10 Tips to Taming and Transitioning The Type A Child

10 Tips to Taming and Transitioning The Type A Child
By Laura Cipullo RD CDE CEDRD CDN and Mom

Photo Credit: John-Morgan via Compfight cc

All things indirectly affect each other especially our children’s disposition and nutrition intake. Knowing this, I am sharing with you the advice of my son’s teacher. I asked the teacher, “What are some words of wisdom moms like myself can share with their Type A child when he/she transitions to a new school or grade next year?” Here are her answers:

 

Remind Your Child:

  1. “It’s okay if you are not the first one done with your work.”
  2. “It’s okay to make mistakes.”
  3. “It’s okay to come back to the teachers and ask for help after you have tried on your own.”
  4. “Take your time with your work.”
  5. “You do not need to be right.”
Photo Credit: MyTudut via Compfight cc

Give Positive Reinforcement and Stress:

  1. “Are you proud of your work? Which part of the work are you proud of? This work is worthy of feeling pride in.”
  2. “Mistakes are just one way to learn. What did you learn? What would you do the same next time? What would you do differently?”
  3. “The fact that you took your time and tried is what is important.”
  4. “Sometimes slow and steady wins the race.”
  5. “Learning to acknowledge when you are not right makes you a more effective person.”

Breastmilk or Bust

Does the Rocking Chair Look Good Next to the Deep Freezer?
By Amanda Mellowspring, MS, RD, CEDRD, LD/N

Eat from the Earth Nutrition Counseling, LLC
www.eatfromtheearth.com

We all hear stories about “the crazy things” that mothers will do to care for and protect their children. I, along with many of you, also thought I was immune to such craziness despite my big heart…until I actually became a mom myself! Oh yes!

First, I will declare that “crazy” is not the right word for what I will share below, nor for most of the decisions we make as parents. While others may have their own views on our choices, the decisions that feel right in your family do not require approval from others. So, here’s a portion of my story…

In 2012, my husband and I welcomed a baby boy into our lives through adoption. What a powerful experience (which is an entirely separate story)!

As with any parents, our discussions had thoroughly covered a million topics on how we would care for this child. We reached out to only a few family and friends before his birth to avoid spreading the word in such a delicate situation (again another story altogether). One topic that arose as we spoke with another family that had recently adopted a child was feeding. Now, I certainly think most families have some discussion about feeding, so I don’t think being a dietitian really impacted me all that much. My friend shared with me the idea of breastmilk donation. I was immediately in LOVE and curiously asked a million questions about safety, quantity, storage, resources, and networks and then we were off! We eagerly met with pediatricians in our area to find a good fit before the big day and asked for their feelings about our decision to pursue breastmilk donation, at least as much as possible. We purchased a deep freezer for our milk storage & pre-purchased breastmilk bags to trade these amazing mommas who would offer us milk. We nervously contacted our local midwife to explain our situation and ask if she knew any mothers who may like to donate. Interestingly, this was the only thing, aside from one sweet handmade teddy bear that my husband made, that we allowed ourselves to do to prepare for his birth. Again, side story, adoption is amazing and amazingly scary. Everyone approaches this in their own right way.

The dietitian in me did step in the picture at times. We had an open adoption process, and knew that our birthmother was a beautiful gift in our life, but she also refused anything aside from soda and pizza throughout the pregnancy. Now I am not out to bash a good pizza and soda now and again, but talk about checking my work at the door! And, don’t worry I hold onto my own mom/RD guilt about not trying to induce lactation (yes, you can do this & yes, it is super cool), but there were a million reasons that it wasn’t possible in my life at that time. I have always been a strong advocate for breastfeeding, but prior to hearing about breastmilk donation, I had already adjusted my personal feelings about using formula as I had anticipated it to be my only reasonable option. Yes, formula is formulated to resemble breastmilk and provides adequate nutrition, and bonding really comes from love and not from boobs, so I was okaying myself with this. In learning more about milk donation, I also knew that I would most likely supplement with breastmilk donations and primarily feed formula and it would be fine, more than fine. I mean, how would I actually get enough breastmilk from other women to feed him only that!?! So, my dietitian part obviously loved the idea of the nutrition that breastmilk would provide, but I was most excited surprisingly about two other aspects of this endeavor – introducing milk would allow for flavor variation which would assist with food introduction and the development of his flavor palate & I would meet other moms! When you adopt, you don’t generally build the community that you may get from birthing classes etc, so meeting mommas was on my radar!

Beautifully and perfectly, our little guy was born on 9/12/12 and came home with us just a few days later. Over the next 9 months, I fully engaged in my “crazy” & my amazing husband went there with me! I linked up to every milk sharing network that I could find and began driving all over the state (& even other states when we travelled) to meet moms to trade breastmilk for milk bags and fresh foods from our garden. (The Friday evening car rides that took 3-4hrs round trip to pick up donations, the parking lot meetings at Babies R Us, & the coolers that constantly resided in the back of our car may be the “crazy” that I speak of!) Most of the moms didn’t want anything in trade (although milk bags are expensive and I would have bought a million of them if someone had wanted). Just the joy of knowing that they were offering a priceless gift satisfied these amazing women. (It is illegal to pay for breastmilk in the US just so you know, & I never met a mother that would have ever considered it either.) Amazingly, we were able to provide him with ONLY breastmilk from donation for 9 months – and talk about flavor profile with cultural influences from all over Latin America, Asia, Australia, France, & throughout the US! I will just take a moment here to say that the amount of breastmilk that a woman can produce is AMAZING! Seeing all of the milk that my son took in just by standing over a deep freezer packed, labeled, and organized always left me in awe (& usually tears again…a theme in motherhood I am pretty sure.) We pulled back from the search a bit as he started to eat more solids, because we knew that there were more new little ones out there that could benefit from this precious gift. Our little guy had never even had a diaper rash in this time period, so we wanted other babies to benefit from this nutritional gold mine too.

