Posted by: learningwoman | January 22, 2008

S. has fed his tamagotchi to death

S. got a Tamagotchi for his birthday in October. For those of you who don’t know what one is, it’s a computerised, virtual baby, about the size of a small apple, with a little screen.

The idea is that when the egg on the screen hatches and turns into a strange looking computer-baby, it needs to be fed, cleaned up after, given medicine when sick, played with, taken to school etc… You can also, with a pin number, take it to a virtual world on your pc and then bring back any treasures you find or earn while you’re there.

It’s a clever piece of technology and at £12.95 doesn’t break the bank. It’s a bit of a fad at S’s school and he was desperate to have one. Being the meanie that I am sometimes, I made him wait until his birthday and when he opened it, he was so happy and excited!

So, the egg hatched, he did everything he needed to and while he was at school, I looked after it for him. No small feat, it needs care every half hour or so and I already have a real baby to look after.

It was kind of fun, a bit of a shared project and we exclaimed when a new egg came and when it evolved into its next incarnation etc…

Until one day, about twenty days after we’d begun, S. discovered that instead of having to play with his baby to make it happy, he could just feed it ice-cream and cake until the happiness points went up. Less work he thought but pretty soon, the virtual baby died, obese and ill.

It was sad for him but it provided us with the opportunity to talk about how our bodies work and what they need to be healthy and strong. It was a good conversation, with plenty of questions and thoughtful observations.

It’s winter here and, coming from a hot part of Australia, my instinct when it’s so cold is to huddle in and wait until the weather warms up, while eating stodgy comfort food.

If it was just me, I might do just that but every year I have to push myself to get the kids outside and active every day and find new ways to get them to eat the veges thay’ve suddenly taken a dislike to. Luckily they love fruit, so getting some vitamins into them isn’t as difficult as it could be.

My latest solution re: vegetables, is to steam an enormous pot of whatever vegetables I have to hand; parsnips, sweet potato, green beans, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, capsicum, zucchini, carrots etc…, puree them, bag them up into portions and then use them as the base for pasta dishes, gravies etc.  

They never even know the difference and I feel so much better knowing they’re eating well. Then for dessert I give them plain yoghurt with fruit and maple syrup, which they love.

Before I had kids, cooking was, for me, a pure and unadulterated pleasure. From the shopping, which I found to be therapeutic in the extreme, to the preparation and handling of the different textures, flavours and presentation. It was one of my favourite things to do.

I look forward to a time when it is again 🙂

What do you feed your kids? How do you feel about the need to provide nutritious food three times a day, without fail? What’s your fallback food for when you’re too tired or just can’t be bothered? Any motherly advice to give me?

I’m interested and I’d be grateful for your input. It takes a village……. 🙂

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Responses

  1. I’m not sure I have any motherly advice to offer. Truthfully, my cooking skills have gone to hell in a handbasket lately. Seriously. When I can produce a tasty meal, I am ecstatic. Mostly everything is a disappointment lately.

    That said, I’m lucky with my older girl and her eating. She loves broccoli, peas, carrots, salads. And fruit. And chicken. So she eats well. She also loves french fries, Ritz and popsicles. So she eats crappy too. I don’t worry about three perfect meals a day. So long as she gets a good breakfast and either a good lunch or dinner, I feel that I’ve done my job. And she can’t snack on crap unless she’s had some veggies first. But she loves veggies so it’s not a battle.

    With my #2 girl, well, we’re still finding our way. She doesn’t like fruit. And she’ll eat veggies if they are pureed. I like what you do above. She does like oatmeal and chicken and yogurt and cheese. And Cheerios. Oh, never forget the Cheerios.

    Not helpful, but that’s how we do things here. 🙂

  2. No children but I have failed to care for myself in this manner and am trying to figure out how with the hours I work and all, I can eat better.

    I will always be in pain, that is the nature of my illness, but I could deal with it better if I ate better, but to eat better I have to spend the time shopping, preparing and cooking and I am so tired at the end of the day but I am so tired I go for the easy options.

    I did not like most vegetables as a child but I have found as an adult that there are veg I like now – sometimes all it is not eating them raw vs cooked.

