A friend told me recently that one of her goals as a mother was to make sure she raised gracious children who were pleasant to be around. It got me thinking...about my own child-rearing ideas.
Any parent would be lying if they say they didn't have some ideas on how they were going to mold their children into good, smart contributing members of society. They are, in essence, a reflection of who you are as a person, right? That is why the term "mommy guilt" even exists. You did a good job raising them, therefore you are a good person. They fuck up? You fucked up. Yes, yes, yes, they are their own people. They have their own lives, their own paths, their own personalities. But still...
As you spend all those years feeding them, wiping their noses, giving them baths, reminding them to say "please" and "thank you," teaching them the good in telling the truth and the not-so-good in lying...the line gets blurred. The line between what you give them and what they eventually choose to take.
For me? I want my kids not to be picky eaters. Picky eaters represent a number of things to me -- close-mindedness being one. I want them to embrace the world. To know that the world is big and scary and wonderful and exciting...and theirs.
We are a biracial family. I want them to be open to different cultures because they are the beautiful product of what happens when you not only learn to love another culture, but make that other culture part of your family.
To me, food is a huge part of that. You don't want to eat different types of food? You don't really want to know the world.
And would you believe, after all those lofty ideas and notions...I have a picky eater. A really, really picky eater. I'm talking won't even try stuff. Turns his nose up. In fact, wrinkles it in disdain if what is put in front of him isn't pizza or chicken.
My lot is not unusual. This country is filled with picky eaters. I go to pick up my son at preschool and can easily spend a good 10 minutes with other moms talking about how our kids won't eat jack shit. There are even studies and books about how we are raising a country of picky eaters.
But, I was never, never, never a picky eater (see that halo? I'm shining it extra bright for y'all). How could I have raised such a son-of-a-gun when it came to food?
And there's the rub of it all, folks. We offer the same food to all our kids and two out of three of the kids at least try the food. We give our kids the lessons and options and consequences we think are good and right for them, and they do with it what they will. Even at age four.
We have cut out snacking, which I have to say helps with the pickiness. Extreme hunger wins...even with the pickiest eaters. Oh and my husband was a picky eater. But you wouldn't know it today. When we travel to Thailand, he goes balls-out. This gives me hope.