The Journey Through Feeding A Toddler

Usually I start these posts off with some sort of anecdote, but instead, I thought I would simply show a clip.

This is an example a “good” feeding experience when my daughter was almost one year old:

I know I have a history of tormenting my daughter with yummy adult food she can’t have. But here’s my side of the story. 😂

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

As I said, that was a “good” experience. You can see from the clip she ate all her oatmeal, and most of the food stayed where it should be and not on the floor, or in my face.

With that said there have been worse situations – one in particular involving blueberries that I do not wish to think about.

Suffice to say, the entire eating and feeding experience has be a trying experience, and like many new parents going through this process, it can be defeating and discouraging.

Sometimes, I would think to myself:

“Man, I can’t wait until she learns how to properly feed herself. I’m looking forward to the day where she’ll just eat without me having to worry about it!”

You should have seen the floor

Things also go beyond just feeding. In the early stages of teaching my daughter to eat solids, I still remember the science lab-like setup in our kitchen.

We would steam, blend, bake, boil, pre-chew (okay that last one was a joke), every organic vegetable known to man, hoping to find the perfect combination. Often times she would devour what we feed her the first bite, only shut her lips and treat it like poison the next.

I remember during this stage my wife and I felt pretty defeated.

Up until this point our daughter had steadily gained weight. But at 13 months, when she began to become a pickier eater, that’s when her weight started dropping. And the truth is, we’ve always been spoiled by the fact that she was always a good eater, so the loss of weight hit us pretty hard.

We felt that we had failed as parents, despite feeling that we had tried everything, but she still wasn’t eating. The more she didn’t eat, the more the pressure mounted. It began to feel like how it was when we first brought her home, with the constant tracking of how much she ate, and measuring dirty diapers, and doctor check ups.

I was warned how difficult things were going to be with a newborn, with the constant crying, and sleep deprivation. But I had no idea that feeding my daughter would put my patience and sanity to the test once again.

Before kids, I had no idea that feeding my daughter, or taking her out to a restaurant would require so much effort.

But now I know.

I now know, the pressure of getting your kid to eat.

I now know, the struggles of meal planning and preparation.

I now know, how it feels to not get to eat your food when it comes nice and hot.

I now know, the tag-team technique of alternating between shoving down your own meal while the other parent feeds.

I now know, how it feels to lose the battle of wits between a tiny human and a full grown human.

I now know.

And when our friends who don’t have children watch us at restaurants, we feel their beam of pity and concern.

I can see it in on their faces as they are thinking: “How are they this patient?” or “Is it always like this?” or “Should we stare, or not stare?”

Rest assured, we are fine. And please don’t pity us. We’ve come to realize that this is just the process of getting food in our kids.

Believe me, the first time we were at a restaurant, we did care and we were super self-conscious of what people would think if our daughter had a meltdown.

In fact, I remember us only going to noisy and spacious dim sum restaurants so that if she cried or screamed, no one would notice.

It just runs in the family. Who can ever resist steamed BBQ pork buns?

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

But eventually, we just stopped caring. We starting going to the places that we used to go to, and we started to worry less about what people thought, and more about what needs to be done.

As long as this kid eats, we didn’t care if she screams a little or makes a big mess.

“As long as she eats.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a terrible experience, every once in a while we’re treated to those little moments that make everything okay.

Moments like this one:

Feeding time is extra cool when she busts out these moves. 😂

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

How do you even get mad or frustrated when you’re treated to things like that?

And that’s the thing –  like everything so far with this parenting gig, things do become rewarding.

This kid knowa how to push my limits, but she also knows how not to break me. She just knows when to throw me a bone once in a while.

I could be sitting there feeding her for 45 minutes with no luck, but somehow by the grace of her mercy she decides to take in four consecutive pieces of chicken in a 30 second span.

My inner voice goes from, “F this bull crap!” to, “I’m the GREATEST!” in a matter of seconds.

These are the rewarding moments.

These are the moments where you realize it’s all worth it.

Such is the theme of this parenting thing, isn’t it?

We emotionally beat ourselves up, and bend over backwards for our kids, but we still endure it.

We endure not because we are sadistic or stubborn, but only because we are parents and that’s how we are wired.

That’s all.

And you know what? It’s not all doom and gloom.

The eating and feeding process is slowly getting better and better.

My daughter is slowly learning to feed herself, and little by little those tiny wins are slowly becoming large victories.

So if you’re a parent who is struggling feeding your kid right now, I promise it does get easier. I know every child is different, but I can confidently say that every good parent is the same, and your efforts and intentions eventually get rewarded.

And with this, I leave you with the most recent and unremarkable video of me feeding my daughter.

This is not to brag or anything. But rather this is to show that eventually they get it.

Comparing it to the first video in this post, this is proof that the feeding experience does get easier.

