Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Do I still eat like a four year old kid?

"Mommy, I only want to eat cookies, chocolate and ice cream." Little bears hands are on his hips and his face is scrunched up in frown.

Believe me kid, I know how you feel. Your Mommy would love to eat cookies, chocolate and ice cream all day too.

Of course, I've heard little bear's sentiments before, but this time, a new thought popped into my head. Do I see food in the same way as my four year old son? Did I grow up in every way except when it comes to food and eating? All about taste and no substance? Seeking satisfying taste and nothing else with every bite?

Little bear and I seem to share a worrisome trait: we are both overly concerned with satisfying our taste buds. I can also tell that whenever he is told he can't eat, lets say a bowl of ice cream for breakfast, that he is frustrated and feels like he is missing out. Just as I did when I was a little girl. And from my own experience, I know that years of frustration will build into a full blown food anxiety.

To little bear I replied: "I know cookies, chocolate and ice cream taste good, but we only eat them once in a while. Most of the time we have to eat food that makes us strong." Knowing what I know now, when little bear is pining for junk food, I use words that I believe would have helped my four-year old self when I wanted to eat cookies, chocolate and ice cream instead of a regular meal.

But, when I think about it, there is a distinct difference between little bear and I when it comes to eating. When Little bear eats food that doesn't taste great, he won't finish his serving. In contrast, before therapy, when I ate food that didn't taste good enough, I'd eat the lackluster meal and then search and eat something else to eat in order to satisfy my insatiable need for taste.

With two kids of my own now, I understand the challenges that parents face at snack and meal times. First, parents need to get their kids to eat, and second need to get their kids to eat food their little bodies need to grow. But kids don't always want to eat, and they certainly don't always want to eat the nutritious food on their plate. So I understand why I heard "NO" so frequently as I child. Just as my Mom didn't let me eat cookies, chocolate and ice cream for breakfast, my children will not be allowed to eat every craving that pops into their head.

My little bears just won't necessarily know that I've said "no."


  1. I call my son 'wittle bear' also! And I know how you feel. Just one day and one meal at a time with.healthy options for the kiddo... He's learned to love fresh fruits as dessert!


  2. I think if someone has a wonky relationship with food as a child it must be really hard as a parent. I love the way you relate to your child and say I know these things taste good instead of making the little one feel bad about wanting it, which is what I always felt and still feel.
    As a teacher of three year olds I also believe some of us are just wired to constantly chase foods that taste good where for others food is just a very small unimportant part of life.

  3. Parenting isn't easy! It is rough stuff. Sometimes I ask myself, "Does my physical body really want the chocolate, or is it the way that chocolate makes me allegedly feel?" (Happy) "How else can I get happy?"

  4. Have you considered letting him pick a veggie and do the cooking of it (even if it is only stirring)? Mys SIL used to chop veggies into little pieces and put them into a ramikin alternately with mashed potatoes or sweet potato and turn them onto the plate. Her kids loved that until they decided foods cannot touch one another. Also, my dad told me that when he was little he liked to mix mashed potatoes, peas and corn together. I therefor loved that. Still do. Unfortunately he also introduced me to cheese grits.


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