The idea of breastmilk donation dates back, way back, all the way back! Historically women have always been known to wet-nurse or nurse babies that were not their own. It’s just a love thing. But, even still, my protective mom self and my RD part considered what questions to ask women about their lifestyle, their diet, their health, etc. ‘To each her own’ on this topic, I say. I think everyone should be responsible for asking the questions that fit for them. We did not use formal hospital-based milk banks (which do exist) because those generally are reserved for sick children or children with special nutritional needs & there was not one in our area. For me, I can say that I have hugged every woman that provided for my child in this way & that, amongst a few questions here and there, felt right for me. Mind you, that almost all of these women came to me to offer to donate via midwives, other mommas, & friends. I went to their homes, met their babies, and even shared tears for babies that made the gift possible but didn’t live to see the gifts of their mothers in this way. Many women consider the birth children of their milky moms’ to be “milk brothers/sisters”. All of the sudden, I wasn’t just making momma connections; our family was literally growing with every milky mom we met! Thankfully, somewhere in the craziness of the adoption process and becoming a mother, I had the clarity to ask each woman to pose for a photo with our little one. In total, over 30 heart-touching, heart-wrenching photos of love and gratitude have compiled my little guy’s “Moms Book”. His book includes photos of his birthmother, several women (& a man) who were integral to his adoption, over 30 milky moms, & me. Quite a book. And, we are really loving picture books right now anyhow. We look at it together, and I suppose that one day he will ask why I always cry when we do.

Making fun of the RD’s Children’s Food

Making fun of the RD’s Children’s Food

Quite often during the summer months, my family and I share weekends with my best friend’s family at their beach home. What started as two families renting a cottage together each summer is now, almost seven years later, a once-a-month occurrence. My friend has one son and two step children; amazingly, the children all get along beautifully and enjoy all of their activities from playing to eating. If outsiders, however, were to observe our food choices, they’d surely get a good laugh at us…just like my best friend does!

Mind you, there are three separate sets of children—all with different biological parents. You have Alex who is my friend’s biological son. He eats everything from sushi with eel to salmon over field greens or artificially flavored frozen ice sticks. Then there are Bridget and Ben who eat most things and get very excited about food but have had to retire their “clean the plate” club memberships. And finally, there are my wacky eaters! Bobby will eat the salmon but not the field greens. He will eat apple slices in an effort to prove that he has met his nutritional needs because he wants a cupcake. And then Billy: he’s the hummus and pretzel kid. But on one particular weekend, we didn’t have hummus and pretzels.

So, we made green waffles for breakfast. All of the children ate homemade waffles enhanced with green food coloring topped with Nutella. My boys ate only half a waffle while the other three kids gobbled up their entire waffles. Next, we had pizza for lunch; they all devoured that. When we stopped at a farm for some fall fun, they all had apple cider and selected snacks. My son Bobby chose a chocolate chip muffin for his snack but ate only two bites; Billy choose an apple-shaped Rice Krispy treat and ate a third of it. The other three children ate candy apples. I’m not sure how much they ate because I wasn’t watching.

And then, it was time for dinner. I didn’t bring along my kids’ special food preferences; sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. If I do, it’s because my kids are super picky and I want them to have a more nutritionally dense breakfast and dinner rather than one with artificial colors and flavorings. But here’s the caveat! The parents had prepared grilled salmon and swordfish over salad with homemade mashed potatoes for dinner…for everyone. Alex, Bridget and Ben happily ate their dinners and their greens. Bobby moaned until he finally decided to eat his salmon, but no greens; at least he did try some summer squash. Billy just sprawled himself over the bench and declared that he was not eating…which was fine with me except for the fact that he was interrupting our dinner.

So this is why my friend laughs. Her children certainly eat highly processed foods but they also eat wholesome real foods. And my kids are just fussy. They didn’t eat much dinner that night, but perhaps just enough to qualify for Betty Crocker cupcakes frosted with artificially colored green icing. And then, my older son Bobby ate about half of his little cupcake and my younger son Billy just licked the icing off his cupcake. So while my kids had made a scene, they didn’t really eat the cupcakes either. The other kids devoured theirs and even had seconds!

So why is it that my friend’s kids eat lots of everything and my kids eat less of some things? We joke that it’s not role modeling. She eats Lean Cuisine for dinner even if her kids eat a meal. That particular night, for example, she ate salad while we all ate carbs, proteins and fats. Her nanny cooks for her kids during the week, but their dads used to cook wholesome meals for them. (Maybe they learned from their dads?) I make wholesome meals for my kids now but my nanny cooked for them when they were very little.

So, what does this all mean? My kids don’t necessarily devour the fake food using artificial green food coloring (Yes, we added it directly to the waffle batter. And yes, I made tie-dyed pancakes the next morning using an assortment of these same dyes!), nor do they love a wide range of wholesome foods. They do love their regular foods and they eat enough of them.

The other kids may eat a greater variety of foods, but they also eat lots of boxed, processed foods. At the end of the day, I wish I knew the answer as to why this is the case. But for now all I can say is that I love my kids as they are—with all their wacky eating habits; they probably eat a lot like their mother did when she was a child! And my friends and I can laugh at our kid’s eating habits and food preferences.

Do you think your kids eat a certain way because of their environment or genetics?

Do you have children that eat everything all of the time—or just their favorite foods? Are you a like-minded nutrition expert yet always challenged by your own children’s eating?

Looking for a great afterschool snack option to appeal to your picky eaters? Check out Cooking Light’s great snack ideas!