By Shannon Penrod
I have this theory that people like to play out their inner conflicts by stressing about what other people’s children are or aren’t eating. I have friends who have little girls and they confide that their sisters and mothers and mother-in-laws, constantly comment on how the little girls aren’t eating enough to sustain a bird let alone a human child. Then there are those of us who have boys and I hear from my friends in that camp that same barrage of comments comes in about how much the little boys eat, that concern has actually been raised that one or two of the boys might actually pop!
I am in yet another camp because of all of the restrictions on my son’s diet. We are gluten free, casein free, corn, yeast, potato, sugar, artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners free. We also don’t do apples, grapes, strawberries or watermelon anymore. I know, what does it leave?
Actually, my son eats like a horse, and it’s mostly healthy. But with all the restrictions you’d think I would get a pass on comments about his food. Oh No! I come from a long line of compulsive eaters and the fact that my son can’t have sugar is a tragedy of Homeric proportions. We are talking about full on wailing and gnashing of teeth over it. He’s not having sugar, if this is the worst thing that happens to him in childhood, we will have cause to celebrate!
My question is, “Why is it such a big deal, what kids eat?” Maybe when we make such a big deal about the food we send the wrong message. I would love it if my son grew up eating enough to fill his belly and not more or less out of some false feeling of obligation to eat or not eat the right amount.
If we need to obsess about what and how much our kids are eating maybe we should be obsessively grateful that we are able to feed our kids. As I write this, I am aware that there are mothers all over the globe who are stressing because there is no food to put in their children’s bellies. If we need to obsess, maybe we should obsess about fixing that. Something to think about.