    I think what you are doing is ingenious. When I was a child, many a battle was waged over trying to force me eat green beans or asparagus. It sounds silly – but it was kind of traumatic and it crystalized my hatred for vegs.

    The way you are doing it avoids all that so when they are through this phase, they will be so much more willing to try things.

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful words Fallenangel. I appreciate them. 🙂

  4. Thanks Goodfountain. It IS helpful to know that we’re all just doing the best we can at the time. Sounds like you’re doing a great job 🙂

  5. For me, it’s all about picking one’s battles and deciding on priorities. My older daughter, now 7, was a *terribly* picky eater from about 18 months to 3 1/2. Before then, she was wonderful and adventurous and would eat anything. Then we moved, and she and I lived alone for a month while my husband finished a job in the other town, and I got lazy. I let both of us eat processed foods and sandwiches and so on, because I felt badly about uprooting her and it was just easier, what with the unpacking and everything.

    By the time my husband moved up with us, she had dug in her heels and become a confirmed Picky Eater. We referred to it as the Beige Diet – she would eat bread, peanut butter, bananas, corn, chocolate milk, pasta with butter… you get the idea. It made me crazy, and it became a choice of having huge struggles at every mealtime or accepting an imperfect diet. So I talked to her pediatrician, who gave me the smug first-time-parent look and assured me that kids are actually better at survival than we give them credit for. Provide a variety of healthy choices, don’t keep candy or cookies in the house unless you’re willing to let your kids eat them, and keep offering new things – sometimes it takes many exposures for them to finally accept it.

    It was a long an uphill battle, because even when I decided not to fight with her, she fought anyway. She was a vegetarian until she was 3 1/2. Then, we stumbled upon the time-honored tradition of bribery. Up to this point, she’d refused to eat spaghetti sauce which, as you know, is a fabulous disguise for any number of vegetables and meats. So we took her to Chuck E Cheese (indoor playplace-slash-torture chamber), sat her in the inner seat of the booth, and explained that just as soon as she was done with her pizza, she could go play. *Bang* it was gone just like that, and from there on out we could remind her, “But you liked it at Chuck E Cheese,” and she’d eat pizza.

    Each new food was a challenge, some were failures, but we got there.

    Man, this is long, and I’m not done yet. Sorry!

    To me, the bigger issue is not nutrition, because there are lots of ways you can sneak nutrition into kids (and adults) in unoffensive ways – using Carnation instant breakfast to make chocolate milk, adding wheat germ to cereals, et cetera, et cetera. For me, the big issue was about politeness and meeting expectations at the table. I don’t expect my kids to have perfect manners, nor do I expect them to love every item they ever encounter at the dinner table. I do expect them to be reasonably polite, to try new things, and to decline more with a good attitude.

    So the rule at our house now is, everyone has to try one bite of every food that is served. I avoid purchasing preprocessed stuff, because then I can’t, in desperation, cook it. I plan out meals and make sure each has a meat/protein, a vegetable and a starch. They’re allowed to consider themselves “done” when they’ve tried one bite of everything, and if they don’t like how it tastes, they’ve learned to say, “No, thank you,” instead of whatever other options they might indulge in. If they’re still hungry, they’re allowed some (whole wheat) bread and butter to fill them up, but dessert is only earned if they eat reasonable portions of each item at dinner. Oh, and they serve themselves, so they determine what “reasonable” is.

    It works well for us. I don’t obsess over proper nutrition on a daily basis because I’m of the mindset that what matters more is, say, the month in review, not any individual day. If one day is Vegetable Day and another is Meat Day, then it all balances out.

    How’s THAT for way too much information?? This used to be an enormous source of stress and angst in my house, so I tend to go on and on about it now because I’m just so relieved that dinnertimes are actually enjoyable.

  6. 🙂 Thanks Kate! lol That was great! Not too much information at all but very informative and useful. Glad mealtimes have calmed down in your house! S. and Z. eat really well usually and S. will try new things. Sometimes I get discouraged, especially when it’s cold outside and dark but this too shall pass….:-)

  7. This starts out as a cool blog post about Tamagotchi’s…

    Then it turns into a “LET’S EAT HALFII~~~!!” propaganda.

    Blog.

    I am disappoint.


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