troubles in toddlerhood


January 3, 2014 by Ellen V

I have a two-year-old.

Geesh, that’s crazy.

My little Jane is working through two things right now. One, I have little control over, but the other we’re trying make some progress on.

The first? Some sleep trouble. Jane is such a great sleep. Actually, I feel a little guilty even complaining. She typically sleeps 11-12 hours at night, plus another 2.5-3.5 hours during the day. But at daycare? She’s been fighting it all together. She comes home exhausted, so her 11-12 hour nights turn into 13-14 and we barely see her. We love her daycare and know her caregivers are working through this with her. The frustrating thing is not that anyone is doing anything wrong, but that there’s nothing I can do but stand by and watch them figure it out without me! Our fingers are crossed that Jane will settle in soon.

The second issue is a little more within our control–some typical, but frustrating, toddler pickiness. I had such grand ideas during my pregnancy of the kind of child we would raise. We would have a good little girl exposed to tons of healthy and interesting foods. She would know how to politely try new foods and be open to healthy options. So far, this has been an epic failure. It seems like Jane rejects another formerly beloved food every day. I hate our mealtime battles, and I totally despise eating with her outside our home. The less familiar the environment, the less likely she is to eat even a food she’d normally eat otherwise. And vegetables? meat? forget it. Fruit, cheese and bread are typically okay, but not too much else.

So while we can’t do too much about the sleep, I’m still working on the food. I offer her new or disliked food (like veggies!) along side stuff she loves (rice, mac and cheese, blueberries). I sneak things in to make sure she gets what she needs (spinach in smoothies, beans in quesadillas). I offer lots of praise for even a small bite of something new, and I try to largely ignore (rather than constantly persuade) her mealtime habits. I’m happy to report a little progress: I am seeing more milk drinking now that we switched from whole milk to 2%, her appetite has improved even if her range of food choices hasn’t, and I snuck a peak of her trying a piece of chicken (gasp!) the other day.

Welcome to two-year-old land, I suppose.


2 thoughts on “troubles in toddlerhood

  1. Hi, first of all, many people can relate to what you’re gong through, which doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but at least you know you’re not alone! In terms of the no sleep at day-care, how long has she been attending? Sometimes it takes them a couple of weeks to adjust. Also, you should definitely feel comfortable talking with her caregivers about what exactly they do right before nap time. Does she nap at a different time there than she does or had at home? If you’re splitting days between daycare and at home, try your best to make the two pre-nap events and times as similar as can be. If there is something in particular your child likes for you to do at nap time (i.e. rub back, hum, etc.) it’s perfectly fine for you to ask them to do this.

    In terms of food, have you tried giving her veggies, meat (the things she doesn’t like) along and prior to the foods she does like? I’ve found coursing meals out helps them to try new foods. Another thing is when giving her new foods like kale for example, give her this 3 or 4 days in a row, this tactic works incredibly well, especially if prepared differently each time. It gives kids a chance to try and become accustom to the new tastes, textures and flavors. I wrote a post about both sleep and eating on my blog, if you care to read more.

    • Ellen V says:

      Thanks so much for your response! We’re working hard at all the things you mentioned, actually, with the exception of presenting her with the same food several days in a row. Great idea! We’ll give it a try! Hoping our hard work will pay off soon!

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