I don’t know if I’ve whined about it lately, but Riley’s eating habits have been crazymakingly sparse. He won’t try this, he won’t eat that, he’s pickypickypicky and seems to survive for days on end by nibbling on cheese goldfish and sipping juice.

We’ve had countless fights, sitting at the table arguing about why he won’t eat more of his goddamned sandwich or at least TRY a bite of [something I made just for his ungrateful ass], and I kept telling myself to stop caring, to stop butting heads, that he wasn’t going to starve and if he did, well, it would be HIS OWN STUPID FAULT.

It really has been a challenge, though, even if I try and Let It Go and Zen Out About the Whole Food Thing, but I have stumbled onto something that is actually working, and I am sharing it with you in case you have an irritatingly picky eater of your own: I don’t have him sit at a table to eat. I put his food somewhere he can access it, and let it be, and holy wow I can’t believe how much more he’s eating. Instead of bitching about how he wants to get DOWWWWN, leaving 3/4 of his meal to rot, he just grazes and goes, grazes and goes. Tonight he ate a corndog, half a turkey sandwich, a bunch of grapes, and some cheese — all over the course of about an hour as he ran inside from the backyard for a bite, then took off again.

SHRUG. I don’t know, man, I’m living in the Whatever Works camp. Maybe someday he’ll eat at the table again like a civilized human, but for now, dine-and-dash seems good enough to me.




I’ve been wondering if it’s just my imagination that Dylan seems so much more grinny than Riley did, and I went back and looked at baby photos taken years ago — nope, it’s definitely true that Riley was mostly suspicious, while Dylan is mostly, well, entertained. God, he’s a happy kid right now, and since my older boy is so often treating me like pond scum, it’s an awfully nice thing. I can almost see how people keep having more children, except I’m reminded of that Ogden Nash poem:

The trouble with a kitten is
Eventually it becomes a


See? Happy-go-lucky baby, all the time. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. ON MY FACE.


One of the really nice and maybe-amazing things about the kids’ daycare is that there’s not much turnover in the folks working there. The lady who rocks, feeds, and plays with Dylan on the days he goes in is the very same woman who rocked, fed, and played with Riley when he was a baby. We sort of love her, as you might guess.

There are some teachers I don’t know as well as others, and I can’t put a face to the name behind the lovely woman who sent home these hand-made cards recently:


They read: I will miss you. I love you. And a psalm, an ode to children, written in Spanish and then translated.

I really, really wish more of our money went directly into these people’s pockets, instead of the corporation that runs the center. These teachers make all the difference. There’s a reason Riley happily yells “SCHOOOOOOL!” as we drive up, and Dylan goes wriggling with joy into the arms of the folks who work there, and it has everything to do with the amazing people that surely are getting a crap paycheck, despite the astronomical monthly fees.


I don’t know if you saw Dooce’s recent high praise for the Furminator, but I pretty much clicked over to Amazon as soon as I read her entry, because DEAR GOD THE FUR. SAVE ME FROM THE FUR. It arrived today and I took it for a test brush on Cat, and holy shitballs, you guys:


That was after brushing her for maybe five seconds, after which she gave off sparks and seemed about a thousand times glossier than before. I can’t wait to try this thing out on Dog, who is to blame for the forty inches of pet-detritus on my floors at all times.


Speaking of Amazon, have I ever gotten some mileage out of this box lately. Screw Toys R Us, all you really need to make a kid happy is a cardboard box. And apparently a length of severed sprinkler tubing.



Lastly, the boys.


These guys. Jesus, these guys kill me.


PS: I put together this video recently for the good people at 3-A-Day, it was a fun project and you should take a look — if only to mock your favorite bloggers for waxing poetic about cheese.


77 Responses to “Randomly, lately”

  1. Jennifer on August 14th, 2008 9:26 am

    I love this post! It’s a whole potpourri of tidbits and I can relate in some way to all of them.

    And now, similarly to when everyone rushed out to buy TurboJam thanks to your buff bod, we’re all rushing out to buy Furminators thanks to that handful of cat fur! (And I wish you hadn’t said “Sperminator”… now I also have that stuck in my head.)

