“I don wan it.” — Evie Langston

If you’re like Evie and me, you’ve noticed that the days are getting warmer, the cherry blossoms are blooming and Spring is upon us.  We’ve finally thrown off the cold, heavy blanket of winter to bound onto the green grass under the blue sky and the golden sun.  And, of course, to blow bubbles and kick Disney Princess balls in the yard.

But all is not white wine spritzers and pink plastic motorcycles.  Something looms on the horizon.  That’s right, my friends:  Now come the days of the bathing suit.  Yay.

Yes, most unfortunately, all that jiggles will soon rise, unshaven and spider veined, shuddering and quivering, to the surface and expose itself once again to the harsh light of summer days. 

As you can see, I’m looking forward to our beach trip.  I’d be more excited if I’d gotten that thigh transplant I asked Santa for, but whatevs.

So, another Spring finds me counting calories, limiting alcohol and sweets and writing “EXERCISE!!!” every week in my dayplanner and then walking right past the dusty ol’ elliptical and straight to the couch to watch reruns of thirtysomething.

Speaking of dieting, did you know Evie is watching her weight right along with me?  No, you say?  Impossible, you say?  Okay, well, below is a list of the foods Evie will consistently eat:

1. Nothing.

That’s right.  I used to be able to count on her to gobble down a bowl of her beloved spaghetti.  Or at least half a waffle.  Or one or two chicken “nunnets”.  But the other day she ate half an Oreo and handed it back to me, declaring “I done.”  I dutifully went to throw the other half away and almost tripped over my own jaw.

My baby girl doesn’t eat.  She picks.  She fiddles.  She grazes and half-heartedly snacks.  And I worry.  And fret.  And become a cliché, hovering over my toddler and five different plates of food, clutching a spoon of mashed potatoes in one hand and my string of pearls in the other, begging my child to “Come on, honey!  Eat for Mommy!  Please?”

I asked the Internet what to do.  The Internet said to look at what Evie eats as a whole.  Some days she may eat a pancake, a container of yogurt and a piece of toast for breakfast and some days she may eat exactly one Cheerio.  At the end of the week, it all evens out.  Also, at Evie’s age she’s not growing a lot, so she’s not eating as much.   So, I’ve taken this into account and  looked at Evie’s eating as a whole.  And it’s not too bad.   I decided to worry endlessly about it anyway.

See, I fear I’m doing penance for all those Pediasure commercials I made fun of back in the day.  You know the ones.  The whiney toddler who doesn’t like milk or broccoli or chicken or…food, quite honestly… happily drinks a strawberry-flavored nutritional replacement beverage, and grins up at his khaki-pantsed mother who ruffles his hair and smiles contentedly.  I always scoffed at these commercials, vowing that my kids would eat what was put in front of them if they knew what was good for them.  Of course, I also planned to spank my kids, and, well, to never have kids, actually.  You see how that worked out.

So, now, I’m suffering for being my big-mouthed, know-it-all self.  I tried adopting the “she’ll eat if she’s hungry” approach, but then I realized that 1) Evie is not a dog and 2) how long should I let her go without eating?  What if I miss an opportunity to get some calories in her?  Should I just let her have the damn cookie she’s been yammering about all night instead of eating the lovely chicken soup I made for her?  Oy.  That’s it.  We’re going back to the days when I measured Evie’s food into a bottle, she drank it, and that was that.  This “solid food” crap is overrated. 

(Incidentally, what does that sound like?  Pediasure.  That’s what that sounds like.)

The sad thing  is, I was starting to become one those cool, hip, laid back and go-with-the-flow moms of legend.  You know, the moms who take things in stride and indulge their kids’ quirks in order to encourage their creativity and individuality.  In fact, this weekend I felt very cool-mom about letting Evie take a nap in her new shoes surrounded by her new Dora the Explorer sippy cups that she’d lined up like soldiers on the edge of her crib.  

I said to myself, “Self, you are a relaxed, chill, laid back mom.  Good for you.”

One thing you should know about parenting:  Never congratulate yourself.  After Evie woke up from that nap all she ate for the rest of the evening was some Goldfish and three bites of pizza.  I said to myself, “Self, in your effort not to make an issue out of food and scar your child permanently, you have caused her to become malnourished and underdeveloped.”

The next morning Evie ate an entire container of yogurt, some cereal and drained a sippy of milk.  Then she asked for a cookie.

And I thought to myself, “I done.”

I stand corrected:  Cupcakes are on the list.