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Registered: 12-06-2003
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Mon, 08-27-2007 - 7:43pm

I am not a mother at all yet, but my bf (we are pretty serious after only 6 months) has a 5 (almost 6) yr old daughter. I haven't met her yet, but I will soon, and I want to make sure I'm prepared when I do. He has NEVER let ANY ex gfs meet her. I love kids, but I haven't been around them for awhile (I used to babysit & teach dance to 3-6 year olds all through high school-but I'm 24 now and don't really spend time w/ any kids anymore).

What are some fun activities that we can do? My bf and his daughter are always out doing something active when they are together (only once every other weekend), like going to ChuckECheese or the park. I want to do something fun too, but I want to do something new & different, so that it doesn't feel like I'm butting in on "their" usual activity (he usually brings her to Chuck E Cheese).

I'm pretty nervous about meeting her, even though my bf has told me she's pretty mellow, and she's excited to meet me. I think she will be accepting of me, since her parents split before she was born (so she's never seen them together as a couple), and her mother is married to another man and has a baby with him. I'm just worried that she won't like not having her one on one time with her dad. Lately she's been calling him more, and getting clingy with him, which might be a sign that she misses him & needs to see him more. I see him pretty much everyday (we work together), so the last thing I want to do is intrude on the little time they get to spend together.

Also, my bf mentioned that her eating habits are HORRIBLE, and her mother is't really helping out. Apparently all she will eat is pizza, mac & cheese, pancakes & chicken nuggets. This sounds exactly like I was when I was younger (except that my mom used to force feed me veggies). He wouldn't really care, except that it's not good for her health, and it's already causing her problems. She was brought to the emergency room for constipation last month :-/ Does anyone have any creative ideas on how to make healthy food more appealing to a 6 year old? I know that I'm sort of jumping the gun here, but I think it would be awesome if I was the one who could get her to eat something healthy.

Anyways I know this is long, but any advice you could give me is greatly appreciated. I will be meeting her either this weekend or next weekend.

Thank you

~Shnorkels

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2006
In reply to: shnorkels
Mon, 08-27-2007 - 8:53pm

Good luck with your first meeting!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2003
In reply to: shnorkels
Mon, 08-27-2007 - 10:13pm

Thank you for your advice- you're probably right.. I don't want to change her (I don't even know her yet lol), I think maybe deep down I thought that if my bf sees that I can act "motherly" then he will realize how serious I am (he keeps telling me that he was stalling introducing us bc he thought I would be freaked out meeting her-little does he know I dealt w/ my share of little monsters back in my babysitting days lol)

I would love to have a girls night & do hair & makeup, but unfortunately my bf will be around the whole time, so he probably won't be interested in all of that. Plus, he only gets her for a few hours during the day on a weekend. His house is too small for her to stay over-she wouldn't even have a room to stay in- but he plans on adding an extension to his house in the near future, so hopefully when that is done she can stay over and then we can have a girls night :)

I think maybe I will suggest bowling or mini golf (my bf won't be able to roller skate due to leg injuries), but I think maybe we should leave it up to his daughter to decide what she wants to do that day. My friend suggested baking, or cooking (maybe she will eat healthy if she helps make it), but my bf always wants to do something active (I think because he knows how poorly she eats-he wants to at least keep her metabolism going good lol)

Thank you for your help!

~Shnorkels

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
In reply to: shnorkels
Wed, 08-29-2007 - 11:42am

I'd not likely do anything over-the-top with her. I remember when my DH introduced me to his niece and nephew (4 and 9 at the time.) It was a big deal because they were very close. We did lots with them while they were little and before we had tykes of our own. Now that they are adults (18 and 23) the things they remember most fondly aren't the big water park trips but when I made pretzels with them, the time my nephew got sick when we were babysitting and I sat up with him all night watching Godzilla movies, the times we used to walk across town to get smoothies... all the simple stuff. Besides, you don't want to come across like Christmas and threaten all the other adults. Why don't you pick-up a simple craft project to do together. Maybe something FOR her dad. Keeping her hands busy will help relax her and open her up. Plus, if it's FOR dad, you'll have a little fun surprise going with her.

As to food, I would not make this your personal crusade. This is mom and dad territory and it's not nearly as simple to make a kid eat as you'd think. The constipation issue isn't just the food. My oldest had these issues from 4 to 6 and we've vegetarians with a resonable diet. Besides, it's REALLY easy to turn good intentions into a resentful relationship. Probably the best thing you can do is encourage fruit. It has sugar but fruit also has some of the same vitamins as veggies as well as fiber. My youngest has sensory issues that make veggies extremely difficult and we were told to double his fruit to get the nutrients in. It works well. My kids love making smoothies (add a little fat-free frozen yogurt and it's like dessert.) My kids will eat almost anything with peanut butter like sliced apples and celery. Slice some fresh peaches and top with whip cream and you have a nice dessert... let her help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: shnorkels
Wed, 08-29-2007 - 4:33pm

Hey there. I have a very picky eater too. Actually none of the things you mentioned that she eats is unhealthy.

