Ahhh, so this is what you all were talking about

Mom post here. I’ve got a lot to say and that usually makes for a good post so here goes.

There are new struggles that come with raising a toddler. Many of which I rolled my eyes at as a childless young adult. From competitive preschools to screen time and diet, you all of sudden find yourself in a situation and think, “Ahhhh, so this is what they were all talking about.”

Pizza is a vegetable.

I used to think that my children would love healthy food. How could they not? Tommy does like broccoli but only every other week so yeah, we do the best we can.

I remember hearing a report that marinara sauce on pizza counted as a vegetable as part of the new health guidelines in school lunch programs. I laughed at how corrupt that was because kids need their broccoli, damnit!

Tommy Eating

Well, yesterday I gave my son pizza and felt proud that at least he ate some vegetables, in the form of tomato sauce. For those of you reading this with children, I need no explanation.

For those reading this without children, some kids are picky if you weren’t aware. Some go in phases of eating one food group only. Tommy last week was on a cheese diet. He wouldn’t eat anything but cheese or as he says, “chhhissss”. If the child doesn’t eat, especially at night, he’ll wake up early or even in the middle of the night so you see why I give him something, anything that I know he will eat even if that means it’s 2 slices of cheese for dinner.

I am sorry to any parent I every silently judged for serving animal crackers for dinner.

Which brings me to my next, “Why didn’t they tell me” issue…

Everyone tells you how hard nursing is. I told you how hard nursing was, but no one tells you how hard it is to stop either! I’m ready to be done but Tommy clearly is not. Some days I only do it in the morning and before bed but some days when we are home a lot, he wants it all. the. time. It’s hard not to give him what he wants, especially if I know he’ll be in a great mood after and hasn’t been eating a ton.

He tugs on my shirt and even lifts it up, sometimes in front of non family. Luckily this hasn’t happened outside of the home. YET. I’m banking on some travel in April to help me solve this problem.

And lastly private school politics…

For the first time since becoming a mom, I’ve witnessed first hand the struggles of being a city mom. Up until last week, I loved living in Boston and all it had to offer a young family.

There are many benefits to living in the city with an infant. You can walk everywhere which was great for us since Tommy hated his car seat. I could walk to the park and socialize with other adults. Many of my friends live close by and I could see them frequently. I could go to the gym quick since it was so close, now before Nick leaves for work even. There are tons of free activities for kids at the public libraries and playgrounds. There are museums and kid friendly restaurants.

Selfishly, I love the city because I like all the yummy healthy food places and fitness studios near by. I think I would miss those the most if we moved. I also love that Nick can be at work or come home in 20 minutes.

As I research schools, it is crazy how expensive and “competitive” they are.

Everyone always said the word “competitive” to describe preschool admission but I had no idea what that meant for a toddler. Sure, I get it, Harvard and MIT are competitive. You can compare students based on tests and essays but for preschool, it’s the parents that are being evaluated, right? I thought an early application, engaged loving parents and participating in school community events was enough but it’s not.

How do admissions people decided what toddlers get into programs? Is it luck? Is it who you know? Is it based on what toys my child put in his mouth? It’s a frustrating experience.

I wish I could just send Tommy to our neighborhood public school with all his friends like they do in the suburbs but we have to enter a public school lottery that isn’t a guarantee either. The public schools are not the best in Boston either and due to the random lottery system, Tommy could get in to a school nowhere near our home.

As of now, we are on a waiting list for Tommy to get into a Toddler program and my fingers are crossed we get in because it’s disheartening when you feel like your child is being rejected. It’s even worse when your child is being rejected and you feel like it’s your fault.

The school situation has made me start looking at the suburbs years before I thought I would begin. I don’t see us moving anytime soon but after this week, I realize why people often do.

So anyway, this past week I was a little down in the dumps. I’m not the veggie pushing mom I thought I’d be. I’m still unsuccessful trying to wean my toddler. I’m certainly not the no screen time mom I swore I would be and now I know what everyone was talking about.

Ahhh, so this is what you all were talking about

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  • Kristin

    I love these honest posts! I’m sure every mom out there can relate.
    I have myself been guilty of quietly judging, but only now do I understand the struggle that is vegetables and kids. Sometimes it’s just more important that they eat something rather than nothing. I think being a parent has definitely been humbling!

  • Mouna

    The struggle is real!! I love this post, I can 100% relate right now. Sometimes all Adam wants for dinner is banana (nannnna), cheese and blueberries. Or banana bread. I am proud when I can sneak in veggies too somehow. I used to say when I have kids they would love vegetables because obviously I do too but now I know how naive I was and how picky they can be! My trick these days is sneaking in an organic green pouch (spinach pear and and mango is one of his faves or broccoli pear and peas one) as he plays. He will be playing and I will offer a bit at a time and he runs back to play. I high five myself if I can get one or two of those a day in addition to his cheese and banana diet. And ugh about the schools. This is why we decided to leave the city soon and starting to look at suburbs based on school ratings. Sigh.
    You’re doing a great job Sarah!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your honesty!!!

