The Rainbow Solution

So, a few days back, I mentioned that I was having issues getting Dante to eat vegetables. This was the solution.

rainbow veggie plate

A rainbow of veggies. With some blue pasta, since I had no blue vegetables (do they even exist?). The boys were intrigued. Dante was nervous. I told them that they had to at least taste all the colors and eat at least two colors completely. Then I told them that there was a special rainbow surprise when they were done.

Dorian polished off the whole thing. Dante ate the corn, carrots and pasta, as well as the cauliflower clouds. He didn’t complain about tasting the other items and even ate a good size portion of green beans.

Tonight, Dorian asked if we could have another rainbow. Dante wailed that he didn’t want a whole rainbow . . . so I came up with a solution.

rainbow choice plate

The new rule for this was that you have to pick a minimum of two colors. Dante wanted carrots only, but upon reminding him that there were TWO colors required, he picked corn as his second . . . if I would cut it off the cob. Done. Dorian wanted the entire plate.

I also served these vegetables before the rest of the meal, which was turkey dogs. They ate the veggies as the first course and then had their turkey dogs. And I didn’t hear a single complaint.

Balloon Fidget Tutorial

A while back, I mentioned that we use fidgets to help the boys stay focused during school. Dante in particular is very hyper and needs to move. He’s constantly hopping on and off his chair and running around the room during school, so it’s good to have something he can handle and play with while listening to lessons. One of the fidgets we use is this balloon fidget, which is super easy to make!

To start, you’ll need:

2 balloons in different colors
Corn, rice, salt, flour, or other filler of your choice
A funnel

balloon fidgets

Take one balloon and blow it up, then let the air out. This stretches it out a bit.

Cut the ring off the balloon.

Stick the funnel in there and funnel in about 3/4-1 cup of whatever you’re filling with. You may have to push it in once gravity stops helping.

Now cut the tube part of the other balloon off. This doesn’t have to be too precise, but you don’t want too much narrowing of the balloon here.

Now put this balloon over the other one, making sure that the first balloon’s opening is at the back of the second one. It will be a tight fit!

Presto! A fidget that is fun to squeeze and mash and twist in your hands while listening to a lesson!

The Food Problem

Since Dorian was about 13 months old and had an intestinal blockage due to diet, we’ve been working on improving our diet. We cut out a lot of sugar (but not all!), processed foods and white flour, rice and milk. These are all things that cause problems for Dorian and they have to be very limited most of the time or he ends up getting blocked up again.

Needless to say, we’ve been extremely focused on Dorian and his eating habits. And we kind of didn’t worry too much about Dante. He’s been a picky eater to the nth degree since he was about 3, but everything I read about it said to keep presenting foods and let the kid eat what he wants.

Turns out, that’s not such great advice. At least, not in our case.

Dante recently had some issues that sent him to the ER and scared the socks off me. He had a rectal prolapse. It was completely unexpected and while I knew what it was, we never expected Dante to be the one with an issue like this.

After a completely useless ER visit (it took so long for them to see him that everything was back in the right place by the time they did) we took him to see our family doctor the next day. The doctor checked him over and told us that the most common cause of this issue in children is . . . malnutrition. (other causes include parasites, which he has been treated for on a regular basis) Irving and I were pretty stunned at first, but thinking about it . . . yeah, it makes sense. The kid eats beans and tortillas 24/7, won’t touch anything green, hates all vegetables apart from carrots, so it’s not that farfetched that he would be missing a few things. Let me tell you, there are very few worse feelings as a mother than to realize that your child is sick and it’s your fault.

We were sent home with instructions to load him up with protein, iron, green veggies and Incaparina, a fortified cereal drink that is essentially the poor man’s Pediasure. So I stepped up my game in the kitchen. I made bone broth and fancy salads and all kinds of muffins full of shredded veggies. To an extent, it worked. Dante was freaked out enough by the idea of going back to the hospital (he was never in pain or anything, it was just being there) that he ventured a few bites of green beans. But after a while, he would gag on anything new and that was it. He’d rather not eat than eat anything green.

I make Shrek Shakes (green smoothies) to get some veggies into him, along with banana pancakes with spinach in them, pizza full of pureed vegetables and pasta with sauce chock full of squash and spinach and carrot. These are all things that work. I don’t hide the fact that I’m putting vegetables into the food and he’ll eat them. We’re trying to incorporate more meat and poultry into our meals, as well, though those things tend to be pricier and therefore more difficult to add.

The problem is . . . I’m searching for great ideas to get kids to eat veggies and people suggest things like dips and cheese sauce, etc. My kids won’t eat that stuff! Imagine, kids who hate dips. I don’t even know how that happens. Dante also hates eggs, which are a great alternative to meat for protein. He doesn’t like cheese, either, except on pizza and so our meals have become an ongoing battle that has turned something enjoyable into a stressful event that ends with no one wanting to eat at all.

