How to Feed a Toddler

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STEP ONE:
Select a delicious, nutritious meal to feed your child.

STEP TWO:
Sober up to the realization that there is no way in hell he would ever eat that.

STEP THREE:
Come up with a new meal featuring minimal (less than three) ingredients.

STEP FOUR:
Assemble the meal. In many cases, cooking will not be required.

STEP FIVE:
Present the meal in an attractive fashion (sandwiches shaped like zoo animals, pancakes decorated to resemble faces).

STEP SIX:
The sell. (“Oh WOW, these look sooo yummy! “ / “You’re a lucky [boy/girl] to get such a yummy [breakfast/lunch/dinner]!” / “OM NOM NOM!”)

STEP SEVEN:
Once the meal has been refused, stand firm in your resolve that THIS is [breakfast/lunch/dinner], there will not be an alternative [breakfast/lunch/dinner], and he will eat what you’ve made him.

STEP EIGHT:
The entire meal finds its way onto the floor. Luckily, you anticipated this, so there is an identical plate sitting right out on the counter. Clean up and replace lost meal.

STEP NINE:
Ignore your child’s frantic cries of hunger. You’ve already fulfilled your parental obligation to make [breakfast/lunch/dinner]. Go empty the dishwasher or read a magazine.

STEP TEN:
The cries get louder. Your child is clearly starving. Deny the pleas for Cheerios and Goldfish Crackers. He will eat what you made him or go hungry. You are strong. You are the one in charge.

STEP ELEVEN:
Disregard the pity in your heart for your starving child. Ignore the guilt you feel for imposing such suffering upon a small, helpless creature. Go do some laundry.

STEP TWELVE:
The cries of your child become unbearable. Over the sound of the dryer, you think you hear Child Protective Services knocking at your door. Beg your child to sit down and eat his meal. Offer him cookies if he takes just two bites — no, one bite — of his damned [breakfast/lunch/dinner].

STEP THIRTEEN:
Your child is wasting away. You are a horrible [parent/grandparent] for abusing your child so. Fearing [loss of custody/incarceration/eternal damnation], you allow him a belly full of [Cheerios/Goldfish Crackers] for [breakfast/lunch/dinner].

STEP FOURTEEN:
Break down crying as your child happily eats his snacks. By this step, you should feel guilt for giving into the demands of a fussy toddler and denying your child a healhy, balanced diet — he would have certainly eaten the full meal if only you had held out a little longer.

STEP FIFTEEN:
Child learns to get what he wants through emotional blackmail. As you begin to plan the next meal, so does he.