Monday, 3 November 2008

Eating Habits and Parenting

Jo made some interesting comments on my post yesterday, which added to my general pondering about the issue.
My daughter is, of course, unique and individual and many of my finely-honed, expert parenting skills which I practicie with such brilliance on my two sons fail totally with her - I think it would be fair to say that she has me wrapped around her little finger! Perhaps there is some deep pyschological issue, that I see her as a minature version of myself and cannot bear to see her distressed. Perhaps it is because that she has learned fast that being smallest in a family of five, she has to shout loudest to be heard. Perhaps it is because she is a girl and, as such, a completely different species to her brothers. Perhaps it is because she is number 3 and I am just so much more tired. "Whatever," springs to my lips so much more easily now! And as a parent it is always hard to find the tightrope of "getting it just right" between the chasms of "being too soft" and "being too hard."
The food issue, as I said, has been an on-going one, with all sorts of dark fears lurking at the bottom my consciousness: obesity, anorexia, diabetes ... all the ways I could scar her for life. For her I think it boils down to a simple choice: is the eating (therefore not being hungry or consuming something yummy) more fun than playing with the cat, engaging mummy in an entertaining debate or colouring? I think this has been true all along!
Baby-led weaning largely involves babies learning to feed themselves, picking up, playing with, exploring, tasting and eventually eating their own food. As a tiny one, my daughter would sit in her chair and totally ignore all sorts of healthy goodies placed in front of her. Every so often a doubt would creep into my head: "Maybe she just doesn't know what to do? Maybe she can't see the food? Maybe her pincer grip is not developed enough?" And so, just to check, I would give her one, just one, chocolate button. Like a hawk, her fingers would descend. With expert precision she would pinch the chocolate. With feminine delicacy she would place it her mouth. Clearly more than capable of feeding herself, just very selective about what was worth the bother. As Jo says, she is unlikely to starve herself. The likelihood of her driving her poor mother insane, I fear, may be higher!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your last line made me laugh. I completely get that. So maybe you just have to do what you can to save your sanity.