Eating Habits

I’ve written before about eating in our house. And I’ve written about the oldest girl’s note writing here and here. This, however, is not about a note she wrote to us. It’s about the things she eats (of which mommy is not always the best role model) and a note she wrote to one of those foods.

I found the note while preparing laundry, cleaning her pockets (and I have to stop to note the importance of this pocket purging: too many items have been laundered with candy wrappers, tissue, lip gloss, Monopoly money (why is this even in your pocket?)). I found the piece of paper and saw the word love and my mind immediately went into overdrive. Love? Love! She’s in fifth grade. Wait. This means she likes someone and I have been clueless. When did this start? How does she feel to feel this way? Has she shared these feelings with anyone else? A friend? Her sister? Her diary?

Slow down. Read the note first and go from there.

It said: Dear Twinkie, how I love you.

The laugh that I let out can only be described as gut-borne. I mean, I was damn near hysterical I was laughing so hard. It was a poem and went on to say something about the Twinkie’s spongy goodness and how she’d love to eat it everyday. This girl. This girl and her eating habits. We’ve known for years that she is going to have to learn to curb her desire for cake, pie, Twinkies, bread, and rice. “Wow, she’s gonna have to stay active,” we’ve said on more than one occasion. One night she asked for a slice of cake. We let her cut it herself. And we watched in horror as she cut a hunk, not a sliver, of cake. And then we watched her eat, no savor, it. And then we removed that cake from the table.

For weeks after, every time she asked for something after dinner, daddy would say, “You’ve already had cake.” Seriously, that piece of cake she ate should have lasted her a month. And then there’s rice. She could eat it daily. As could I, so I fully understand. But, I want to teach her to eat until she’s full and then stop. I haven’t really gotten the impression that she’s stuffing herself, but before it gets to that point, I want her to know when to stop. So, lately when she asks for seconds, the portions are decidedly smaller.

At the grocery store yesterday she asked for Fig Newtons. I got a pack like this:

“Can I eat all of them?”

“I don’t know, can you?”

(A huff) “May I eat all of them?”

“You may not.”

“May I eat one row?”

“Still no.”

I am in no way concerned about her weight. In fact, she’s probably still only in the 20th percentile for weight. But, I see it coming. She gets excited when we’re having rice or when she sees me stick bread in the oven. Just like me. But I want her to develop lifelong healthy eating habits, which means eating healthy and having healthy amounts. Odes to Twinkies don’t necessarily lead me to believe this will be an easily taught lesson. But, I suppose that by starting now, when I’m still in control of what’s delivered to the table, and in what amount, I am laying the foundation.

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