When Mommy is Gone, Baby Will Eat Fries

I was out of town last weekend, and my in-laws flew in to help Chris out with Mason. We are so lucky to have such a supportive family, but I was still nervous to leave him. I’m a bit of a control freak, particularly when it comes to Mason, so I had written a virtual book about his schedule and various tips about his routine/likes/dislikes. I had been particularly uneasy about Mason’s diet. My hubby is a junk food addict–I found fries in Mason’s snack catcher after Chris took him on a solo trip to the park recently–so I wasn’t feeling very optimistic about what would go on Mason’s dinner plate in my absence.

Sure enough, Mason loaded up on fries and chocolate chip cookies while I was away. He avoided fresh veggies all together, but at least he ate fruit. I tried to swallow my irritation when I heard about all the junk food and then noticed an untouched container of homemade cheese sauce that I had made for his veggies in the fridge. I also tried not to seem overly concerned about Mason’s moments of bratty behavior that seemingly went unpunished. He apparently refused to eat the whole-wheat pasta that he normally loves, wouldn’t sit in his high chair, and screamed until his sippy cup was replaced with a bottle. Oy. God help me if these are new quirks.

I sort of panicked. What if our sippy cup progress had been ruined? I called Mason over and handed him a sippy cup. He happily took it and drank his milk. Hmmmm. I picked him up and put him in his high chair, Mason looked at me and grinned. Hmmmm. I gave him organic banana and apple-cinnamon sticks for a snack–and he munched away. Hmmmm. What was happening? Was he just falling back into our typical routine? Had he been acting out because he missed me? Or was our friend RB right when he told me that all is not lost after a few days off schedule?

RB had just spent five days with his kids, alone, while his wife was out of town for work. He read that I was nervous to leave Mason, and he sent me a note on Facebook to encourage me to let my concerns go. “L did a lot of work to get ready, but then she had to trust it to me,” he wrote. He explained that there were several obstacles while he was on solo daddy duty, including his daughter’s fever and his own three-day stomach bug. He and L had also agreed to “throw the schedule out the window as it was two ‘against’ one”  — so every day was a gamble. But the kids were just fine in the end.

I re-read Ryan’s email after Mason went to bed and realized he was absolutely right. Mason may have eaten too much junk and been off-schedule for most of the weekend, but he was beaming when I walked through the door. He clearly adored having his grandparents and his daddy all to himself, and it was obvious he and his grandparents had formed a special bond. Looking at the big picture of the situation, a few fries and cookies didn’t seem like such a big deal. Maybe next time I’m out of town I’ll ask Chris to agree to fresh fruit at every meal and leave it at that.

Photo: Fries via Shutterstock/Nata-Lia

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