  2. Amy on August 14th, 2008 11:23 am

    Boxes rock! The diaper boxes used to become trains for the older one, now both use them as forts, trains, secret hiding places. Kinda makes the home front look crazy, but hey, cheap fun works for me.

    FURMINATOR??? I am so going to buy that. Two dogs, one cat………pet hair everywhere! Sperminator….might be a good christmas present for JB. Maybe you’ll have to invent a BJ alternative! tee hee…I would buy it.

    And lastly, YOUR KIDS ARE FRICKIN’ ADORABLE! Dylan’s smiles crack me up. And I’m completely biased because I have two of the cutest boys ever to grace the face of the planet.

  3. SleepyNita on August 14th, 2008 11:37 am

    My son eat just OK at meals but is a total food grazer all day. What has worked for us is using a muffin tin tray (you can even get the cheap silicone ones at the dollar store that have room for 6 muffins) and filling each hole with a different food. This morning it was goldfish, raspberries, cucumbers, ranch dressing, carrots and cheese slices. He munched happily on healthy things all morning. I also sometimes put a couple candies or a small chunk of chocolate for a treat in one tin.

    Also, I keep a second tray of stuff ready to go covered in the fridge for when the munchies or the “I DON’T LIKE THAT DINNER” time hits.

    I think there may even be a flicker group called muffin tin monday or something like that – if you want to check it out….

  4. georgia on August 14th, 2008 12:27 pm

    I gotta try that fur thing. Just the other day, while walking upstairs, I yelled to my roommate “why is our staircase furry???!”. Argh.

  5. deannagabriel on August 14th, 2008 12:34 pm

    i know ive mentioned before on here that although i dont have kids, i consider myself somewhat of a “resource” as ive been a pediatric nurse for 5+ years and am currently in grad school to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. while “book work” doesnt count for EVERYTHING, i still think it should count for something and ive seen a wide variety of kids in a wide variety of settings.

    riley and dylan both look to be happy, well cared for, healthy, appropriately developing toddlers/infants. its a true joy for me to see and read on your website almost daily [especially since i spend much of my time dealing with acutely, life-threateningly ill children].

    if riley is getting an adequate amount of calories from a variety of healthy sources [fruits, veggies, protein, dairy, etc] it really doest matter what hes doing to get them. as long as his growth and development are on target, i say go with it. maybe he just doesnt need that kind of structure at this point in his development. some kids also do really well when they get an appropriately child sized chair, table, utensils etc to eat their meals. maybe in a year or two, when school starts to come into the picture, hell do better with siting down to a more “structured meal.” how does he do in the daycare setting with his meals there? they should be especially attuned to any potential “red flags.” but bottom line, if hes growing and developing on target, go with whatever works.

    sorry got off on a bit of a tangent there. i love pediatrics.

    also, my sister has a mutt of a pup [beagle-lab-something sorta mix…were not sure] with crazy wiry hair and she SWEARS by the furminator.

  6. Josh on August 14th, 2008 1:43 pm

    Hey man, cardboard boxes are the shit. You can bet your ass I will save each and every one I come across when I have kids. I still remember playing in them when I was little. So much fun.

    Also, you are a fuckin genius with the whole chomp and romp feeding trick. I am not very often legitimately impressed with parenting tips, mostly because I’m not a parent and therefore don’t care, but that was GD crafty. And since I’m in the business of kissing ass, apparently, I just thought I would speak for the clearly under-represented male segment of the population and say that not only are you way cooler than most mommy bloggers, but according to that video, you are also way hotter. I guess that exercise thing with the creepy black fitness nazi that JB said looked like he wanted to bang his daughter must be working.

    And what was with the one lonesome dude up in the blog her convention? I would assume from the name it was for chicks. Is he like the gay guy women let in the dressing room or something? What gives? I mean, I’m not saying anybody was gay or anything, but he did throw out some fancy ass French sounding words when cheddar would have sufficed. And where the frick were you huh? How come little miss 3-A-Day didn’t ask you your opinions on dairy products? Like do you think zombies would eat cheese if it were made from human breast milk? Or, what kind of cheese, if any, would best help fix the bubble guts? Or, if they have chocolate milk how come they don’t have chocolate cheese? Dang, I need to write my own blog about this shit. I had no idea I had so many legit questions.

