I have been reading a lot about the challenges of feeding toddlers, and I don’t mean in the glossy magazines with the pictures of kids in the $40 bibs. I am talking about those of us in the trenches. The real moms wearing cute jeans with stained shirts and our husband’s socks. The women struggling to figure out how to balance work, home, life and marriage. Bloggers trying not to hate themselves for so thoroughly acquainting their kids with the backs of their heads.

I thought I would take a moment to post the very real Briet – that being a not so crafty combination of Briar and Diet, with a little twist of brat thrown in if you sort opf squint your eyes as you look at the word. No, my daughter is not a brat, nor am I a bitch, ok, sometimes I am and she is too (brat not nitch), but really, and I’m no clinical psychologist, but I’ll go out on a run on sentence limb here and say that toddlers, when sitting behind a plate, can be colossal brats.

Once upon a time Briar ate cucumbers and apples. She devoured bananas and begged for more chicken, ok maybe she didn’t beg, but she ate it. She used to share mugs of oatmeal with us in the morning and ate pasta with veggies at night. She would sip milk from her menagerie of princess cups. Pretzels with a bit of peanut butter were a treat worthy of squeals.

Alas, those days have passed.

In an attempt to recreate the days of yore I bought corn on the cob. It was of course frozen because this is February in the Adirondacks.

Yeah, what the hell? I wouldn’t touch that either.

Now the only color variation with pasta is the box it comes in. Case in point, I put peas in the “nacro” the other day and got this:

“What’s that mama? What’s that that’s green? Out mama. Briar no eat green in nacro.”

Sean introduced a form of toddler crack into the house. It started with “Princess Food,” Disney princess fruit chews, which I believe are simply high fructose corn syrup pellets with a squirt of food coloring and partially hydrogenated soy bean oil- the food pyramid of champions. Becuase I can be desperate and weak as I try to force calories into her lithe frame I deluded myself into believing that introducing Backyardigans, Dora and Diego versions of the Princess food, I would, in essence, be diversifying her diet.

The whole character thing got me thinking, maybe I could sneak other foods in via a parade of character marketed foods. Behold the organic Elmo Apple Cinnamon Oh’s or as Sean calls them “Anus Oh’s” and the Dora cookies which are not at all organic and make me cringe every time I grab one and say in a crazed voice, “Ooh look honey, it’s Swiper. Please eat a Swiper. Look I put cream cheese on him!”

Walking through the organic section of the grocery store Briar called out “Bear Kix” and I jumped all over it like a pig in shit. Are you kidding me? I was ready to buy stock in the company. Imagine my suprise when I first served these and realized that they tasted like deep fried sugar peanut butter turds. They turn milk to syrup and the panda poop pellets to mush before you can even get a spoon in the cup. Ugh, blech, yech.

I am really trying to accept that the Briet is:

Cream Cheese
Orange Juice
Ribbon (slices of lemon)
Chip seasoning (she licks the coating off my Garden of Eatin chips)
Dora, Princess, Backyadigans & Diego Food
Minimal amounts of whatever carb vehicle we use to deliver the cream cheese- chip, cracker, bread, pretzel etc.

And if I hold my breath, act totally nonchalant and pretend to be really enjoying myself she will steal bites of what I am eating. I fear scurvy and the other conditions that accompany poor nutrition. But I am not going to kill myself fighting this. The best I can do is try to demonstrate that I choose a balanced diet and hope that she does the same one day. That and force feeding the occasional bite of grass fed beef into her mouth along with a piece of organic green pepper damnit.