Yesterday morning it took all of 30 seconds after I opened my eyes for me to realize that I wanted a s’more for breakfast. No, I’m not camping or even suffering from PMS. I just knew that all the fixings were downstairs and I imagined dipping that sticky mess in my morning coffee. The only problem is that both kids would want s’mores as well. Once again I’d be offering dessert with breakfast. It took all of 5 seconds for me to beat down the “shouldn’t” thoughts that tried to creep into my mind.

Both my kids are skinny; all knees and elbows, constantly stabbing me as they use me as a human jungle gym. I wish they had better appetites but neither of them has ever cared much for food. They eat when they are hungry, stop when they are full. They eat to live. I don’t bribe them with food or punish them by restricting sweets. Around here the name of the game is balance. Over the years while attempting to keep them alive, I’ve relied on them to guide me. By focusing on their taste preferences and natural eating patterns demonstrated in infancy, mealtimes are pretty stress free around here.

There are feeding problems and eating problems. Both my children have feeding problems. Hypotonia, medication side effects, allergies and sensory issues affect the way they chew, taste, and digest food. If I played by the rule of “should” and ignore their individual needs then I’d be as miserable and stressed out as many other moms I know. Eating problems develop when feeding problems are ignored or not identified. Mealtime is primetime for psychological issues surrounding food and body image to be transferred from parent to child.

There is such a big difference between feeding and eating problems yet when the natural process of eating to live becomes a struggle between parent and child, mealtimes become battles instead and what should be a natural and enjoyable process. I find it pathetic that eating and sleeping, two of the most basic and natural human needs have become areas where parents feel they need coaching and support from professionals in order to do it right with their children.

Science tells us that human beings are incredibly complex. It’s fantastic really, all the things that make up an individual. Identical twins have the exact same DNA yet they have different fingerprints. If such sameness at a molecular level can produce that kind of difference with the building blocks of life, then who are we to treat each kid the same when it comes to supplying them with the fuel that keeps them alive?

Dr. Spock told people to use common sense and trust their instincts. He also said to follow the directions given by the doctor. Dr. Spock admitted in later years that he had made some mistakes in his books and actively worked to keep up with the science and psychology of human development up until he died. He never stopped learning! Sometimes the doctor is wrong. The experts don’t know your child. Hell, you might not know own child.

My point? A food fight is only fun if you are shoving mashed potatoes in your cheeks and pretending to be a pus filled zit like John Belushi but that’s just my opinion.

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  • I used to fight all the time with my oldest about eating certain things. I am learning to pick my battles. I used to feel terrible about the fighting later. "Mom guilt"
    Nicole, I've been reading for a while now but just joined. I love the blog and look forward to new things. I wish I had joined up when you wrote about the ADHD. My middle son was diagnosed years ago and I could go on and on for days. Anyway, again, look forward to new stuff from you and the comments from your readers. It's always nice to get others thoughts on things, good or bad. Keep it coming!!

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  • glad you are reading. i'll keep writing about this stuff. i promise. prooooommise.

  • All very true! I usually only insist that my kids give new foods a try. If they don't enjoy it, they don't have to eat it. I treat Green Eggs and Ham like the gospel of dinnertime.

  • In reply to EdithMyfist:

    we insist that they try everything as well. a try is NOT sticking a tongue on the food and pronouncing it "disgusting." i try is a good size bite that is chewed up and swallowed. of course if they puke that's a whole 'nother story, right?

  • I hate it that I have to be the sweets police. I would love to follow my daughter's lead but left to her own devices she would eat nothing but sugar. I guess it's my fault -- I ate mangoes and chocolate shakes all the time when I was pregnant with her!

    But since I hate the food battles, I just don't keep junk food around. That way she can have whatever's here. Usually fruit or yogurt. But then she goes and digs into raw spaghetti! Weird kid.

    I am going to get up at 5am tomorrow morning just so I can have a surreptitious s'more for breakfast tomorrow.

  • In reply to christinewhitley:

    i know that i am lucky that my kids self-regulate. i realize some kids don't. my kids just don't know any different as we have always offered a meal ending sweet.

  • In reply to christinewhitley:

    S'mores in the microwave....yes. I highly doubt they are any worse for kids than Pop Tarts or sugary cereal. There are grains in there somewhere.

  • In reply to staciemcdonaldpr:

    i have a bad ass s'more making kit. seriously, kids today have all the good stuff. i shall stalk your blog whoever you are mr./mrs. alotoflayers.

  • In reply to christinewhitley:

    kids will usually parrot what they see/hear, and that includes eating habits. If they see you eat broccoli, they'll usually at least try it, if they see mom-mom drink milk with dinner--- they will drink milk with dinner too... some, not all, eat by example. Moderation and communication are the keys to EVERYTHING, including sweet treats. and btw, thnx for being an absolutely spot on example of so many of us. You're a EPIC representive, love love love you and mwdas. you inspire me-thnx for breaking my blog cherry-lol

  • In reply to karand1194:

    truth miss karen. TRUTH! all about balance and love. you broke your cherry blog? where can i find you? let the stalking and mutual loving commence!

  • In reply to christinewhitley:

    Came here after reading Rea's blog, and TOTALLY agree with you re: eating vs. feeding. My kids are like twopinklines though...I do feel like my younger one would eat sugar 24/7 if I let her. Maybe I need to let her and see what happens.

  • In reply to lefish:

    hey there lefish........glad you like the blog. kids are weird. some self regulate so well, others not so much. being flexible and understanding as a parent goes a long way........

  • In reply to christinewhitley:

    it's frustrating when kids don't self regulate. makes you wonder what's going on internally both physically and emotionally. keep trying miss thang, you'll get it by the time they go to college! xo

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