3 Lessons I’ve Learned Parenting a Late Bloomer

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on July 24, 2014

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I am with my kids at the park when they rush to the swings.  I start to push Big A while Little D swings on his tummy, as he always does.  He has yet to sit on a big-kid swing and well, swing.

But all of a sudden he asks: “can I sit there?” pointing to the swing.  I put him on the seat and he starts to pump his legs, accepting small pushes from me. Any parent of a late bloomer knows how exciting these little moments are.  While most kids take this step at 2, 3 or 4, Little D is doing it at the ripe old age of 5.

I’ve written before about my son being late with lots of things, but this swing surprise reminds me how blessed I am to have a late bloomer because it has taught me invaluable lessons. These are the top three that come to mind.

Lesson 1: No two people are alike

Anyone who has more than one child knows how different two kids can be.  Big A slept through the night at 4 months — Little D didn’t sleep through the night until 18 months.  Big A self fed at 8 months, for Little D it was 10 months.  Big A was a mellow 2 year-old but tougher at 3, Little D was a terrible 2 and a mellow 3.  I could go on and on.

The thing is, with child number two, doing the same things and getting a different result sort of threw me into a panic.

Now I see it plain as day — in a world with billions of people, no two people are alike.  Each one of us has a God-given uniqueness and that’s pretty amazing.  It’s not that he can’t do the same things as Big A, it’s that he has a different way –and timeline — for doing them.

Lesson 2: They will eventually do it if they are not pushed

Late bloomers take their time and are cautious kids, which is not such a bad quality when you think about it.  When we push them, we go against their very nature and this only makes matters worse.  This is when parents need to trust that in their own time, with exposure of course, kids will step up when they are ready.

I’ve had enough experiences with Little D to know he will eventually get there, but he’s likely to be later than most, and I’m okay with that.  I’ve learned about patience, trust and how important it is to put my own agenda aside so my kid can be who he is.

Lesson 3: Labels can affect children for life

In a classic 1960′s study, teachers were told a portion of average-scoring students had “unusual potential for intellectual growth” and were expected to do very well by the end of the year. Eight months later they re-tested the students. Those that were labeled as “intelligent” had significantly higher test scores than the other kids not given this label to the teachers.

If positive labels can stick to kids, you had better believe negative ones can as well.  Think of what the “you’re so picky” label does to the child who is simply more cautious with food or what the “troublemaker” label does for the kid who has trouble sitting because he’s really creative.

Having a late bloomer reminds me that children are in a constant state of change and to be labeled prematurely can have unintended consequences.  In a book I recently read called Mastery (more in a later post), many of the most accomplished people in history, like Charles Darwin, were not only late bloomers but didn’t always do well in school.

From kids to adults

So I take these lessons into my own life.  How can I use my uniqueness to make something that isn’t working work? What am I needlessly forcing in my life that needs to happen in its own time?  What (untrue) labels have stuck that keep me from self improvement?

When you think about it, we are all late to bloom in one area or another.  Wouldn’t life be sad if there was an age limit to learning new things and growing as a person.

So thanks Little D for reminding me that it’s never too late to bloom.

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Baked Chicken & Bean Taquitos [Recipe]

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on July 22, 2014

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A couple of years ago Big A discovered the joy of taquitos (or what we called “rolled tacos” in my day).  This isn’t surprising as she loves food that is crispy, which is probably why she’s not super enthusiastic with my usual baked chicken taquitos.  Of course, I’m competing with Rubio’s chicken taquitos, which are fried that she has from time to time.

So the last time I made chicken taquitos, I was on a mission to make them extra good.  And you know what?  It worked.

I adapted this recipe from Weelicious.  I replaced some of the chicken with mashed beans and added the spices for the tasty filling.  I use the slow cooker to cook the chicken (with some broth) and time it so it’s ready when I want to start meal prep.  You could also use rotisserie chicken.

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I followed the directions to microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds between two wet paper towels to get them nice and soft (genius!).  Then I rolled them up and placed them on a pan sprayed with cooked spray.  I brushed the top with some oil and put it on broil the last few minutes of baking.

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Big A was way into them and polished off more than two.  Take that Rubios!

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Do you make taquitos?

Baked Chicken & Bean Taquitos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • ½ pound chicken, cooked
  • 1 cup black beans, drain and rinsed (if you want to skip beans, increase chicken to 1 pound)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Mexican blend)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 12 corn tortillas

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Shred cooked chicken with a fork and knife in a large bowl. Mash beans in a small bowl with added oil. Mix chicken, beans and cheese and then add spices until well combined. Set bowl aside.
  2. Place two tortillas at a time between two damp paper towels and microwave 30 seconds. Place about 2 Tbsp of filling in each tortilla and roll tightly. Put the seamed side down on foiled lined baking sheet. Lightly brush with oil or cooking spray and bake for 25 minutes. For a crispier taquito, broil the last few minutes of baking.

 

 

 

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Why it’s Okay to Say “No” to Your Child About Food

July 14, 2014
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Janet with was with her 5 year old daughter at a play date.  As it was coming to a close, the kids pulled out cookies and begged to have them.  Janet wasn’t sure because it was less than an hour from dinner.  Plus, she had a fun dessert planned. But there was her precious girl [...]




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Summer Kale Salad [Recipe]

July 8, 2014
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Every year my husband and brother-in-law run the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, and every year they ask me to do it. This was the first year I said yes. It was fun but a trek up there (about an hour from where we live). The course was hilly with lots of obstacles and, towards the [...]




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Monthly Meal Plan (July)

July 1, 2014
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I hope you are having a relaxing summer!  My first week of summer was kind of disastrous with plans falling through and the kids whining.  I even started second guessing my “enjoy the kids” goal.  But like anything, it can take time to get into a groove.  Things started to improve as soon I added [...]




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10 Goals for Summer

June 24, 2014
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I have a confession: summer kind of stresses me out. I feel the pressure to plan the perfect vacation, pick the right camps and somehow get work done with the kids around more. This year I caught myself after reading a post about how to have a seventies summer. Summers should be about taking it [...]




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Ask the Dietitian: Is There Such a Thing as a Healthy Hot Dog?

June 16, 2014
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This is a guest post from Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND, registered dietitian nutritionist who promotes healthy eating as a speaker, consultant and writer.  Connect with Karen through her blog, Smart Bytes®, to see how nutrition headlines fit in the “big picture” of overall research, and follow her on Twitter, @KarenCollinsRD. Q: Is there [...]




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How I’m Learning to Love My Imperfect Body

June 9, 2014
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I’d love to tell my daughter that I have always loved my body. That I have never abused it to lose a few pounds. That health has always taken a front seat to vanity. I’m not going to tell this lie to her. At age 7, she is still pretty innocent about body image and [...]




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Monthly Meal Plan (June)

June 3, 2014
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There are only a couple more weeks of school left for us. Now that I have one kid in school, I can totally relate to this article about how parents feel at the beginning versus the end of school. It took almost 2 hours for Big A to finish her homework the other night, and [...]




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5 Reasons Your Child Eats Differently Than You

May 30, 2014
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Kids are learning about food in the same way that they learn to read and write.  But as a society, we don’t always look at kids eating this way.  And as parents, we often forget that kids are not little adults when it comes to food. In fact, there are distinct ways kids’ eating is [...]




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