Winning a little…losing a little…scratching our heads all the while


J likes spinach and Parmesan cheese.  J likes halibut.  J is on the fence about walnuts…he likes them better when they are chopped to the size of dust.  J is totally onboard when it comes to pesto.  J doesn’t complain if the chicken he eats has been marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and then baked.  J likes whole wheat naan bread.  J eats garbanzos and rice.  

J has a lot of gas.

There’s the losing.  There you have it.  J has a lot of gas as a result of all this new food he’s encountering all day long.  For an individual who, for the longest part, was the stuff of legends for not ever passing gas in public, J has now realized that sometimes it’s inevitable.  On the plus side, he hasn’t needed his probiotic all week.  So: winning a little.

J also has NOT asked for a timer on snacks in a few days, and he seems to be getting used to the sparse amount of “goodies” we offer him.  Either he is so hungry he will eat anything at this point, or he is humoring us while hatching a fantastic plan to overthrow our current way of managing meals.

I finished reading Mediterranean Diet for Dummies this morning, and am expecting delivery on another book on Tuesday.  This will give me a fairly good window of opportunity to try several things I read about over the weekend, and before our visit to the nutritionist.  I am encouraged by the fact that these are fairly easy adjustments to what we currently do, but I am also filled with trepidation about the more drastic changes.  One thing I know will give J pause is that these ingredients form a very different picture from the one he’s accustomed to seeing on his plate, but that’s something we can slowly introduce by having him help us with the preparation of meals.  Another thing is the wide variety of vegetables that he loves to look at when shopping, but hasn’t really wanted to taste when we bring them home.  At first, I’m guessing, we will have to disguise things in some flimsy way until he realizes he likes them, and then show him where they came from…

I am very excited about next year’s garden.  I see a wealth of possibilities ahead of us, and I think this will help J become even more involved in the process.  The idea of “from farm to table” might be significantly reduced by the space available to us, but I think we can make a fair go of making this a part of J’s involvement.  How truly Mediterranean we can be in our food choices and use remains to be seen, but we are all on the same page…we want to give it a go for J’s health above all.

Movement, exercise, physical activity form an important part of this transition, and we’ve decided to put J to the test.  Running is boring for him, so we’ve thrown in music, a slower pace and interjected random moves into the mix.  He seems to like this better…one of us has to keep the Wii remote in hand to set the pace (because J loves to see his Mii running on the screen and reaching the goal,) but the other can change the pace, add arm movements, knee bends, throw a soccer ball back and forth with J.    At this point the focus is not on speed as much as on developing habit, and that’s one thing that can be a problem where J is concerned; he LOVES routine, but is easily bored by it, and he likes to be the one who determines “what” routine actually is…

And that is how we arrive at Friday.  The weather is about to turn on us, and we are about to turn J’s diet a little farther away from his comfort zone.  His reward will come in the shape of our Christmas tree, a treat that -we are 100% sure- will make any experimental eating worth his while.  The day has been dreary and cold, and I’ve spent most of it researching recipes (avocados in chocolate cake!!!!) and trying to figure out a workable progression for introducing things.  As babies we were introduced to cereals one at a time to determine if we were allergic…rice, oats, wheat, barley…  I don’t know if this is how it’s still done, but that’s the way it was when TGG was a baby.  J was breastfeed and didn’t go through this…he basically went from breastfeeding to occasional snacks of arrowroot cookies, cheerios crushed into breast milk and made a mush of, and so forth.  Puerto Rican babies start eating actual rice as soon as possible and, I will admit with a bit of shame, no one sees (or, at least, saw when I was a young mother) any issues with throwing a bit of the sauce we stew our beans in into the bowl…for flavoring.

Now, the kid whose experience of cereal has been mainly Kellogg’s, Post, and General Mills is about to be introduced to the richly flavored varieties that do not include a toucan, a tiger, a leprechaun, or any such other animated creature to back up their nutrition claims.  We’re going basic, whole grains here…and then there’s the nuts, legumes (a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine, I might add,) and all the colorful vegetables one could possibly find…  There’s nothing to scoff at in this plan, but there’s plenty of trepidation involved because, well, it’s not The Routine, and J can be unpredictable in his positive AND negative responses…

I’ll let you know about the avocado in the chocolate cake…I seriously doubt this is a bad combination, but an experimental run is necessary.  What you don’t know won’t hurt you, right?  If we have to be underhanded and then make a big reveal, it works on TV shows, doesn’t it????  Truth can be stranger (and more unpredictable) than fiction, and let’s just hope that the surprises are -for the most part- of the pleasant variety…



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