It's tough being a mom. It comes with a LOT of responsibility and since a normal relationship with food has always been a challenge for me, it is especially tough to figure out how best to teach it to my son. Turns out, he's teaching me. Here are five things I have learned about normal eating from my sweet little bean.
1. How to share...aka how to resist the urge to say Hey! That's mine! - I may be eating my very favorite food but if that little face looks up at me, opening his mouth for a bite, how can I resist? There may be a small twinge inside that says, hey, that's mine! It is my favorite food, after all. What can I do but notice the twinge, recognize that I am attaching myself to wanting this food, and use my skills to detach from that desire. I remember that I can have more if I want, I am an adult, I can go to the store and buy more if I want more. But right now, I am going to share so that he can get the experience and sensation of eating my favorite food. Most times, one bite will do and he will be on his way. Sometimes he comes back for more. Who can blame him?
2. The joy of sitting down at the dinner table - I want him to sit down for dinner which means I need to do the same. This is tough for us but most nights we manage to sit down and eat together. He is only 15 months and I know it will get more and more important to do this, so we are all working on getting into the habit...and I like it. I have visions of us preparing and eating dinner together forever, or at least until he goes to college. I want dinner to be a fun experience that bonds us together. I can't wait to teach him what little I know about cooking and hopefully learn from him, too. I think families that prepare and eat food together really do stay in touch.
3. How to eat until I am satisfied - He only eats as much as he wants and when he is done, he's DONE. It's really helpful for me to observe and honor this in him, that way I can obvserve and honor it in myself.
4. How to enjoy what I'm eating - I don't have a lot of time, raising a 15 month old, so when I do get a few minutes to relax and enjoy what I am eating it feels like a real gift. It's also the one time of day when we are all together and he isn't running all over the house. I appreciate this more than I ever have.
5. The excitement of trying new things - I want him to have a well-balanced diet which means I have to prepare one for the whole famly. I have started The Fresh 20 which is a great service that helps me prepare unprocessed meals for every night of the week and we are eating things I have never made or even had before! It's fun and educational. It also makes me proud to answer the question from the doc "so, he's getting a well-balanced diet, getting plenty of veggies?". I am happy that I can say "yes!" without any hesitation. My mother would be shocked if she knew everything that I've made so far. I have chopped and prepared more veggies in three weeks than I have for this entire year! It makes me feel proud.