I've got a nice little system going here.
In the middle of getting Michaela ready for school in the weeee hours of the morning (read: 6:30), I get Noah out of bed so he can start his classes. He, in turn, will get Gabe out of bed for me when he decides to wake up just minutes after I get Michaela on the bus and slip my last cold foot back into bed.
For some reason, Gabe is some kind of weird freak of nature around here. He's the only one of my kids that doesn't like to sleep in. Well, Michaela doesn't like to either, but she can be cajoled back to bed and Gabe can't. It really stinks that he's like this, because I'm somewhat of a night owl and I don't mind getting 8 hours of sleep. Gabe, on the other hand, requires the least amount of sleep of ANYONE in the house. Like I said, he's a freak of nature.
Soooo. The reason I said all that was because Noah is so nice to get him out of bed for me in the morning so I can catch a few zzzz's before starting the day (again). BUT, in order to keep Gabe civil and quiet so the REST of us can sleep, he has to put him in his highchair and get him some breakfast. Which, should really be no big deal.
Yet it IS a big deal. I'm not sure why, but Gabriel is NOT easy to please. First off, he's not patient. He will fuss a blue streak until you get him his sippy cup. That's IF you figure OUT that he wants that. Noah will try to just get him some dry cereal, but Gabe will start fussing about it. So we try the cup, but that just makes him louder until you actually get the thing in his hands. But the peace doesn't always last long after that.
And I just figured out why: Gabe doesn't LIKE dry cereal.
He doesn't particularly like wet cereal either. Well, let me back up here. Gabe would LOVE the sugary cereals that I let the older kids eat (wet or dry), but I just can't bring myself to let him eat that on any sort of regular basis. Not that it's the best for the other kids either, but for the one-year-old? I can't bring myself to do it. So we try to stick to Cheerios or Kix the majority of the time.
The Kix died a hard death pretty quickly. He just wouldn't eat it anywhere near long term.
Now, the Cheerios are a "nay." I think Cooper's eaten more of those than Gabe has.
This whole "no eating cereal" thing has made for one seriously fussy child for the rest of the morning. I mean, he LIVES for lunch. And I must be losing it because I JUST figured this out recently. I mean, for MONTHS I thought that he was just disagreeable or teething.
He was HUNGRY.
Sigh. But being the mother of six that I am, it is not in my nature to make different meals for different kids. If I make oatmeal for breakfast, we all eat oatmeal whether someone wants it or not. If I make eggs and toast, same rule applies. But if I sleep in, then the kids can choose which cereal they want and get it for themselves (ahhh, independence---how sweet is thy name!). So, if Gabe doesn't want to eat cereal on a cereal day, then my first reaction is "tough toenails toots."
"Awww, Kelly! He's a baby....."
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. I can't let just let him starve because he's picky.....
But if he were TWO....now....that would be a different story!
So this not eating breakfast thing is a definite problem. And that's when my wheels started turning. Because, you see, Gabe WILL eat plenty of things. He likes finger foods of many different varieties. He especially likes the fruit snacks that the older kids get.
But that's not decent breakfast food.
Think think think......
What IS decent breakfast food? I mean, what defines breakfast? As a culture, we Americans will eat lots of different things for breakfast: grains, beans, meat, vegetables (you know, in an omelet), of course fruit and dairy, and even cold pizza. But what's the best for a baby? For a little kid?
Not to mention, what's easiest for ME? (or Noah, heh heh)
And this is what I came up with: whatever it is, it should really touch on each of the food groups. You know, the pyramid thing? Grain, meat and beans, dairy, fruit and veggies, and only a smattering of fats.
Ok, think think think.....
For toddlers, grains and fruits are pretty easy to figure out. You could just use raisins and Cheerios. But my kid doesn't LIKE Cheerios. So we'll start with raisins. OK, one down, 4 to go.
Then for dairy, I thought of yogurt. They make yogurt in a finger food version these days: Yogos. But Yogos have the equivalent of candy in the middle, so that was out. But they STILL make yogurt covered raisins.....BINGO! That knocks out two items, all rolled into one!
Ok, now for the meat department. Gabe would gnaw on a beef stick if I gave it to him, but that just seemed kinda nasty for breakfast. So I thought about beans.....hmmmm.....the only beans I could come up with would need to be cooked. But we're looking for finger food here, and baked beans don't fit into that. So, I decided to turn to nuts, and everybody knows what a kid's favorite nut is: peanuts. Peanut butter! Hmmm...finger food? Well.....
How about peanut butter crackers? That would not only take care of the protein department, but ALSO the grain department. Home run! Ritz makes those little peanut butter crackers that are just right for little hands.
That just leaves vegetables. Veggies aren't the easiest to get into a kid's gullet by far, but food makers are getting pretty creative at it these days. One thing I gave Gabe a lot when he was much smaller was the fruit and veggie puffs that Gerber puts out. I looked at the label, and they actually put dried vegetables in these things. Hey, dried, cooked, smashed, it doesn't matter to me! As long as he can eat them by himself, we're good.
So, that just left fats, and I think those get into processed foods by default so I didn't worry about it.
In the end, what I had put together was this:
-Yogurt covered raisins. Dairy and fruit.
-Sweet potato finger puffs. Veggie and grain.
-Ritz bitz peanut butter crackers. Meat (protein) and grain. (And probably some oil too)
I took portions of each and dumped them into a gallon sized Ziplock bag, shook them up and voila! Gabe Food!
Affectionately known as "Gabe's Morning Mix."
And would you believe it? The kid LOVES the stuff. I mean, full-fledged is gonna make himself puke he eats so much. Add a sippy cup of whole milk or 100% juice, and he's turned from a Grizzly Bear in the morning to a Peaceful Doe.
And a quiet one at that. Ahhhhh......sweet sleep at last!
(Oh, and I guess it's good that the baby is eating again. Yeah, that's probably a good thing.)