She Says… Regression

Is it backwards day?

(Remember backwards day?)

Owen has pulled the old switcheroo on me at dinnertime two nights in a row now. He turned up his nose at everything I offered him and threw it all off of his tray. Two nights ago, in a last ditch effort to get him to eat something before I filed this behavior under “toddler learning to make decisions for himself, and thus I should accept it and move on rather than get frustrated” (oh, and “not hungry”), I quickly mashed his food up in a bowl, mixed it with some applesauce and offered it to him with a spoon. Fir the first time IN MONTHS, he accepted the spoon. Not only accepted, but welcomed.

He opened his mouth like a little baby bird. He didn’t grab the spoon or turn his head or play any of the games we were playing around 10 months when he first started refusing anything that wasn’t a finger food.

Even though it happened two nights ago, it still threw me for a loop when it happened again last night. I thought it was a fluke! Here are my theories:

– He not actually that hungry, since I send him with a lot of food to daycare, and he eats 2 snacks a day there, which he doesn’t generally have at when we are at home all day.

– He doesn’t want to eat when he gets home, he wants TO PLAY. WITH ME. (I like this theory). And not be stuck in a chair. He knows from experience that the quickest way to get out of his chair is to throw all of his food on the floor.

– He’s testing me. To see how I react, to see if he gets different food (which he doesn’t), to see how far he can push me before he gets a more dramatic reaction than my normal ignoring technique, etc. Testing. Me.

– He didn’t like what I gave him to eat (which is less likely since it happened twice in a row with different food, and all of the foods I offered him are things he eats).

– He just wasn’t feelin’ it. That moment. That particular food. Whatevs.

Maybe it’s a little bit of all of those reasons. But I’m thinking mostly the first one. The kid eats A LOT at daycare. He’s a busy little bee and needs those calories, and I always send him with a little more than I think he’ll eat because I don’t want him to be hungry. You never know when he might be in the mood to chow!

For instance, here’s what he ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Slice of homemade gluten-free zucchini bread, egg & sausage omelette, strawberries. Snack: Bites of gluten-free blueberry waffle, banana slices. Lunch: Sunflower seed butter sandwich on gluten-free millet chia bread, cucumber cubes and some Dr. Praeger’s spinach/potato patty. Snack: Pirate’s Booty corn puffs and some cheese. Dinner: Homemade veggie burger made with quinoa, sweet potato and black beans, roasted broccoli & cauliflower (eventually mixed with applesauce when he threw them on the floor) and mango slices. Oh, and 20 ounces of milk throughout the day.

Whoa. I just realized he is going to be the weird kid at school eating quinoa burgers when his friends are eating cheeseburgers. Do not fear — we eat regular old cheeseburgers sometimes too!

Today he’s having:

Breakfast: Slice of zucchini bread, yogurt with pomegranate applesauce & ground flax seeds, peach slices. Snack: Red bell pepper and cheese. Lunch: 1/2 salmon burger, broccoli, plum & mango slices. Snack: Rice Chex and orange slices. Dinner: Other 1/2 of salmon burger, frozen peas, raspberries. Plus 20 ounces of milk.

Note to self: He’s not going to starve. And maybe it’s time he learns how to feed himself with a spoon so we can expand beyond finger foods! I’d love to make some yummy bean soups in the fall… I’ve started giving him a spoon to play with and try to feed himself while I’m feeding him with a spoon, but frankly he would much rather I feed him. Or throw his spoon on the floor. He doesn’t seem to have much interest in spoon feeding himself. In any case, I think that exercise of writing out his daily food just proved to me that if he ate breakfast and lunch (and two snacks, and milk) at daycare, it’s not a wonder he’s not hungry for dinner.

It’s all good.

Babies are fickle!

What did you or your kid have to eat today? (I’m always looking for new things to add to his repertoire…). Extra points if they can be eaten cold and packed in a lunchbox for daycare!


22 responses to “She Says… Regression

  1. I can explain it for you–he’s a toddler. Toddlers are jerks sometimes. 😉 But seriously, I was literally just talking to my boss about this 5 minutes ago. The food throwing–it’s killing me. Last night I got all excited because my 18-month-old ate 3 fish sticks! And peas! And didn’t throw anything! Hallelujah! Really hoping this phase passes fast. What I’ve found helps just a little is only giving him a small amount of food at a time, and giving him what I most want him to eat first. So, veggies first, then the rest of his meal once he eats those. If nothing else, the less he has, the less you need to clean up when he starts flinging it across the kitchen. Also, as soon as he starts throwing, I take the food away. I’ll give him one more chance to eat, but after that, we’re done for the time being.
    As for the spoon thing, our daycare always gives the kids spoons and forks to try to use, and my son has only really gotten the hang of it in the last month or two. So I’d say just keep on giving it to him, and he’ll get the hang of it eventually.
    Good luck, and if you figure out a cure for food throwing, my kitchen floor and I would like to know.

