Breakfast With My 2-Year-Old
Each night, while I’m falling to sleep, I think of what I’m going to make for breakfast the next morning. Sometimes it’s something we have made a lot of times, and other times, I want to try something new. I plan it out, every component. It’s our favorite meal.
“Our” means me and Alexander, my 2-year-old.
This morning I made a Dutch baby pancake for the first time. I knew it would be too much sweet to stand alone, so I added plain scrambled eggs and a strawberry, banana, carrot, lime, and flax seed smoothie.
It’s interesting. I run this baby led weaning page. And occasionally people ask how old my baby is. As many moms understand, your baby is always your baby. So I don’t mention how he’s a toddler and not a baby. I don’t mention that we aren’t technically weaning anymore. I just say, “He’s 2 years, 4 months!”
I thought a lot this morning about what breakfast with my 2-year-old looks like compared to breakfast with a 6-month-old. (I did do that a long time ago, you know.) And things are much different now.
For one, I don’t worry so much about the salt and the sugar. I try to limit them regardless, for my own health. But I don’t stress so much about it. I don’t worry that maybe he isn’t eating enough, even during weeks when he isn’t eating enough. He is old enough to tell me if he is hungry and what it is he might want as a snack. He doesn’t make as much of a mess these days. And when he does, I hand him a napkin and he cleans it himself. If there’s a mess on the floor, he can help with the broom and dustpan.
While I cook, I don’t worry that he isn’t being engaged and entertained. I don’t worry that he might fall down our stairs. I don’t worry that he is putting small objects into his mouth. In fact, a lot of mornings he stays in the kitchen with me, “reading”, putting together a puzzle, or playing with his alphabet magnets. Sometimes he even helps me cook. (By “helps”, I mean he hands me a spatula, or maybe he pours a little milk into a bowl.)
I don’t worry about choking. I know what to serve and not to serve, and I know that most things can be served whole or cut small and that he can handle them any way. I avoid whole grapes and other hazards. But I don’t really worry about choking. At his age, he still gags on occasion. I stop to watch and make sure he is okay, but my heart rate is steady. He knows what he is doing, and sure enough, 10 seconds later, we are both back to enjoying our meals. I know that if he does end up choking — it’s happened 3-4 times in the past two years — I will know what to do.
Breakfast is peaceful and nice with my 2-year-old. He makes faces, feeds himself, and sometimes starts saying his ABCs, which is a nice break from the sounds of chewing.
This morning I was thinking most about how this quiet morning time with my 2-year-old won’t last much longer. Soon I will have another little baby. And I will tend to the new baby. And shortly after that, I will have a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old at my breakfast table. Things will be a new sort of different then. So I am appreciating the slow pace of our mornings now.
When Alexander was just 6.5 months, we started offering him solid foods. And I offered him foods once or twice a day for months before he even took a bite. “Why won’t he eat?” I tried everything I could think of, short of ice cream and cookies. Not a bite. He played and made sweet silly faces. But he didn’t eat a bite.
Those days, I didn’t know how to cook much more than eggs or macaroni and cheese. He had a less-than-varied diet, but I was doing my best. Slowly, I started to expand my cooking abilities, for his sake more than my own. We tried lots of bibs and smocks, to see what might keep him from getting dirty. (None of them, by the way.)
Breakfast with a 9-month-old was not nearly as peaceful. Breakfast with a 14-month-old was a little more peaceful, but it was a big mess. And I still wasn’t sure he was eating enough. It took at least 12 months for me to finally find confidence in myself as a mom (and confidence in Alexander as a little person who knew himself as well as, or better, than I knew him).
So now, breakfast with my 2-year-old is one of my most favorite times of the day.
To the new moms and the moms whose babies just won’t eat a thing. To the moms who are stressed about solids or whose babies gag a lot, and it’s totally making you crazy. Be patient with yourself and your baby. Be kind to yourself. It’s safe to say that nearly every mom has felt that way before. And the confidence comes. The calm comes. You’re doing great, and you will get there.