You know how you have all these grand ideas about parenting and about the type of child you will raise, and how that all vanishes about the time you spend your first night alone with your newborn?
Well, one of my BIG things, before I had children of my own, was that my kids were going to be good eaters. They would eat their veggies, they would love tofu, and they would not have (much) candy.
In fact, I was SO SURE of this, that I judged people who had picky eaters. Specifically, a couple of the kids in David’s family. I was FULL of answers for those poor, uniformed parents. If only I could have a week with those kids, I’d have them eating.
Cut to our house, present-day mealtime.
BOY HOWDY. These girls of mine are decidedly NOT good eaters. Not even close.
First, we have the baby. (OK FINE, SHE’S TWO. Stop rubbing it in.) She eats cheese, fruit, and toast… and not much else. She does slug back an impressive amount of (soy) milk and juice though. Oh, and she can put away the mac-n-cheese. Seriously, she can eat more of it than you can. No, really.
To help her become a better eater, I’ve decided to start limiting her fluid intake. She is now allowed one (1) sippy cup of (soy) milk and one (1) small sippy cup of deluded juice per day. After those are gone, it’s water only.
No more drinking all of her calories. I’m hopeful that this will make a big difference.
Next, we have the twins. They fuss and complain their way through every meal- coming to the table rudely complaining that “I don’t like ____”. It drives me crazy. Also, they bargain with us immediately after sitting down- “How many bites of ____ do I have to have before I can have some yogurt/bread/candy?”
They eat little to nothing if we are eating anyplace but home (even McDonalds!), and I’m doubtful they eat much during lunch at school.
For them, I think it’s become more of a power struggle than a food thing. So from now on, we are not going to argue with them about food. We will put healthy food on the table, and if all they eat is bread, FINE. At least mealtime won’t be a battleground.
Also, I’m cutting off the after-school snacking at 4pm SHARP. Unless they want carrot sticks. Or raw tofu. Otherwise, nothing more until dinner.
So I guess what I need to continue to learn/remind myself is that as parents, we sometimes need to take a step back and re-evaluate the method we are using. To be constantly adjusting the navigation system is tiresome, but maybe less so than continuing on a path that isn’t going anywhere?
I think the food issue is so hard, especially when raising girls. From how I understand it, most eating disorders are more about control and less about food, so it seems V. V. Important to not mess it up. It’s about so much more than eating your veggies.
Talk about pressure.