  7. zdoodlebub on August 14th, 2008 3:01 pm

    I’m happy to say that neither you nor Dooce convinced me to buy a Furminator, because I already owned that miracle of pet grooming before reading either post.


    I now own two tubes of Revlon Shiny Sheer lipstick and one Jillian Michael’s work out DVD.

  8. zdoodlebub on August 14th, 2008 3:02 pm


    Forgot to say that not only do I now own the above-mentioned products, but also LOVE them.

    So. Thanks!

  9. Celtickat on August 14th, 2008 4:08 pm

    I LOVE the furminator. Got one for my three cats. One used to hate to be brushed. Now I just hold it up so he can see it and . . . heeeeeeeer’s Tommy! The amount of fur we get off is unbelievable! Really, you should be able to spin it and knit/crochet with it. By rights, our cats should be stark-freakin’-naked by now! Also, since they aren’t getting all that fur in their stomachs when they groom, there is greatly reduced cat-vomiting, which is a wonderful side bonus.

  10. CL on August 14th, 2008 4:13 pm

    Comment on your piffle: I am always using the phrase “what is your malfunction?” with my 18 month old. Nothing makes the kid happy. He is lucky he is so darn cute or I would return him. :)

    (I am kidding, I love my son very much and would never return him to baby world!)

  11. squandra on August 14th, 2008 6:37 pm

    Speaking of random … I just figured out who J_Bravo is. I didn’t know you unwittingly lived two doors down from one another; so cool!

  12. bea on August 14th, 2008 7:50 pm

    I hear ya about the food thing. Some days T will eat with us at the table, other days we call it “Buffet Style” and let him eat wherever he wants. So less stressful. I like living in the Whatever Works camp too!

  13. Eric's Mommy on August 15th, 2008 5:14 am

    I’ll have to try the Furminator, one of my dogs weighs in at 192 pounds and he sheds a lot!

    My son didn’t start to really eat until about a year ago, he is 6 now. The grazing thing worked pretty well for him too when he was younger. Now he eats us out of house and home.

  14. Erin on August 15th, 2008 5:44 am

    Thank you for this! I was debating last night whether to just SKIP the whole “you must sit down to dinner” fight with my 2.5 year old. I think I will try your approach, if only to bring a little more peace into the house. I am F–ING TIRED of fighting that fight.

    Also, my second is way more laid back and happy-go-lucky than my first, too. I keep wondering the same thing. Now #2 is 13 months old and still so much EASIER. His name is Emmett, so maybe it’s in the name?

  15. Heather J. on August 15th, 2008 7:41 am

    When I read about your toddler’s eating “technique” I had to laugh. I have an eleven-month old that FINALLY takes a bottle, but only standing up, or in her stroller, or next to the coffee table. She won’t be held, and she sure as shit won’t hold it herself. (We have tried, and we just get this, “you don’t really expect ME to do the work do you?”) I have a feeling that when she is a toddler we will be putting sandwiches, snacks, and drinks all throughout the house–and we can make a little game out of who will get the food first, her or the two weiner dogs we have!

  16. kristylynne on August 15th, 2008 8:41 am

    Thanks for the snack-and-run tip. I’ll try it. Several months ago my boy suddenly started refusing everything but peanut butter and jelly and the occassional hot dog. I too have tried to remain zen, but end up giving him cookies whenever he asks just because he needs to eat something already. And thus begins my descent down the slippery slope.

  17. Undomestic Diva on August 15th, 2008 9:14 am

    We have the same kids plates. Yay Target!

    While I’m not usually one to let my kids decide when & where they’ll eat, I’m pretty much at the same place you are and am thinking I ought to give it a try. My 5 year old would rather do just about ANYTHING than waste his precious time eating.