  2. Lol to above “Toddlers are jerks sometimes” 🙂

    Owen eats more than Faith. This morning my little butthead ate a slice of Swiss cheese (well, most of it before throwing it), a strawberry banana cereal bar, most of an apple and 7 ounces of milk before spitting the remaining ounce on me.

    Yeah, we’re having a butthead day here.

  3. I forgot to add that she’s also eaten half a paper napkin and a metric ass ton of goldfish. And it’s just now 10am!

  4. Do you have a recipe for your home-made gluten-free zucchini bread? I love zucchini bread (and am newly gluten-free). Thanks!

  5. @allie, Yes! It’s a new recipe I just found and it’s OUTSTANDING. It’s actually a regular recipe, but I used a gluten free flour mix (Arrowhead Mills) instead of the all purpose flour. (Just don’t sub in baking mix… just a flour blend will do the trick. Baking mix has leaveners and other stuff that you don’t need in this bread). Here’s the recipe:

  6. I’m so jealous of everything Owen eats! My 20-month-old used to be the best eater. She would try and usually loved everything you would put in front of her. Now she will examine her plate and look at me with her “Mom, you are on crack if you think I’m even going to touch this” look. Yesterday, she ate next to nothing. For real. She eventually begged for yogurt and grapes so I guess that was something. I just want my non-picky eater back!

    And I cracked up at Kara’s comments. I would have been happy if my daughter had eaten half a napkin and a metric ass ton of goldfish yesterday. Ha! So funny!

  7. Owen does eat a lot for a toddler his age! My “E” usually has oatmeal, cream of wheat or yogurt with fruit puree for breakfast. Sometimes a slice of buttered toast too. He has been sleeping through the mornings these days so he doesn’t eat a morning snack. For lunch, I really struggle as to what to give him but it’s either pasta with homemade veggie pasta sauce, grilled cheese (with veggies hidden inside) or an omelette. For an afternoon snack, I usually give him some sort of fruit. For dinner, he eats whatever we are eating. I can only get about 8oz of milk into each day which really worries me. The pediatrician suggested chocolate or strawberry flavoured milk but I can’t bring myself to do that.

    I have made him homemade salmon cakes and meatballs which seem to be a hit. For other ideas, have you checked out It’s a great website. The other thing I’ve done for recipe ideas is get toddler cookbooks out from the library. They have been a great resource.

    My “E” still likes to be fed by a spoon. He has never rejected it like Owen did. I think they are their own unique individuals and you just have to keep trying different things with them. I wouldn’t call what Owen did a regression. I feel it’s all about getting the nutrition into them in whatever way possible. They WILL eventually learn how to feed themselves.

  8. Kate, you seriously amaze me. You are feeding Owen amazing food. He is one fortunate little boy. Pomegranate applesauce? I am lucky that I make regular applesauce (which I feel like takes forever), forget about adding in the extra steps of taking apart a pomegranate and adding it in. Gluten free millet chia bread? OMG. Egg and sausage omlette alone amazes me. How does he eat that? I mean the mechanics of it? If I try to give my 13 month old scrambled eggs with something in it, she just picks it apart. I feel badly since I feel like I give her items on the tray together, but things aren’t necessarily cooked together, you know what I mean? Do you think that makes a difference?
    I thought my daughter ate a lot, but I don’t think so now. Here goes: breakfast: honeydew or half a piece of toast or yogurt and milk. Snack: half a banana. Lunch: (seems to be her big meal) scrambled eggs/cut up pieces of baked salmon/cut up pieces of plain baked chicken, green beans/broccoli/etc, strawberries or some other fruit. Snack: sometimes cheese but usually just milk. Dinner: what we are having plus cereal.
    I need to get on things. I feel like a slacker.

  9. @Megan, It sounds like you are doing an AWESOME job feeding your little one!!! I didn’t make the pomegranate applesauce myself (it is just little containers of applesauce flavored with pomegranate juice made by Mott’s or someone like that), or the bread (that’s Udi’s, left over from when they sent us a bunch of gluten-free products to review), or the salmon burger (found in the freezer section of the grocery store), so don’t think I’m making everything he eats from scratch anymore 🙂

    The egg omelettes that I make for him are pretty awesome, though. I put a few eggs, some meat/veggies (either leftover puree that I have in the freezer, or chopped fresh/frozen, whatever), some cheese (usually shredded mozzarella), and a splash of whole milk. Whisk everything together and then pour into a muffin tin. I fill each muffin cup about 1/4-1/3 of the way up and then bake at 350 until they are set (usually about 20 minutes). Let cool, then you can pop ’em in the freezer and take them out as needed. They stay together really well, so I can cut them up into bites and send them in Owen’s lunchbox for breakfast at daycare. It’s pretty hard to pick out the veggies when they are cooked like that, so your daughter may like them (or hate them…).

