On Food and Children

My dear Miss Bennett,
Ahhhh, food. It’s a wonderful experience! The smell, texture, and all the different tastes a great cook like your grandmothers or your father can cram into one dish! It amazes me every time.
Another thing that amazes me is how much kids hate food. And I’m talking about food, not about sugar filled substances with a non-nutritive varnish coating. (Shout out to Clark Griswold for that one!)
Real, wonderful food that for some reason people under the age of 15 really could care less about. No matter how many times we explain the health benefits, no matter how many times we re-cant the ‘there are starving children in several other countries around the world, how can you sit here and not eat?’ question, you still do not care.
You care about the sweet stuff. The fattening stuff. The wonderfully juicy, fried stuff! Like fried pickles and Snickers, funnel cakes, and of course – chicken! Sorry, I’m getting a bit carried away here.
My point is this – sweet stuff, fattening stuff and fried stuff are all enjoyable. However, they should be enjoyed in moderation. We all need the not-so-good for you stuff from time to time.
When you have kids it’s hard because you want them to eat healthy. And you want them to have fun. And you want them to respect the rules of the house. It’s a hard line to walk as a parent.
We know that taste buds change over time, and that at some point you will like salads with way too much dressing, and you will enjoy broccoli, as long as it is smothered in cheese. We just sometimes are at a loss as to how to get you to eat – NOW.
I don’t believe in making you guys sit there to finish your meal with something you absolutely hate. I also don’t believe that our kitchen is a cafe at meal time. So, we are usually at an impasse. Below is a poem that I wrote a couple of years ago for Logan:

Logan’s Snack
The anticipation is gone,
Stolen away.
You made the decision,
On that fateful day.
Hours upon hours were spent
Imagining the joy,
The sounds, the textures, the scents.
But, because your dinner you snubbed
It’s time for teeth brushing and floss.
The snack you held so dear in your heart,
Your hand has successfully lost.
With tearful eyes you trudge
Your little bed awaits
Tomorrow is another day
Only you know your snack fate.

Okay, I know that is kind of corny, but he was soooo sad that day! And when that little peanut is sad it is hard to bear. And Logan is underweight anyway. He is only in the 3% for everything. So we really have to be a bit lenient when it comes to him. Sometimes, though, we just have to draw the line. Calories are great, but when you are only wanting them from junk, we have to draw the line. It truly breaks a parent’s heart to have to say no to snack time when you haven’t eaten the meal that you need to eat to give you the strength to digest the crap-filled snack you so desperately feel you need.
Just remember this: when you become a parent keep in mind the stuff that you thought was gross and don’t make your kids eat it. Keep in mind that boundaries need to be set not only for health reasons, but so when your kids are adults they can police themselves and make healthy choices in all areas of their life.
I suffer from a severe addiction to Pepsi. We’re talking so bad that I need a 12-step program, maybe a 30 day retreat at a fabulous New Mexico spa – don’t think I haven’t thought about it. And I am a terrible example for you when it comes to consuming soda. Terrible!
I realize this and accept responsibility for the exposure I am subjecting you to for such an addiction. But, trust me, until I am able to get professional help – we are all better off when Mom has her Pepsi! I will work on it, though. For you. Because you always make me want to be a better person.
I sincerely hope that you glean a bit about ‘food health’ from me, and completely ignore the ‘food not-so-healthy’ examples from me. I know you will make great decisions about this. You are already making healthy decisions daily about friends, school, and your health. You are the most courageous person (besides your dad) that I know.
I love you, I honor you –
Love, Mom

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