Toddler Food Ideas {Keepin' it real} | Laughs

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a toddler not asleep, must be in want of food.

If you are/have been the proud owner of one or more toddlers then you will certainly understand the truth of the above sentence. Toddlers have an insatiable appetite. Whether it's from the constant movement and noise making or the effort it takes to drive their parents to absolute distraction, toddlers need food. 

And lots of it.

I'm pretty sure scientists are getting close to definitive proof that toddlers burn more energy than the sun in a a 24-hour period.

No sooner have the small ones awoken then they are demanding food. A drink bottle of cows milk for the big one, a lazy feed of Mummy milk for the smaller one. As soon as the milk has been consumed it's on to the biscuits. The biscuits are merely a stop-gap measure to allow Mum to get out of bed and get her head together, ready for the day. Sometimes I'm allowed to pee by myself and even get the jug boiling before they are beating down the bathroom door, demanding breakfast.

Depending on how close I've gotten to making myself a coffee, breakfast can be anything from toast to porridge to yoghurt and muesli. I'm not very creative or functional before about 11am and the consumption one mother-flippin' HUGE-ass coffee, so the kids have learnt to take what they can get for this meal without arguing.

They know Mummy needs her coffee like a hater needs his hate, and the big one has even started bringing me make-believe cups of tea & coffee at random intervals throughout the day. Usually just after I've lost my shit for some random reason. I take it as a sure sign that it's definitely time to boil the jug for the twentieth time and actually make and drink another cup of joe!

Lunch and dinner are interesting affairs when you have toddlers. I hardly ever bother slaving over elaborate meals for them because a) I've never slaved over elaborate meals for anyone and I sure as shit ain't gonna start now. And b) because whatever I feed them is going to mostly end up in their hair, on their clothes or on the ground anyway, so why bother with elaborate anything!

The big toddler, now that she has become proficient at using cutlery and sitting still for longer than 30 seconds at a time, usually does a pretty good job of getting most of the food in her mouth. Unless that food is yoghurt. Then it's on like Donkey Kong and she deliberately turns the spoon over just before it reaches her mouth and it ends up all over the bench.

I've recently come to realisation that this spoon technique is really just a ploy to get as much of the damn stuff on the bench as she can, to then facilitate finger painting in it. So now, as of last week, yoghurt is banned until she can learn to eat it properly. If she wants yoghurt from now on she has to go crying to Nanny who buys those fancy squeezy pouches of the stuff because she is not getting it from me! I got enough crap to clean up without a tiny terrorist deliberately adding more!

The small child hasn't quite progressed to using cutlery as yet, and is still firmly in the finger food/being spoon-fed stage. Most of the time I try to give her stuff that she can feed to herself, because feeding a toddler who only wants to open her mouth a few millimetres at a time is extremely boring and ain't nobody got time fo' dat!

When she is spoon fed I've started to give her a spoon of her own so she can practise and I reckon 3 times out of 10 she actually manages to get food from the bowl into her mouth via the spoon. The rest of the time it falls down that gap between child and high chair tray, where it then becomes squished so well into her clothes that it almost becomes part of the pattern.

The smallest toddlers favourite game at the moment though when imbibing finger food, is to sweep her hand from side to side across the high chair tray and launch as much food as she can off the tray or plate and on to the floor around her chair. I must say she has really perfected this technique over the last few weeks and were starting to see her get some real distance with her morsels.

At this stage I'm fairly certain that about 75% of the food she is served is ending up on the floor, if my calculations while sweeping and/or vacuuming are accurate. At any rate, I'm starting to think that I have been going about feeding the small child the wrong way.

For no sooner have I gotten her out of the high chair and gone to pull the older toddler down from the roof (exaggeration of course, but not by much!) then the younger toddler is happily sitting on the floor beside the high chair eating the aforementioned launched food.
Oh Joey. This is how I imagine Zee in the future!

Now if I were a better mother I'd scoop her up and deposit her a safe distance away while I clean the area and remove all food scraps to the nearest trash receptacle, but I'm not a better mother. (You know what's coming next, don't you?!).

I figure it's far easier to let her hoover up the food she has dropped in her own special way, and then come along afterwards and get anything she's missed with the actual hoover. Why should I break my back picking up all the food she's thrown on the ground when she is quite clearly not done with that, and I can just let her finish her meal there?

Hygiene, some of you might answer. But I say "immunity building" to that! Due to her improvement in food launching skills, there are times when food is spread so far and wide that I miss a piece here and there and it's not until a day or two later when I do a full back-room sweep that I come across it. If she hasn't beaten me to it that is!

The way I see it, if she can chow down on some random piece of day old toast that I've missed and still be fine, then she can sure as heck eat the food she's dropped from the meal she's just "finished". She's happy, I'm happy, and it cuts down on the time I have to spend cleaning up the food.

