What Moms Learn From Their Kid’s Food
Just recently, my two sons and I walked into Starbucks for a morning snack. I told the boys they could get one “sometimes” food but not two. Bobby, my oldest, chose banana chocolate chip cake; Billy, my youngest, ordered vanilla milk. And he had already eaten a lolly—and a granola bar. It was only 9:30 am! So, we went outside to sit on a bench while eating our morning snacks and waiting for an appointment I had scheduled. In short order, Billy proceeded to beg and plead for a piece of chocolate chip cake—and I had to deny his request. But please keep in mind that I’m trying to get him to understand his body’s needs for him to eat more nutrient dense foods and his need to understand the difference between “everyday” foods and “sometimes” foods.
Yes, of course, Billy can surely have “sometimes” foods, but I knew he’d have many more “sometimes” foods during this particular day since we were headed to NJ to visit with family. So after I said NO, I offered to get him a bagel with peanut butter. He stood firm—and again said NO; he wanted only the cake. Not even considering whether this was true hunger (which it wasn’t), I just knew we needed to put some focus on more nutrient dense foods since returning from our beach getaway trip. Well, after five minutes, he changed his tune and started saying he wanted me to pick him up. Soon after that, we ended up at home where I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on sprouted grain bread for both boys. By this point, Billy had totally forgotten about the food, the cake and the desire to eat—for whatever reason. He actually didn’t ask for food until about two hours later when I gave him his sandwich, a pumpkin cranberry Squeezer and water. He was happy and content. Then later, my oldest son Bobby asked for cookies for his snack; of course, we gave both boys cookies. I didn’t limit how many they took. They probably ate four or five cookies each during an hour period in-between playing.
One child can learn from another as I noted (with a giant smile, I might add!) when listening to my oldest son explain to my youngest: “You can’t always have both. You can have either the cake or the flavored milk but not both all of the time.”
I think Bobby clearly gets it. But it seems he has from a very young age while little Billy just isn’t there yet. All of our kids, yours and mine, each have their own personalities; what works for one child may not work quite as easily or well for the other. We need to remember that each child is an individual especially in regard to food and eating as well as psychological points of view.
Sometimes, when our kids are asking us for food, they are really asking for something else entirely. Maybe a hug, maybe more “Mom” time, maybe…you fill in the blank! Flexible boundaries around food can actually help your child. Avoid extremes but stay within a structure that is both flexible and reasonable.