  18. No cheese. « Because OF COURSE. on August 15th, 2008 12:52 pm

    […] Today I decided to take Linda’s advice and let Ethan eat in the living room while he played.  Another big hurdle we’re trying to get over is the fact that E wants to get down from the table exactly 3 minutes after being served his food, so I thought I would give the “eat-n-go” method a try.  I fixed a plate of almonds, crackers, and cheddar cheese and set it on the coffee table in front of where he was playing.  He dramatically recoiled in disgust when he noticed the four thin slices of cheese atop his beloved club crackers.  I decided to try and bargain with him, tearing the tiniest morsel of cheese from a corner of one of the slices, and telling him that he would only have to try that one bite before deciding he didn’t want to eat the rest.  “Be a big boy!” I coaxed.  “Remember when you tried that rice with Aunt Emily?  And the time you ate an egg on toast with Daddy?” I recalled, thinking back to the time that he ate one tiny spoonful of buttered rice and gagged uncontrollably, or the ONE time we convinced him to try some of Drew’s fried egg on half a slice of whole-wheat toast, which he somehow managed to gag down one bite of, eyes watering, face flushed, Fear Factor-style.  […]

  19. Leigh on August 15th, 2008 3:45 pm

    Take heart. The food battle was one I decided (when I was pregnant) that I would never have. I never made him eat anything, but I always presented him with pretty good, healthy food. I remember his monochrome phase: only orange food; canned mandarin oranges (kids love these), mac and cheese, and goldfish. The most fun part was watching my mother twitch. I figured as long as he was growing ok, he was fine. He was never sick, either.

    Now I have a 14 year old I can barely afford, he eats so much. It really will be ok. I always suspect that when they see it stresses you out (especially at those power weilding ages like 3 and 6), they’ll starve for the pleasure of making mom nuts. DOn’t sweat it. He will start eating at some point. Oh and boys? They can’t sit at the table until they’re about 8.

  20. Lauren on August 15th, 2008 4:12 pm

    How do you keep Dog from snacking off the plate? Our two Goldens would have that plate cleaned off in half a second.
    I will have to try the Furminator, since you could knit a new dog from the tumblefurs drifting about. My inner cheapskate always freaked over the price, but if it works…
    Have you read “Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense” by Ellyn Satter? Great resource, very down to earth.

  21. christen on August 16th, 2008 11:25 am

    Do you ever wonder if firstborn kids are more suspicious/challenging because first time parents are so much more stressed and obsessive about every little thing with them? It seems like that could make sense. Mom and dad are sooooo worried about every time the kid takes a poo and every ounce of formula he gets that it just makes the kid a little more… I want to say tense but that’s not the right word. Nor is high-strung or difficult… because that’s not it. But the parents are so much more relaxed with the second, I can see that affecting the second baby’s personality greatly.

    Does that even remotely make any sort of sense at all?

  22. nicola on August 17th, 2008 9:26 am

    I’m potty training at the moment and i use the term lightly cos she wees standing up with her legs apart and ONLY outside, (and we live in London so it’s sometimes hard to find a patch of grass) She won’t use the potty or toilet and refuses to do a poo at all but waits till we put her nappy on at night to do one…..but i know she’ll get there in the end. x

  23. Alyson on August 17th, 2008 11:44 am

    I didn’t have a picky eater until kid #3, and there are times when I could almost KILL him! But he is the one who is most receptive to nutritional information given him in a school setting (health segments in class, etc.). So he is coming around, slowly…..very slowly. Continue being Zen about it. Things will get better eventually.

  24. T on August 17th, 2008 7:53 pm

    so what size Furminator did you use on Cat? i saw the medium one on Amazon was on sale but didn’t know if it was too big…

  25. baratch on August 17th, 2008 9:17 pm

    Hello.This is first time for me to visit your site.
    Your boys are so lovely.
    I have three children (6year-old boy,4year-old boy,2year-old girl)and a cat.
    I use furminator to my cat. It’s great.

    I’m happy if you link to my site.It is written in Japanese(some of the words are English) but show pictures.

  26. John on October 2nd, 2008 11:12 pm

    Its a great post and useful also because today everybody want to buy shopping goods online.
    Thanks for such an helpful post.

  27. pedipaws on December 19th, 2008 4:01 pm

    Nice post, keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply