Feeding a Toddler is One Big Game

July 15, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, THINGS MY KID DIGS

Okay, so maybe that title isn’t the most revelatory ever. But once in a blue moon I have a moment of true parental creativity. I want to savor those moments, as they are few and far between. So this is me savoring…

Like any average toddler, JJ is a picky eater. I don’t even know why you would qualify a toddler’s eating habits as “picky” โ€” it’s just understood. Sure, there’s the occasional hippie/hipster-type who’s little lamb has been vegan/organic/locally-fed from the womb. Don’t you just wanna slap those parents with a cold fish stick?

One of JJ’s favorite snacks are gummies. For a long time he ate only the Gerber ones, which seemed all fruit-filled and healthy. Then he got seduced by the Dark Side, and now joneses for Spider-Man, Batman, or <shudder> Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-flavored gummies. I can only imagine what manor of chemical imbalance is found in them. But I’ve all but convinced myself they’re still fruit-adjacent, and certainly better than soda, hard candy or Doritos. (Hands off, those are Daddy’s)

We were in Connecticut visiting family over the July 4th holiday, and I ran into a Whole Foods to look for the snooty dog food we forgot to bring (for the dog, just to be clear), and I saw these beauties at the register, looking very natural and juicy and non-turtle shaped:


Where in heaven can I find some more?!?

They were labeled with a small white sticker, “Juju Stars.” I snapped them up and then promptly forgot about them.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, and the nightly battle over dinner is in progress. Unless his afternoon snack is timed just right, JJ won’t be hungry at a normal dinner time. It might also have something to do with the tides or cicada migration or something. Who knows? Furthermore, we’re not only arguing that it’s time to eat, but also what to eat, how much to eat, and of course STAY. IN. YOUR. CHAIR.

Then I notice the Juju Stars sparkling on the counter in their little generic plastic cup. Bells, whistles and the Dora theme go off in my head…

“Hey buddy! Do you want to play a game?”

Miraculously, he stops whining.

“How about I give you one of these MAGIC DORA STARS* for every bite of food you eat? How many stars do you think you can win?!?” My voice was probably sounding a bit crazed at this point as I tried to amp up his excitement.

“YAY! I want to win FIVE!”

So the game began. And he ate a fish stick. Then another. Then his spinach patty. Then drank his fruit smoothie. “DUDE! You won ALL FIVE STARS!”

And yes (THANK GOD IN HEAVEN) he liked them.

The game has now been played (and won) for the last three feedings. Woohoo! Daddy wins, too!

But now we’re out of stars. And I Googled the hell out of them, and only found a couple of old photos from 2010. Looks like Daddy will be playing Find the Juju Stars all day tomorrow.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


*If you’ve watched much Dora the Explorer, you know there are occasional episodes that feature these annoying stars she has to collect on her adventures. Because the show wasn’t already enough like a video game. One morning JJ and I stumbled across this video on YouTube, while having “VIDEOS TIME!” on Daddy’s computer. It’s a video of a video game. So each time JJ begs to watch it, he tries to click on the big green PLAY button, and it pauses the video. DUDE. It’s not going to work. Let’s move on, PLEASE. How about I give you a gummy star?!?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


11 responses to “Feeding a Toddler is One Big Game”

  1. Laurie says:

    Or you can just make them yourself. See the link. Please know that any and all penis references are coincidently. This blogger is just funny as hell.


    • Brent Almond says:

      Thanks for the tip Laurie! Yeah, probably not gonna make the penis gummies… for JJ. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Laurie says:

    Dang autocorrect. Coincidental.

  3. Ustreetmike says:

    I swear the only food items I have seen that child eat are fish sticks and spinach patties!

    • Brent Almond says:

      He does eat a lot (okay a few) other things, but those are the most portable โ€” so the ones you see the most. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Oren says:

    Hey, fish and estrellas is a balanced meal!

  5. Nicole says:

    As someone who had to make sure every restaurant on vacation had a corn dog on the menu, I empathize. Weโ€™d be honored if you submitted a piece to Great Moments in Parenting, an open blog where moms and dads share the agony and ecstasy of life with kids. Weโ€™re happy to link back to your website. Hereโ€™s the link to submit: http://greatmomentsinparenting.com/log-in/. Thanks for considering it!

    • Brent Almond says:

      Mmmm… corn dogs. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you could relate. I think I did already submit this to your site, but will do it again just in case.
      Thanks for reading/commenting!

  6. Jack says:

    I think we will be trying this. Anytime I hear an expecting parent lament their future in diaper changing, I quickly inform them that they’ll be able to change diapers in the back of a Volkswagen with one hand behind their back within a week of having the baby. It’s the feeding them that sucks!

    From the early nursing and puking stage, to the sloppy smooshy baby food stage, the eat the same thing every single day toddler stage and on to the pleading preschooler stage (howabout just 2 more bites) its all misery.

    I’ll share this with the wife and see if we are go for testing. Thanks

    • Brent Almond says:

      LOL. I have a VW, and I’ve yet to change his diaper in the back seat. I’m sure I could tho.

      Tonight feeding consisted of convincing him he was a magician to make his food disappear. But then he’d get up and do a dance around the table as part of his act. For. Each. Damn. Bite. It was hilarious and exhausting.

      Let me know how the stars work.

Leave a Comment (watch your language)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.