And for me personally, if I didn’t write this post, I would not have the opportunity to see the improvement.

So please, no matter what stage you are at, enjoy these moments.

Cause eventually our restaurant frustrations will no longer be us trying to get our little humans to pick up a spoon and feed themselves, but rather it will be us telling our big humans to put down their devices and interact with us like how they used to.

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If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to leave a comment below, or send me an Instagram message, or a tweet!

If you have questions or comments on your own toddler feeding experience, I would love to hear from you!

 

Run to the ROM Contest

If the $20 off ROM coupon code (use the code: ‘HOLIDAY’ ) wasn’t enough in my last post. I’m currently running a Instagram contest to win a free ROM Family/Dual membership.

If you’re interested, hows you can below:

 

1) Follow me on Instagram @snappingus and ROM @romtoronto.

2) Leave a comment on this post by tagging one friend:

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve partnered up with @romtoronto to giveaway a Family/Dual Membership. Membership is valid for a year and here’s how you can enter to win: 1) Follow me on Instagram @snappingus and ROM @romtoronto. 2) Leave a comment on this post by tagging one friend. 3) Multiple entries ARE allowed as long as you tag a different friend in a SEPARATE comment. Contest closes on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2017 at 11:59PM EST. 1 Royal Ontario Museum Family/Dual membership (Approximate Market Value $149.00). This contest is open to legal residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contacted Contest Prize Winners must answer a skill testing question in order to claim their prize. No purchase necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with, Instagram, nor is Instagram liable for any actions of this contest. For full contest rules, please visit http://dadmodeon.com/index.php/rom-contest/

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Note: Multiple entries ARE allowed as long as you tag a different friend in a SEPARATE comment.

Contest closes on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2017 at 11:59PM EST.

1 Royal Ontario Museum Family/Dual membership (Approximate Market Value $149.00). This contest is open to legal residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contacted Contest Prize Winners must answer a skill testing question in order to claim their prize. No purchase necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with, Instagram, nor is Instagram liable for any actions of this contest.

 

Full contest details can be found here: Run to the ROM – Contest Rules

The First Night From A Year Ago

With my daughter just turning one yesterday, I had some time to reflect back on what a crazy first night it was when she came into this world. Behind this confident looking dad constantly posting Instagram photos of how wonderful being a dad is – lies a memory of a traumatic, life changing first night at the hospital. A night that has forever shaped this dad, and is now in the back of his mind whenever the inkling of having a second child comes into conversation.

The dad is more impressed with the lights than the baby.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


You know when you buy Ikea furniture and before you build, you go through the instructions and feel a little overwhelmed? That’s kind of like becoming a parent. You know what the end product looks like, but the process of getting there is what’s confusing and intimidating.

Babies: Assembly Required

You realize that the end goal is you becoming a competent and loving parent, but in order to become that, you need to go through so many confusing and trying steps.

That is what I realized that first night when she arrived.

I remember that the first night after she came out, when her mom was recovering and I was lying with her skin to skin on a makeshift couch bed, she was so tiny and so delicate.

I thought to myself:

“Oh sh*t, I have a daughter. Oh sh*t, I’m a dad now.”


That moment, I felt like everything that I had prepared myself for was useless.

Skin to Skin and Sing to Sing

I envisioned how I would be as a dad, and I envisioned how it would be like to have a baby. But when it finally happened, I never actually thought about process of become a dad.

Basically, for those first early moments, I just did stuff I saw on TV and movies.

Seriously, at one point in my hysterical mindset I thought, “Oh I must sing this song to her so that she’ll have an emotional attachment to it and be calm in the future whenever I sing”

I talked to her and told her how everything was going to be fine and life is going fantastic.

That was all a lie of course.

I mean can you imagine sleeping peacefully in a warm toasty bed only to be forced out to the cold winter streets – wet and naked?

I’d be pissed and freaked out.

For the rest of the night I remember her waking up and crying every one and a half hours. And I remember getting up each interval changing her diaper and bringing her to mom for feeding.

After the feeding I would put her in a loose swaddle and rock her so that she would fall asleep.

It Ain’t 5:05 In The Afternoon

All that crying. 

It sounded like they cross-bred one of those rubber chickens with a pterodactyl.

What a truly terrible sound.

I felt bad that she was crying and disturbing her mom, so I just started walking around the maternity ward shoeless with a tiny baby in circles.

At one point I even thought, maybe if I walk her over to the nurses desk, they’ll see how distraught I look and help me hold her for a bit.

Nope.

They just politely smiled and gave me a “your-wife-just-went-through-labour-and-you-better-hold-on-to-that-newborn-look.

Fair enough.

Basically I was so tired and overwhelmed, and I thought:

Shhhhhhh*t I have a daughter now, and thiiiis is how it’s going to be?