Since the initial problem, Dante has had several more instances of prolapse and at this point, the doctor has told us that it could also be genetic, a lesser version of Dorian’s problem. If so, he may require surgery to correct it, but that is something to be determined in the future, AFTER he’s built up his system and has sufficient nutrients in his body. Which, at this point, may be never.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 51

Dante: watching The Hunter with me. “What is he looking for?”
Me: “An animal that is supposed to be extinct.”
Dante: “A stink? So, like a skunk?”
Dante: “I just vomited those green beans. They were too gross.”
Dorian: running over to look. “No, you didn’t vomit, Dante. When you eat food, you chew it up into little pieces, these green beans are FLAT. You just spit them out and pretended to vomit.”
Irving: “Maybe he’ll go into forensics when he’s older.”
Dante: “Ok, I’m Goof, you’re Coop and Dominic can be Shrek.”
Dorian: “How can Dominic be Shrek? He’s so CUTE!”
Me: “Did you know that I love you?”
Dante: “I’ve noticed.”
Dorian: “Life is like a math problem. There are 3 oranges left. I’m going to take 3 to share with Zanelle. Now there are no oranges. So it’s like 3-3=0.”
Me: “Dante, where are the scissors?”
Dante: “I don’t know.”
Me: “You had them last, where did you use them?”
Dante: “Well, I used them and then I hid them.”
Me: “Maybe you hid them too well?”
Dante: “I hid them in my bedroom. And then I think the ghost took them and put them somewhere else.”
Dante: “Mama, if you need me, I’ll be outside, hunting zombies.”
Dorian: looking at the tuna can which has a mermaid on it. “Wait a minute . . . did we just eat a lady with a fish tail?”

8 Months

Dominic turns 8 months today. The boys are very excited that he will be a whole year old in just 4 more months. :) They’re already figuring out what his cake should be.

Dominic has become extremely strongwilled in the past month. He’s suddenly very vocal about everything and quite willing to let us know when he’s ticked at us. Which is a lot since he’s now mobile.

This month, Dominic is:

  •  Crawling everywhere at a rapid pace.
  • Extremely interested in getting outside to eat grass and dirt.
  • Under the crib more than he’s in it.
  • Not sleeping much at all . . . 5-6 hours per night, 10-15 minutes twice a day if we’re lucky.
  • Trying to stand on his own.
  • Obsessed with brooms and mops. He’ll sit and “sweep” for ages.
  • Eating everything in sight. His favorite foods at the moment are chicken, beans, and all things green. If you give him a pile of vegetables, he eats the peas and green beans first, then the potatoes and the carrots last.
  • Walking well when he has hands to hold.
  • Talking about people and then crawling off to find them.
  • Trying to draw. Dante is always drawing on the floor and Dominic crawls over to grab his things and either eat them or try to copy his brother.
  • Standing up in his crib early in the morning and calling, “Mama!” when he’s ready to get up. Usually long before I’M ready to get up.
  • “Reading” books.

  • Actively playing with toys, instead of eating them, he makes them hop or drive and sometimes makes the noises to go with it.
  • Is fascinated by latches and spends quite a bit of time trying to open them.
  • Is utterly smitten with his papa and wants him more than me. Sniff. Fortunately, I’ve been through this before and know that mama will be back in favor later.
  • Having total breakdowns when something is taken away from him or he is not allowed to go where he wants, when he wants.

This is what happens when he can’t eat lint off the floor.

I can’t believe it’s ONLY been 8 months . . . and I can’t believe it’s been a WHOLE 8 months since this little guy came into our lives. He completes our family in such a way that I have to wonder how we didn’t realize before that there was a big hole where he fits perfectly.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I didn’t know until this year that October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Not that our little ones are ever far from our minds, but this is a day dedicated to remembering. We have five babies to remember this year, my little sister, Rachel, our three angels, my namesake who would have been 8 this year, and Sofia, our niece/cousin, who passed away one year ago this month.

I hope they’re all having a blast playing together up in Heaven.

All About Me Books

The boys did some books about themselves for Social Studies in School. I couldn’t find any that worked, so I just made my own. It was interesting to see what they came up with! Dante can’t really write yet, so I helped him out, but here are their books.

all about me books

They had to draw a picture of themselves on the front of the book. Dorian is obsessed with measurements at the moment, as you can see. I believe that is a sword fight going on in the thought bubble. Dante’s picture is him thinking about kissing me. :)

This next one is inside Dorian’s book.

Everyone in his family picture is neatly measured.

This one is Dante’s interior:

We had a little mix-up with the sister question, since Dante figured Zanelle counted as a sister. I like that his picture of our house includes a bunch of people. For him, home is family. And in the family picture, I’m handing a sleeping Dominic off to Papa.

This last page was fun! Dante had issues with writing the answers, so I helped out. In case you’re wondering, Pepsi is not an every day thing around here, hence the favorite status . . . it’s a treat.

Dorian wants to be a ninja when he grows up. Dante wants to be an artist. No 9-5 jobs for these boys! (Actually, I’m not sure they even get the concept of a 9-5 job, since we have never worked normal jobs. They think it’s perfectly normal to play music on weekends or write articles at random times throughout the day.)