Pizza is actually very healthy. It contains calcium from the cheese, vitamin C from the tomato sauce, and fiber. It can be made healthier if it's made with whole wheat flour. Maybe try an veggie pizza. Olives, cheese, mushrooms, pineapple, spinach, broccoli, and if you want meat, grilled chicken is delicious as a pizza topping. Order or make it with a thin crust so she's not getting mostly bread. Serve with a garden salad and vinaigrette dressing.

Macaroni and cheese again has lots of calcium from the cheese. It can be made with whole wheat pasta and she'll never know the difference, and that will provide more fiber. My 3 year old loves sweet peas to be served with mac and cheese and will often mix them in with the pasta.

Pancakes are fine too. Again, they can be made healthier by using whole wheat flour, 1% milk, and olive oil instead of vegetable oil. If it's difficult to get her to eat fruits or veggies try hiding bananas, blueberries, apples, strawberries, raspberries, zucchini, carrots, cranberries, pumpkin, etc in the batter. Top them with fresh fruit, or jelly instead of high sugar syrup.

Even chicken nuggets can be healthy if they are BAKED and not fried. You can even still have the yummy, crunchy batter on there. If she just HAS to have fries, again, make these at home. Cut up a potato in french fry sized strips, lay on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and if you want a little kick, try using paprika or chili powder. Pop in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. I like the consistency of the red potatoes the best for these. You could even expand and do this with sweet potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, get creative and see what gets her.

Just remember that you really shouldn't be pushing here. I agree that this is an area for mom and dad. All you can do is provide healthy foods when she is in your home, and hope she eats them. My 6 year old has Asperger's Syndrome and has a lot of sensory issues, texture being one of them. If it feel strange in his mouth or the taste is too strong, he wants nothing to do with it. Never force a child to eat. It just causes more issues. You can encourage )"hey _____ would you like to try some avocado? It's really yummy") but if she says no, don't push the issue. When you do see her making good choices, praise her in a subtle way("Aren't those grapes delicious?"). I say subtle because I've found that anything not subtle is just asking for trouble. Whenever Johnathan comes home I ask him what he chose for lunch and we talk about his choices. I never tell him a choice is not okay. I don't believe in any food being a no no, as long as it's eaten in moderation. So like today, he ate a pb&j sandwich, a bunch of grapes, some green beans, a snickerdoodle cookie and drank two chocolate milks. My praise went something like "I'm so glad you are making good decisions about what you are eating at school. I bet that cookie tasted good, and I'm sure those grapes were yummy too." This recognizes that it's okay to eat a cookie once in a while, but doesn't take away from the importance of the healthier choices he made.

As for activities, what have you got around you? Could you go to the zoo? Any museums that are kid friendly? If it's not too cold yet where you are, or if there are any indoor pools, you could go swimming. Go on a bicycle ride. Does she like creative activities? You could make sure there are activities around the house that will feed that. Playdoh, fingerpaint, glitter, glue, construction paper, scissors, stamps, etc. Does she like to read? Does your bf have any books around for her? You could take her to the library and let her pick out a few, or you could get some to keep around. Some of my 6 year old's favorite books are "The Fish Who Could Wish", "A House for Hermit Crab", "Mister Seahorse", "The Mixed Up Chameleon", and "Do You Want to Be My Friend?". These are just a few.

Jayme

my 6 year old Johnathan

and his siblings

Ethan (3 1/2)
Elizabeth (13 months)




Edited 8/29/2007 4:47 pm ET by skinnyldsflymommy

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2003
In reply to: shnorkels
Wed, 08-29-2007 - 5:58pm

Thanks to everyone who replied :)

I like the ideas on how to make things healthier (I try to do that for myself & my bf as much as possible), but apparently she will only eat all that the bad way lol. Her mother was supposed to take her to a nutritionist, but she cancelled the appointment & never rescheduled... :-/ I think at one point we are going to IHOP for pancakes (he promised her), so I'm not going to say anything about her eating-I don't even know her yet-I just was trying to think of creative things for the future :)

My bf mentioned that we will probably go to Chuck E Cheese or a park when I meet her, so I told him to let her pick what she wants to do. My bf mentioned again that she is easygoing and will definitely like me unless I'm "an A--hole"... (which I'm not lol).. I'm just still nervous, because I'm not really too outgoing (especially around new people-even if they are 6 years old lol), and I don't want her to think I'm mean or not fun. I'm also not sure if I'm going to have to meet her mother (when my bf picks her up)... even though they haven't been together in over 6 years, that's still a pretty uncomfortable situation (for both of us!)...

Thanks again for all of the advice :)

~Shnorkels

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2006
In reply to: shnorkels
Wed, 08-29-2007 - 8:03pm
Please let us know how it goes.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2003
In reply to: shnorkels
Sat, 09-01-2007 - 8:26pm

Thank you to everyone who gave advice :) I actually met her today and things went pretty well. My bf warned me last night not to be too shy, because she is shy too-but I still was a little bit lol. But I tried talking to her a few times and she warmed up to me.

We went to a few places, but then later on we were in the park and my bf was pushing her on the swings and she told him that she loved him and then she was like "and I love you too!" to me... I was shocked-more shocked than the 1st time my bf told me that! lol But I guess thats a good sign. She was a perfect little angel all day, so hopefully she will stay that way :)

~Shnorkels

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2006
In reply to: shnorkels
Sat, 09-01-2007 - 9:48pm
I'm glad it went well!
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