Toddlers are smarter than you think

By Christina Rainey,
Oregon mom

Babies have amazing capabilities, many more than we may realize.  In fact, recent studies show that babies observe, explore, imagine and learn more than we ever have thought possible.  Even when my toddler,  Lauren is giving me the clueless look, she is really not so clueless!

Lauren, now 20 months old, is now starting to become more independent and her personality is starting to take shape.   She is more verbal now, talking and repeating sounds she hears.  Rewind 18 months ago to when she was just a casual observer of her environment and she spent  most of her time sleeping and eating.    During the toddler years,  their brains are growing at such an incredible rate, that there are just too many things to experience to slow down!

I try my best to give Lauren a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. She doesn’t mind the fruits, grains and dairy so much, it’s the vegetables that can be a struggle. Lately, I have gotten a little bit more creative in getting her to eat vegetables.  Take for example, my recent “experiment” in hiding vegetables in her otherwise favorite foods.  Before I tell you how it went, I’ll remind you that children are more receptive to our emotions and actions than we think.  I could tell that Lauren already sensed that something was up with her new, modified meals, as though she has a sixth sense for hidden vegetables.  For starters, I tried steamed carrots mixed in with macaroni and cheese.  It was suggested to me because they are the same color and thus, the child would not know the difference.  I casually plopped her “new” dinner on her tray.  Now I wait.  She casually inspects her food and notices that something doesn’t look quite right.    Then, she starts to carefully pick out the carrots and hands them me and slowly works around them to get the macaroni and cheese.  Sign. We didn’t have any luck this time around but we’ll keep trying other options.

In a recent conversation with my mother I asked her if I enjoyed eating vegetables as a toddler.  She said that I did not.  And just like me, I know that eventually she will love to eat vegetables, I will just have to wait.

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