I really didn’t think it would be that hard.

But it was.

And it’s something that I’ll never forget.

Ever.

Of course things got better little by little as each day passed. And when we finally were discharged from the hospital, we felt relatively confident that we were able to do this.

And we were right.

As the weeks turned into months, and the months now became a year life is pretty sweet.

“Don’t drop baby, don’t drop baby.” 🙏😂

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


As I write this, my daughter is quietly taking a morning nap, and last night I even slept for 7 hours!

Life is good right now.

Really good.

Yes, there still are tough days and tough nights. But nothing can measure up to that first night.

I think the experience I gained on that first night was exactly what I needed to prepare me as a dad.

And that’s the thing about becoming a parent, you can read all the books, go to the pre-natal classes, or talk to seasoned parents about their experiences. But when the moment comes and a life is gifted to you, you forget everything just learn on the fly.

And you’ll never forget. Ever.

Once assembled, babies are great.

 

A Gift For Dad Not In A Form of Poop: A Rad Dad Box Review

Who likes surprises??

Before becoming a dad, surprises were awesome!

Things like: tickets to see a Raptors playoff game; a new PS4 game; spontaneous weekend trips. These were awesome surprises.

Now surprises usually come in the form of me having to Oxi Clean poop smeared shirts, pants, and onesies.

The Worst Kind of Surprise
The Worst Kind of Surprise

But what if there was something that brought surprises back into a positive light?

There just might be something that turns the tide…a little.

Warning: This post is loooonnnnnnng.

So if you’re looking for the TL:DR version:

This box subscription makes a great gift if you have a dad-to-be in mind, but it could be costly for some people on a budget.

If you stumbled on here looking for a coupon code, I’ll just cut to the chase:

You can use the code “DADMODEON” for 10% off your purchase (Here’s even a link to their website.) However, I highly encourage you to read the rest of the review. ☺️ 

A Pleasant Surprise – Rad Dad Box

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My Box Inspector Checking the Gift

Last month, I was generously sent a sweet gift from a crate subscription company called Rad Dad Box. They asked me if I wanted to do a review on their services and I happily agreed. In a world full of mommy blogs, it was nice for them to approach me with a product that is dad-centric and dad-friendly.

If you’re not too familiar with crate subscriptions services, essentially a company sends hand picked and curated items to subscribers on a recurring schedule. These items typically fall in line with your interests and needs. Yes, there is a subscription fee, but the value you get back typically goes beyond cost.

It’s essentially paying for a personal shopper who will deliver a nice gift of random items once a month.

What makes Rad Dad Box unique?

Their focus is on dads like you and me.

I know moms (deservingly so) get lots of attention, but once in awhile it’s nice for us dads to get pampered.

What type of pampering, you ask?

Well, to get a better idea of what you actually get, here’s a description straight from the source:

The Rad Dad Box is a monthly subscription box containing items to support new dads and their children. We include self-care products, such as soap, deodorant, and hand sanitizer, Dad-themed books and apparel, and Dad-approved toys and products for baby.

Basically, if you don’t have the time or knowhow in purchasing certain items, Rad Dad Box takes care of it for you.

I mean the lack of time and knowhow pretty much sums up my definition as a new dad, so this actually works for me.

What’s inside the box?

At the beginning of my post, I mentioned getting positive surprises. And if you do choose to subscribe, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. What I can tell you is that the box I received contained a combination of toys, tools, and essentials for you and your baby.

I won’t go into the items any further, but if you’re really dying to know about one of the items, I’ll reveal one at the end of this post. You’ll find my quick thoughts on one of the items included in the box. So if you really want to know, be sure to read on.

Is It Worth It?

The obvious question here is: is it worth it?

Looking at the cost of it all, here’s a breakdown directly from Rad Dad Box:

The cost of the one-time boxes starts at $20 and goes up to $60. The $60 box is available only as a one-time box. Subscription boxes start from $13/month (for the one-year subscription to Rad Dad Essentials box) and go up to $50/month (for the month-to-month Rad Dad Big Box.)

The box that was sent to me was the Big Box, which was valued at $50/month. Based on my rough estimate of the items that I received, I think it was around the same value.

Beyond trying to figure out the actual value, the thing to consider is that these items are thoughtfully picked with the baby and dad in mind, and that in itself is worth something beyond dollar figures.

Would I personally get it for myself?

Probably not – but the caveat is, I’m pretty cheap and I already have some of these items.  Had I known I would get an assortment of monthly items, I probably wouldn’t have purchased similar items on a regular basis.

Would I get this as a gift for someone?

Absolutely – and the next section explains why!

Who Should Get This?

If I had a friend or a family member who is about to become a dad, I think this would make an awesome gift.

This would also make a great pooled gift from a group of coworkers, if they wanted to chip-in and buy something nice for a for a staff member going on parental leave.

