but really, will that make him eat better or more? Nope! So what can you do?       

       There are some tips for making sure your child remains healthy during this phase so he does not merely exist on a cracker. You can allow your child to be a grazer. You can have healthy foods like fruits available throughout the day. Just allow your child to come pick at the food as he wishes.       

       Another thing you can do is provide a wide variety of foods at meal time. Once your child is in the high chair, offer a small amount of several different foods. I always try to offer some fruit, some veggies, some protein, and some dairy. I figure if he gets a small bite of each, then we are doing well.       

       There are things that I know will not work for certain. You cannot expect your young child to eat without a mess! I am delighted that Evan is trying the spoon, but I am not unrealistic enough to believe that he will now be an immaculate eater. I expect a mess and I do not stress over it (though I will not allow him to throw his food on purpose!).       

       I also know he is not going to eat everything I put in front of him. As I mentioned, I offer a variety of food. One of the first times a teacher opened his lunch bag, she thought I was crazy sending so much food. My intent is not for Evan to have to sit there until he eats every bite! That would make him even pickier.       

       One last idea to avoid is battling over the food. If he is done or doesn't want to eat, that's it. Trying to assert control over the issue will result in the reverse of what I want. So if I find Evan pushing away, the meal is over. I let him have that control.       

       Your child, at this age, really needs about 1,300 calories which he gets easily if you start to add things up. Remember to include all of the milk he is drinking right now and the calories will add up quickly. You may wonder if he should have a vitamin because of this pickiness, but experts say no. If you are in doubt, discuss it with your pediatrician. But really, if your child is gaining weight and seemingly happy, just sit back, relax, and enjoy him-he will toddle over to you for a bite of that snack you are enjoying when you least expect it!


Signs of an Ear Infection
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

           Ear infections are a typical childhood illness. Most children will experience one during their first few years, while many will suffer from them often. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your child has an ear infection because they are unable to tell you and the signs may not be completely obvious. Some good indicators of an ear infection are:
  • Pulling on the ear- Although some children do this because they are tired, cranky or for no reason at all
  • Drainage- Yellow or white drainage is an excellent indicator of an ear infection
  • Loss of appetite- It may hurt to chew or swallow
  • Diarrhea and or vomiting- An ear infection is often accompanied by a virus that can affect the stomach
  • Head shaking- Fluid may be present in the ear
  • Fever- Indicates that an infection is present
  • Trouble sleeping, fussiness or crying- Pain
             If you suspect that your child has an ear infection, especially if drainage is present, visit your child's pediatrician. If your child does have an ear infection, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. The antibiotic is typically taken once a day for ten days. Your child should show signs of improvement within two to three days of beginning the medication.       

High Fructose Corn Syrup
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           There is a buzzing among moms whom I know about high fructose corn syrup in foods. There are claims from the industry that produces HFCS that the product is just like sugar. Then, there are concerned parents who feel HFCS may cause health problems.       

       It is true that HFCS is found in many different kinds of food--from bread and barbecue sauce to juices and ketchup. You may be worried about your family's consumption of this sweet syrup. As your toddler begins to eat more and more "real" food, you will have to become an avid label reader. HFCS is not the only ingredient you may choose to avoid. Know that there are alternatives to highly-processed foods and you may just have to roam the aisles a little bit longer!       


A Safe Place for a Tantrum
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

           As most one year old children, Austin has mastered the art of throwing a tantrum. He can throw himself on the floor and scream at the top of his lungs with the best of them. I understand that this is a rite of passage and children will throw fits here and there, but I wanted to be sure that he was safe while venting his frustrations. When Austin first started crawling, we had created a gated area using a large gate with an extension and made its floor with foam mats as we have tile throughout our house.  Austin has lots of toys in this area and we play in there together often. When Austin begins to throw a fit, I put him in his play area. We recently added a bean bag to his special place which comes in handy when he is throwing himself around. Austin can pitch his fit and I know he is safe without having to stand over him plus paying too much attention to his behavior.

Time to Read
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Nate has changed this week pretty dramatically. He has always enjoyed books but this week he has begun to bring particular books to us to read. He pushes them in our face or drops them on our laps and says a word that sounds an awful lot like "read."       

       He has also gone back to books that we thought he had outgrown. It looks like he remembers them from months ago. It is amazing to see him mature. We are happy that he enjoys books so much and not just the loud toys. He can sit on his own and flip through the pages for long stretches. If we ask him to find a certain picture in a book, he loves to go hunt for it.       


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