  • CoffeeMomJen

    Hi Sarah, it’s really hard to admit defeat and you should be so proud of yourself for being so authentic and laying out your struggles for other first time moms (and vets like myself) out there to relate to. Being a parent is hands down the hardest job sometimes and yet as you know is so rewarding too. You are doing a fabulous job with Tommy, don’t ever doubt yourself, you know what’s best for him -- no one else does. And you have all of us and your family for support! Keep up the amazing job momma!! xoxoxo


  • Fiona MacDonald

    I remember thinking before Sully was born ( laugh even at that sentence) how he was going to eat SO well and not even anything but healthy foods. Well cue 1.5 years later, and I’m happy he eats anything. I try to look at his eating in weeks vs days, so overall in a week he does pretty well, balanced even but some days it’s ketchup, goldfish and food pouches because I just don’t have the energy to fight a battle with a toddler who doesn’t quite understand. And YES tomato sauce, salsa, guacamole, hummus…counts for me for ‘good’ foods! lol Hang in mama we are all in the same boat 🙂

  • Susan

    Every mom feels this way! That’s why we secretly laugh when people without kids tell us how to do it ;). It will all workout and there will be more pizza vegetables and cereal for dinner. My boys are 10 and 12, while some things get easier other things get harder. I always say, have a plan and be flexible. Kids have their own personalities and you have to work with it 🙂

  • Mckenzie H

    Get on the waitlist for Ellis Memorial. They will be opening a new building up eventually but many people can’t wait it out. Tommy is so little maybe you can! We loved them before we moved to Newton. I feel your pain. Good luck!

  • Delia

    I left the city right before kids so I can’t speak to the school situation but living right outside Boston, I can attest that our daycare options are FAR less expensive than my city friends, so I am glad for that. If you do move out, know that you can still find hard core places to work out, whether studios/gyms/classes, and interesting, healthy foodie outlets (definitely fewer than the city but as soon as we moved, I found we spent less $ bc there is less tempting options…win win?). Don’t be too hard on yourself; my now toddler was watching Sesame St before I returned from maternity leave (I’m not proud of this…..) but he is very bright and it didn’t “ruin” him. I definitely have mom friends who judge the tv so I don’t bring it up much.

  • Kristie

    Sarah! I have been meaning to comment, but this post really struck me as being refreshing, insightful, and motivating. Your posts on being healthy, fun workouts for those pregnant and not, and about being a mom have been valuable resources to me as I learn to raise my 11 month old. It is a whole new world when you become a mom, and I am grateful I have blogs like yours to turn to when I wonder, “How do other moms handle this?”

    I hope it works out for your family as you think about school and next steps, but you are doing a great job and the best for Tommy! He knows he is loved and supported by you, and that is what counts!

    As for weaning off nursing, please share tips when you get to it! I am also perplexed as to how to stop nursing over the next few months, but have been discouraged when I see my daughter hating her formula bottles.

    Oh well. 🙂 Thanks for the great and honest posts, and keep your head up!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Kristie! Tommy never took bottles at all so that is my fault for not introducing them enough. I will be sure to keep you guys posted.

      • Neenah

        If it makes you feel better, my daughter (now 19 months) took bottles at daycare but is still totally hooked on nursing. I have been ready to wean for months, but every time I deny her a nursing session she freaks out. Part of me can’t give it up because I know it’s so good for her and she obviously emotionally needs it, but mentally I am DONE. I think the next few weeks we are going to a lot of talking about it + dad doing bedtime?? Hoping some of these tips work! http://kellymom.com/ages/weaning/wean-how/weaning-techniques/

        GOOD LUCK and you are doing a great job 🙂

  • Kristina @ Appetite for Instruction

    Thank you for sharing your struggles with toddler pickiness, nursing, and schools! I teach in Boston and totally agree re: the varying quality. I do like the Josiah Quincy Elementary a lot, and I think that many of my coworkers with little ones would send their children there if they could (it’d at least be convenient with pickup and dropoff). However, as you point out, the lottery system is crazy. In talking to other moms, I’ve learned that Cambridge is slightly less crazy, and Somerville a little less so (most people will get their first choice if the first choice is a neighborhood school). Another thing I’m concerned about is the focus on testing and sacrificing playtime and recess in the public schools, so I’m considering Montessori and other private schools. That makes me so sad as a public school teacher, but I see the worst of it sometimes and don’t want my son experiencing that.

    • Sarah

      So interesting to read your comment. I’m a public school kid but I can’t imagine how the schools in the city are trying to get their ratings up and what that does to the curriculum. We’ve heard good things about Josiah Quincy! That and hurley would be option if we go the public route and stay in Boston.

  • Marisa Andrade

    I’m sure all moms can relate to this post for one reason or the other. We are all trying our best in our own reality and it’s never how we thought it would be before they were born. We can do this! Best of luck

  • Annie

    Feeding a kid is way harder then I expected! I was in the same boat as you, I eat healthy so why won’t my child love broccoli and asparagus? Now, we hide veggies in everything including his oatmeal and pancakes and consider tomato sauce a veggie on his pasta. Also, as far as nursing, I stopped at 14 months. My son was doing all the same things Tommy is and I was ready to stop. We had a trip planned, a quick four day vacation, and it worked out well to stop then. He tugged at my shirt once we got home for about a week but he adjusted quickly. Hopefully Tommy will as well!

  • Nikki

    I’ve struggled with weaning my 22-month old. One tip that I read that seems to be helping: making sure to give boob-free snuggle time, so that he still gets the same snuggly comfort. I also stopped bringing him straight to our bedroom in the AM (where we did our morning nurse) to break the cue. It hasn’t stopped my son from yelling “boob!” or “niiiiiiiips!” and occasionally pulling down my shirt, but it is helping!

    EVERY baby is different… but maybe those tips will help! 🙂

  • Lindsey

    LOOOOOOVEEE this post and I’m right there with you especially in the food arena! I never thought much passed breastfeeding (because I knew how hard it would be). Now we are onto solidsish and I’m constantly concerned about what I can get him to eat and if he’s enough. Being a mom is not for the weak for sure!

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