It's a parenting win in my books!

I'm starting to think that maybe I should just drop all of her food straight on the floor as soon as it's ready and be done with it. Why bother with this eating in the high chair charade when we both know that eating the food off the floor is what it's really all about for her. And when she's done she can simply move on to the bits and pieces that the big toddler has dropped from her lunch and I can sit and drink a coffee in peace without a tiny terrorist begging me for more food!

Seriously, who needs a dog when you have toddlers?!

How do you/did you find the experience of feeding toddlers? Is it a universal toddler thing, this joy of throwing food during a meal and then eating it off the floor afterwards, or have I really given birth to something genetically closer to a dog than a human child?

Linking up with those glorious Lizards of the Lounge today.


Kylie Purtell said…
I'd leave an awesome comment here but I am busy preparing/feeding/cleaning up food for my toddler - rinse and repeat!
Kylie Purtell said…
I remember getting a big tarp and just hosing it down for awhile - I also got rid of bibs and just changed clothes after each a lot has changed...
Kylie Purtell said…
You had me at the Friends quote.
Can't say my oldest ever ate the food she'd flung off the floor, but we were definitely known to let the dog in to start the floor-cleaning process from time to time. Man, did we go through some paper towel! Hubby and I used to argue every night about whose turn it was to get down on their hands and knees and wipe the floor.
We recently moved to a new house with wooden floors, and Hubby suggested we buy a nice rug to put under our dining table. With a bub soon to be born (he is now 5 months old), all the memories of finding food smeared or squished in to the floor under the dining table came flooding back. I suggested perhaps we just stick to the wooden floors for now! Can't say I'm ecstatic about having to go through it all again soon.
Kylie Purtell said…
That quote at the beginning is GOLD! Floor eating is an essential part of the toddler lifestyle and they just don't understand why we get so bent out of shape about it.
Kylie Purtell said…
UGH, food is the bain of my existence, I'm so glad my youngest now follows in his older footsteps and eats at the table. I fed mine with a spoon, letting them try made such a mess and when they're old enough to get it I let them, bugger cleaning up so much!@ #lazymumma
Kylie Purtell said…
Ahhhh yes, I remember those days well. I'd love to be able to say it gets better, but I'm having trouble getting Mr 13to eat regular meals at the moment. I thought teenagers never stopped eating! My GP ensures me that puberty should kick in with a vengeance and he'll get an appetite. Meanwhile, Mr 5 is so bloody stubborn that he'll rarely try anything in case he actually likes it, in which case he'd have to admit that I was right! GRRRRR.
Kylie Purtell said…
Feed them naked in the bath ... (kidding! kind of ...) - I remember taking mine on lots of picnics
Kylie Purtell said…
Spaghetti and rice are the bane of my existence. My almost three year old doesn't consider them food but a fashion accessory, worn from arsehole to breakfast time! Then she gets down off her chair and the floor gets to wear it all.
Kylie Purtell said…
I've never had trouble with Hayley eating her food, however she does usually drop a fair bit between the highchair and her belly which ends up on the floor. She always gets down and eats it up though. At first it used to horrify me, but then when she didn't die I figured it was all good. Five second rule! Or five minute rule in this case.
Kylie Purtell said…
I'm so glad we are past that stage, although Miss 6 still manages to almost get more on the floor than she does in her mouth. Just not sure if it's on purpose though now!!
Kylie Purtell said…
Oh if I could get my 2.5 year-old to eat something that could make a mess. My fussy child has a list of 5 different foods currently on rotation and the household is now on melt down at meal times with the tension of constantly having 'the fight' to eat what I have made for him. It is usually something that he ate last week but has decided it is a no go this week! Aargh! What do you do!?!
Kylie Purtell said…
We've been known to follow toddlers around the house with food in an attempt to get them to eat. Whoops.
Kylie Purtell said…
I have a three step process. 1st the toddler, 2nd the dog. 3rd the baby wipes (so I don't have to mop for a couple more days) You may think I am joking but there is an element of truth there haha
Kylie Purtell said…
Miss 2 will be wriggling around in bed after morning milkies and saying "Get up, Mummy! Go on the lamge! (lounge in toddler-speak) Time for coffee!" When I am installed on the lounge with coffe she says "Bennie smell?", sniffs my cups, proclaims it to be "coffee!", and the day commences. Getting food into her is easy- as long as it's "chippies"- she likes other things....sporadically!
Kylie Purtell said…
I used to think the same thing about just cutting the middle man out and letting them eat off the floor when Dyl was little. He's such a fussy eater now though, I miss my eat anything that's not tied down toddler!

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