Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You Want Fries With That?

So let me get this straight. On top of putting a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and vacuuming up all the fairy dust from their rooms so they can sleep at night, I have to feed them too? I really should have read the fine print before I signed on for this. "Let's see, I've got the contract right here. Three meals a day plus snacks? Who negotiated this thing? Consider yourself fired." That makes me feel better but it doesn't exactly help me with the problem at hand.

From the time they get up in the morning to the time I toss them to their mom and dash out the door to work (anyone who tells her I don't work 7 days a week is going on my list), I get to repeatedly hear "I'm hungry". Soon that'll be in stereo since the little one is starting to talk now. Don't get me wrong, I remember being a kid and thinking my parents had magical food powers and could produce a feast just by snapping their fingers. Now that the roles are reversed and I realise that parenthood does not in fact bestow any magic culinary abilities upon me, I sympathise with what they went through. We're not even at the point yet where the kids are that picky about what they eat so we still have that to look forward to. My sister's favourite snack for the longest time was toast cut into triangles, grated cheese, and a fudgee-o. If I ever open a restaurant, I can't ever imagine why or how I would do that, I'm putting that on the menu and naming it after her. "I'll have the super picky weirdo and a coke."

When the kids were just babies, it was all so simple. They got hungry, they got a bottle. They got hungry, they got breastfed. Just as a side note, if I had to breastfeed we'd have some hungry kids. The concept seems so simple, put the kid's mouth there and they eat. The reality of it is so much more involved. Do they have a good seal? Are they suckling right? Did the milk come in? How can I make more milk? "Screw this, you can have a bottle. Your immune system seems strong enough." Next they move on to baby food which is disgusting but still pretty simple. I figure the problem starts, like most of them do, when they get the ability to talk and ask for things. If you want proof of that then look no further than an average breakfast discussion.

"What do you want for breakfast?"

"I want a snack."

"A snack? What kind of snack?"

"A snack."

"You want some pancakes?"

"I don't like pancakes."

"You ate nine for breakfast yesterday."

"I don't like them."

"You do realise I just woke up, right?"

"I want a snack."

"Fine, here's a pop tart."

That brings me to my big problem when it comes to feeding them, I'm the one supposed to make the choices for them. Looking at the way I eat, I'm pretty sure I'm not the most qualified person for the job (I believe baked goods constitute a food group). "So if left to fend for myself I'd eat an entire pie as a meal and I'm supposed to instill healthy eating habits in my kids? Good luck with that one." Speaking of which, all I see is commercials and articles telling me how important it is to model good eating habits for me kids. What happened to all that crap they told us in school about not caving in to peer pressure? I'm getting a real mixed message on that one. Just kidding, that's actually the basis of all parenting. Follow this rule at all times, unless I give you an order that directly contradicts it but benefits me.

Now I'm going to admit to doing a horrible thing. My kids, on more than one occasion, have eaten.... fast food. There I said it. I feel guilty when I eat it, let alone when they do. Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. I'm convinced places like MacDonald's have separate play areas so all of us bad parents can feel a little less guilty while we watch the kids get some exercise on the slides. Free from judgemental eyes, we can drown our guilt in delicious fries and burgers. Somehow it just makes me feel like not making the right choices is ok sometimes.

1 comment:

Daizy said...

try out ask Moxie http://www.askmoxie.org/ ... she has a good article about toddlers and summer foods (read the comments on that blog, TONS of suggestions). I've always had the philosophy of "eating on demand" with my daughter. We leave foods in the fridge and cupboard that are easily accessible and I highly encourage her to help herself. Ie... a bowl of washed berries is always in the fridge, granola bars and yogurt are the first suggestion for "I'm hungry".