Laura’s Life Lessons Taught By Her Boys – One day at a time

1. Foods are not treats: So on Sunday, my very awesome husband and children picked me up in the car and we headed to Lacrosse practice. My sweet children proceeded to tell me that after lacrosse we were going to get a treat, ice cream. Of course I immediately turned around and said ice cream is not a treat, it is a food, more specifically a sometimes food. I left it at that and we continued on our merry way. My oldest son was experiencing anxiety regarding his scrimmage and actually sat out of his game. This was fine but his behavior to express this was not ideal but what can I say he is a child and we are not perfect parents. The lesson came when driving home. Bobby shared with the family “I don’t deserve ice cream.” This was in reference to not trying to play in the game or even just stand with his team. I felt awful and my heart sank. The beautiful thing is ice cream is not something one deserves. It is not a treat as I had explained earlier (note: Bobby calls it a treat as this is what he learned in his school). So I simply turned around to my son and reiterated what I said to him on the way to Lacrosse. I shared that we can get ice cream but we would save it until our night snack. It was near dinnertime and I explained to the boys they needed to meet their nutrition needs with everyday foods first.
2. Food Exposure Works (slowly but it does work): This past Sunday night I went grocery shopping. I am always searching for new ways to expose my picky eaters to former favorites and or new foods. I saw the small-prepackaged containers of carrots and ranch dressing. I figured it was worth a try!! So Monday night, I presented the boys with carrots and ranch dressing. Bobby was not a fan of this particular dressing but ate the entire carrot. This was the first time I saw him do this. Billy on the other hand would not even lick the dressing on a pretzel stick. Yesterday morning when filling their Batman lunchboxes I decided to throw the other package of carrots and ranch dressing in Bobby’s box. TO my amazement I did not find it in my refrigerator this am. I wondered, did the babysitter eat it? Did my husband eat it? My kids typically bring home leftovers including empty wrappers. Hum?? So I asked Bobby what happened to the carrots and he said he ate one. He said he didn’t like the dressing, which I knew. Inside I was overly thrilled that he even considered the carrot.
3. Cooking with Kids is a Worthy Experience: My little 4.5 year old, Billy is a picky eater. However, when it comes to cooking, specifically baking he declares, “I am a great cooker!” He always shares what he cooks or bakes in school and what he tries there. So this weekend we made lemon polenta cake together. He happily broke the eggs, stirred and mixed.
Not only is this a great time to talk about nutrition and bond, but also it helps a child to feel more in control of his/her food choices and even feel self-pride. Well this was such a worthy experience because my little “cooker” became an “eater” and gobbled this tart and textured cake. However, he did ask me to remove all of the lemon slices from the top. I also think the powdered sugar on top helped entice him. He even asked for a piece the next morning but only took two bites before moving onto his waffles.
I wonder, what are your kids teaching you? Are they reinforcing messages we discuss here or perhaps enlightening you with different feeding and eating insight?
Next week you can read about what happened when Bobby asked for Ice cream for breakfast. Do you think I gave it to him?

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