Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Food Glorious Food
Janey is 11 and a half. She's changing in every single way and it's hard on her, and everyone else in the house as well. She is moody and irritable and also hilarious most of the time. Lately, she and I have been going head to head on food. My kids have always done a pretty great job making their own choices about food. I don't force them to eat things they don't like. I often suggest that they try something new before deciding that it is disgusting, but they are usually adventurous eaters and know how to make a peanut butter sandwich when they don't like what's being offered.
A few weeks ago I began to notice that Janey was becoming a junk food junkie. I couldn't remember the last time she'd had a vegetable. She ate macaroni and cheese and cereal for days. She scarfed on potato chips and chocolate. I calmly let her know that I was concerned she might not be getting the nutrition she needed. Inside, I was freaking out. As the days passed, I found myself getting more and more controlling. I watched her like a hawk. I was obsessed with what she was putting in her mouth. This was not good for our relationship. We already drive each other nuts. She told me to lay off. She reminded me that her body knew what it needed, and that right then, it needed more chocolate. I left the room, and freaked out again. And then I had to stop. I was making myself crazy.
It didn't take long for me to remember, and I pretty much knew all along, that my obsession with Janey's diet had nothing to do with Janey. It had everything to do with me. I love food. I eat well....most of the time. But, I do have my moments when nothing but chocolate will do. I also suffer from a nagging fear that if I'm not careful, I will turn into a junk food junkie as well. Tonight, the kids are at their dad's. I had popcorn for dinner. I don't want to Janey to know that. I want her to believe that I prepare healthy, creative, nutritious meals for myself, even when she's not looking. But I have the sneaking suspicion that my relationship with my daughter will improve greatly if I can begin to let go of my fear that she is going to turn into me, and just love her, exactly the way she is.