    Don’t beat yourself up — it sounds like you have a happy, healthy baby who loves her food, just like Owen!

  10. My kids used to (USED TO) love little tofu cubes when they were little. I would just warm them in a skillet and put them on a plate (occasionally with a little teriyaki sauce but you don’t want to go overboard on the sodium). Now, at ages 2.5 and almost 5, they wouldn’t touch it with a 30-foot pole. Somewhere between 1 and 2 years, they decided they didn’t want to eat most of the things they LOVED before. We’ve been able to get a few of them back, but some are gone from the diet for now. I am envious of you and most of the posters here for what their toddlers are willing to eat!

  11. @Julie, I think Owen is still in the blessed “will eat just about anything” stage. I’m sure a more limited menu is in our future! I’m just riding this as long as I can.

  12. Ooooh I am so excited for that omlette recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. I love freeze ahead meals, so that is a great idea. I dont’ think I knew that you could freeze eggs. Awesome! I can definitely do that.
    Thanks again for the inspiration!

  13. I meant to add before that I think letting something disappear from the menu for too long usually erases it from my kids’ repertoire. I have a potato, leek, and spinach soup that my 2-year-old used to LOVE and ate all the time. Then I didn’t make it for a couple of months, and the next time I made it, he wouldn’t touch it (and never has since then). This has happened with many things with both kids. I regret letting them “forget” that they like to eat certain things!

    My advice would be to keep the momentum up as long as you can. It sounds like Owen has great habits now – if you can continue to keep him exposed to all those veggies, he’s less likely to reject them down the road.

    Also, my kids used to regress to wanting me to spoon-feed them sometimes when they were teething. Just a thought.

  14. I just want to add the idea of : He sees you eating with a spoon/fork and has noticed it and he wants to be like you. By Owen’s age, our A was mostly feeding herself. We bought a set of “cocktail” silverware that had little tiny spoons, forks, and small dull knives.

    We let her use the spoons and the forks from a very early age and she’s a champ self-feeder.

    And now she’s three and wants to cut her own food, I give her the (*COMPLETELY DULL*) tiny cocktail spreader knives with her eggs, and show her how to use a knife and fork together.

  15. Another thought (I don’t think anyone mentioned it) is teething. My new-1 year old hasn’t been eating very well the last week or so which isn’t normal for him. Tonight at dinner he started fussing again and throwing food and I saw a glimpse into his mouth and thought I saw some whiteness on his gums. Sure enough his one molar is pushing through. I remember this happening with my two girls as well. And just like Owen, I pulled out a pouch of baby food and he sucked it down instantly! My husband said he did the same thing a few days ago as well.
    Just another thought to check out!

  16. Can you write a baby food recipe book, please? Seriously.

  17. @Christina, You’re totally right. Just saw the evidence today — those molars are pushing their way through! Hence the rough nights we’ve had the last two nights as well. Good call 🙂

    @Tio, Would LOVE to. I’ve entertained the idea. Who knows, maybe I just will!

  18. Kate, bummer about the molars (they are rough!!) but at least you know the reason behind all the weird symptoms. It always makes me feel better just knowing.

  19. Just made that zucchini bread from the recipe above, yum! I used whole wheat flour so it was a bit grainier but delicious and my babies loved it too!

  20. Kate – I made the omelettes this weekend and they were a HUGE hit! I made them with spinach and she devoured them! Thank you so much!
    I second the book idea. If you get farther down the path, let me know, my husband works in publishing.

  21. Kate, can you post your recipe for Homemade veggie burger made with quinoa, sweet potato and black beans? My husband is Vegan and I still haven’t found a homemade veggie burger he and my 3 yr old will eat. Thanks!
    Also, just remember everything is a phase! He will start eating and as he gets older this will happen more and more! (at least it did for my son). You are doing such a great job sending him all that food to daycare. How do you manage to find the time to do that? I can barely get dinner on the table!

  22. @amy, Certainly! The burger recipe is from this awesome vegan blog: I can’t post the recipe because it’s not mine… but it is delicious! I subbed out the oats for some gluten free hot cereal mix we had for Owen, and I have to say, I bet the oats would be better. Ours were a little on the crumbly side. I bet you’ll find some other great recipes to try too — everything I’ve made from her blog is delicious.

    As for prepping the food for daycare, it’s tough. I do it at night while Benjamin does the dishes from OUR dinner so it’s ready to go in the morning. Sometimes that requires more cooking (a frozen salmon burger or something like that), which means it can take a long time. But I am always glad I did the next morning when it is all packed in his lunchbox and waiting in the ‘fridge.

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