Baby Billboard
Baby Billboard

There’s so much stuff out there to buy for new parents, it can get overwhelming and often times people just don’t know what to get. I remember a few years back when I was tasked with buying a shower gift. I ended up buying a book for the person. I doubt the person even read it, and even if they did, I’m sure they forgot who got it for them as a gift.

At least with the Rad Dad Box subscription, you know you’ll get a variety of items that have been carefully thought out with the dad and baby in mind.

There’s also something nice about receiving a gift that keeps on coming.

Final Thoughts

Being a new dad can be tough.

There are so many things that we have to figure out on the fly, and we are constantly bombarded with new challenges of taking care of a new kid and being a good spouse.

With this new role as dad, we may even feel trapped or isolated. I remember there were times where I needed to take a break and step away from things, and simply think positive.

Besides, I’m tired of mom getting all the attention…it’s about time us dads got a nice gift.

I’m only kidding.

Please don’t put me on a stake.

But seriously though, what’s more fun than getting a surprise gift every once in awhile, not in the form of poop?

I’m not saying getting a box subscription will automatically make being a new dad easier, but having something to look forward certainly helps get your mind out of a rut caused by sleep deprivation.

With that in mind, if you are seeking to purchase a gift for a dad-to be or current dad, I think the Rad Dad Box subscription service would make a wonderful and thoughtful gift.

10% Discount Code

If you really are interested in getting the Rad Dad Box, why not get it at 10% off? Use the code: “DADMODEON” for 10% off your purchase!

I do not receive commission or any monetary return if you use this code, nor am I affiliated with Rad Dad Box.  I’m simply putting this code out here so that you can save a little money to spend on other things like, potato chips or Netflix.

The Rad Dad Box Item Reveal

If you’ve made it this far into the post, kudos!

As I mentioned in my review, I will reveal and give my thoughts on one of the items.

Without further ado my favourite item from the box was…

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SOAP

SOAP

Yep, soap.

I know it might seem a bit strange, but I don’t remember the last time I was gifted soap. Heck I don’t remember any time that I deliberately purchased soup.

Growing up, I just used whatever soup was available. And even now, I just use whatever’s on sale.

As much as I love smelling like Terry Crews, I actually prefer something a bit more unique than Old Spice. The “suds! Bath and Body” soap bar that came from the box was something that I thought was a great item to receive.

Maybe this is a little TMI, but when you’re a dad, the toilet and shower is your sanctuary. Sometimes you just need that tiny escape. What better way to heighten your escape-imagery, than to use a uniquely scented bath and body soap?

I won’t get into too much of the smell, but the soap has a subtle tea leaves and wood smell that I really liked.

So yes, soap.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing more XT-2 photos or my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. 🙂

Breaking Our Hermit Shell

I would categorize my wife and I as hermits. Sure we used to go on spontaneous trips (hello Iceland), go see the occasional show, and we were pretty big on food. But when it came to maximizing our weekends, we normally preferred the lazy route by donning our PJs and staying in.

But since our daughter coming into our lives, we’ve been shockingly meticulous in planning out our weekends. It reminds me of when we had our dog and frequently forced ourselves to plan excursions to pet festivals and dog parks.


The inner-hermit in me initially didn’t like it at first, but ever since going to the Toronto Islands last week, a switch just came on inside.


To us it’s just another visit to a place, but to her it’s a completely new experience. She’s basically a life-experience sponge right now, and if we don’t fill it up with a variety of things, I feel like it’s a wasted opportunity.


The moment I realized this was when we finally arrived and sat under a tree to feed her. And by looking at her, I was able to see the reflection of trees and clouds in her eyes as she was trying to process what she was seeing.


Waiting for her first ferry, in deep thought.

That made me realize that this was the first time I fed her in a park on a sunny day, and this was the first time she was able to look up at the clouds and the sky and process what she was seeing.


By how distracted she was, I could also tell that she was trying to take it all in.


That was kind of incredible for me, and her look is something that I will never forget or take for granted.

A while back, while cleaning, I found some faded photos of my parents in the 70s taking my brother to a park when he was a few months old. To me it was a shock to see my parents so young, and it immediately made me wonder what was going on in their mind back then.


So if Charlie ever wonders the same one day, this is what I was going on in my head:


Prior to having a kid, I knew that it would be up to us parents to teach and show her what life has to offer. But this kid, at just over six months just proved to me that I have just as much to learn as a parent too.

After eight hours, three bottles, two ferry rides, two miniature horses sightings, and one carousel ride later, she and both her mom and dad had a crazy day of firsts.


And this hermit of a father, is looking forward to the next adventure.


At first glance this appears to be a sweet photo of me carrying Charlie, but the truth is I’m wiping her drool off of my chin with her bib. Nonetheless I’m one proud daddy. 😂

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on