My daughter Poppy Belle is not even a month old yet, but people are already teasing me that instead of feeding her the fresh organic foods that her brother has eaten since his first spoonful of baby food (he’s now 4) I’ll be handing her a bag of chips. She’s the second child, after all, and nobody believes that I’ll actually spend as much time making fresh, organic meals for Poppy as I did for Mason.
Because here’s the thing: cooking for Mason during his baby and toddler years practically became my second job. I’d work all day as an editor at a parenting magazine and then I’d whip up fresh food for him, using in-season produce, organic meats, and ingredients fortified with DHA and other brain-boosting nutrients.
I’d portion my homemade goodness out for the next day and stick it in the refrigerator. I got so into my culinary adventures with Mason that I even blogged about them. No junk food for my boy! was my self-righteous mantra.
And Mason did eat only organic food… until he was introduced to the wonders of Jatz crackers at daycare a year later, a snack that at one point I swore he would never eat (I know, that’s as insane as insisting that a toddler will sleep in on the weekends). Looking back I wonder why, exactly, I thought it was right to deprive my child of that cracker deliciousness that I loved as a kid?! And why was I so uptight about every freakin’ bite?
Of course it all came from being a well-intentioned first-time mum …who went
a little a lot overboard. Through my experiences with Mason I learned some important lessons and now with Poppy I’ll be much more realistic and a lot less rigid. She can enjoy crackers with her brother, but she’s going to get just as much healthy food as he did, because Mason has benefited big time from eating well from the start. Although he’s now well-versed in the world of pizza, burgers, chips, cupcakes, and shakes — what four-year-old isn’t? — he still loves plenty of healthy things, including strawberries, apples, carrots, and broccoli, because those were his first foods. He’s also rarely sick… and I have to think that four years of great nutrition is at least partly responsible for that.
Do you feed your second child any differently than you fed your first one?