Friday, April 17, 2009

Little Victories

One of the things that I am not crazy about in adults is pickiness. Everyone has the right to have a very short list of foods they don’t like, but I have met full-grown adults who don't eat vegetables at all or will eat only 2-3 vegetables and only when they are prepared a certain way. WHAT is THAT about? I think it is too easy to get stuck in your child-food-brain and not venture out and try things as an adult to outgrow childhood pickiness.

I want to raise kids who are not picky eaters. So we eat lots of kinds of things; we introduce the kids to lots of different foods. And there is the expectation that they will try everything. If they don’t like it, there will be lots of other opportunities to come around—we’ll be having it again in a week or two. The hubby is always worried about whether they eat their protein or not, but I think the real food battles are won with vegetables. It is so easy to be picky about things like mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, or onions.

So G loves certain vegetables. I love that she’ll practically inhale her asparagus before touching anything else on her plate. When I make pizza, I put mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, and she eats it with no problem. (I think we grossly underestimate what kids will eat—cheese pizza and chicken nuggets???) But she has never been so crazy about broccoli. She always has to eat at least three broccoli crowns (I am mean that way) but it is always with a lot of coaxing and prodding.

Tonight, for the first time, she ate her three little broccoli trees (we pretend we are dinosaurs eating trees) and she wanted MORE! She asked me for some of mine… then asked for more.

I was so proud!


Another wish of mine for my kids is that they learn how to stand up for themselves without being mean. I talk to G about not hitting and not saying mean things and what it feels like to have those things done to you. I hope she learns to be empathetic. Kids pick up meanness so early—it is so disheartening. I love that G is not mean (I am sure it could still happen, but I have my eyes peeled, my ears on alert, and my fingers crossed). I mean, she’ll hit, like any three year old, fighting over a toy, but she doesn’t exclude to be mean, she doesn’t say mean things, as I have seen other kids her age do.

But sometimes I worry that she’s not quite sure how to handle meanness directed at her. Sometimes I’ll see her playing with friends and see her stunned almost helpless expression when something mean is done to her. So I also talk to her about what to say when someone is mean.

Today when I picked her up from childcare, her teacher told me about an incident outside, when another girl had yelled at G. G told her loud and clear: “Don’t you talk like that to me.”

I am sure she picked that line up from me (when I tell her that she has to talk and treat me respectfully), but I love that she used it in that situation. She didn’t hit; she didn’t say something ugly—she calmly stated how she was not going to be treated.

I felt that rosy-warm inner bubble of pride well up: That’s my girl!


Marinka said...

oh, goodness, just adorable. I've tried to introduce my kids to a variety of foods, but even though they wre raised in the same family, my daughter is an omnivore and my son is so picky. He always has been. Always.

moseyalong said...

I too try to instill that confidence in my daughter. It bites me in the butt occasionally when I am required to back up my words. When she was around three, she was (like your daughter) completely pole-axed when a rotten little kid in the park wouldn't let her play with her. She got increasingly upset and when I comforted her and asked what she wanted to do (leave, find something/someone else to play with, etc.), she told me that she wanted me to ask the girl why she was being so mean. Gulp. (confrontation is not my strong suit, even when it's a 3 year old) But I knew I had to show my daughter that not only do I practice what I preach, but that I will back her up when needed.

So we went and asked. The little girl was a total little s&%t and still wouldn't play with my daughter (me? biased?), but at least my daughter came away knowing we did our best, and that she can't control what other people do but can control what she does and how she feels about it.

Can't believe I just wrote all that, I should have just done a blog post!

Danielle said...

I'm so glad she stood up for herself! That's important for kids to learn so they don't get bullied. Very cute picture of G. Love it! Thanks for visiting my photo blog, it's new so not many do.

anymommy said...

That give me a warm, rosy feeling! I hope for these same things. We really try for a lot of variety in food, but I do fall into a chicken nugget rut at times. Broccoli they will eat, as long as I serve a cheese 'dip.'