Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It's In Her Genes

I commented on someone else's blog today -- was it today? Lord, my days are confused! -- that Punkin looks nothing like me. People have alternately said that Bubba looks like I spit him out or that he's my twin, but Punkin? Hardly anything of mine. She DID get my dimples and originally had my blue eyes, but though the dimples remain the blue eyes have slowly turned green like her dad's. I mean, look at these pictures of Punkin next to her Daddy:

But there is one other thing of mine that she inherited -- my love of food. And eating. The child will eat anything. And she'll eat a lot of it. And whatever I have she wants some of it, which makes me nuts. Over the holidays, if she caught me snacking on something, she had to have some too. That reminded me of something my mom used to say to us as kids "If I had some doo doo, you'd want some too!" She and I had a good laugh about that on New Year's Day. I think she's secretly pleased that I'm getting my comeuppance!

But I've always loved food. My dad's side of the family are notorious for it, though my mom is an excellent cook and loves as good meal as much as I do. Even as a child my mom would let me order whatever I wanted at restaurants -- steak, even! -- because she knew I would eat what I ordered.

And I plan my vacations around food. Around where we're going to eat. I got a little peeved at Mr. Daddy on our trip to Dollywood because he chose a restaurant that didn't suit me. He chose it because it wasn't very crowded, but in my eyes that just means it's not any good. My dad owned a restaurant for years and he always said two things: 1) if a restaurant's not busy, it's probably not very good and 2) never trust a skinny cook! I didn't get a look at the cook at this place, but we should have known something by the lack of crowd. So I was disappointed. We don't get to go out to restaurants very often, so I like to make them count!

But I do worry a little about Punkin's relationship with food. Mine has always been fairly healthy, for the most part. My mom didn't keep junk food in the house and none of us are sweets eaters. My biggest problem is portion control. If something is delicious, I just have to have a little more. And a little more. And a little more. I mean, I CAN control myself. I have successfully maintained my weight for years. I know the way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. But I love to eat. It gives me pleasure. And sometimes -- when life is hard, the kids are fussing, there are bills to pay, and I'm tired -- if something is delicious? I'm going to eat it. And I'm probably going to eat it all.

I don't keep junk food in the house for the kids. They eat an apple or a banana for a snack while I'm cooking dinner. I can probably count on one hand the number of times Bubba has had a coke or other carbonated beverage -- though what happens at MeMe's, STAYS at MeMes. But the other night Punkin had THREE helpings of Spaghetti Pie. THREE. And not teeny tiny portions either. Part of me wondered if I should tell her no? But what if she was truly hungry? Or what if it was just delicious and she just wanted more? Part of me loves to see her eat because Bubba eats (and likes) so little.

But I want her to have a healthy relationship with food. I don't want her to be ruled by the scale (which I don't own, by the way -- everyone is better off if I don't know how much I weigh. I monitor my weight by how my clothes fit). But, I don't want eating to be just a way to stay alive. I want her to enjoy food. How do you find that balance?

I guess the best answer is for me to try to be a good role model. But good grief, isn't' there an easier way!


Lauren said...

I lo-huuuv food it. Wanna marry it. It's a good thing I think! Nice to have something youre passionate about...also nice to have an ENTIRE channel dedicated to something you love ;)

AndreAnna said...

This is a tough subject for me, because having come from "large" families, both my husband and I constantly battle our weight.

I grew up unhealthy, not knowing good versus bad, and plan to end that now. Charlotte gets her treats, but she also gets whole grains, veggies, and fruits - things I didn't know existed growing up.

I don't want my battles to become my daughter's, or my issues with body image to taint her own.

It is a tough line to walk. And something I think about often.

Amanda said...

Oh, you are singing my song, Sister! I grew up in a "clean your plate! There are kids starving in China" household. I literally was forced to eat even though I was to the point of almost vomiting. Go figure that I had to learn, as an adult, how to eat until I'm no longer hungry instead of stuffed!

I just faced this battle with my own daughter. Except she's like Bubba and will hardly eat a thing. I decided that I needed to focus on the big picture for her and not the day-to-day battle.

First, I want her to learn to eat when she's hungry. Not when the clock tells her to eat. It's important to listen to your body's cues.

Second, I want her to make healthy choices. Her snacks are usually fruits, vegetables and something yummy like a muffin or cereal bar.

Third, I want her to eat until she's no longer hungry. NOT when she's full (that's too much) and NOT when she's satisfied (that's still just a little too much) but when she's NO LONGER HUNGRY.

We don't argue over food and she has her own snack shelf in the fridge. I do my best to keep the sugar and junk out, but don't mind the occasional treat.

Great post! :)

Amanda said...

Btw - you totally made my day when I saw that you link to me.

You like me! You really like me!

Thank you so much - what a compliment! :)

All Adither said...

As long as she's eating good stuff, which it sounds like she is, I wouldn't worry too much. The time might come when she gets pickier and you'll be wishing for these days back.


Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I'm so glad I haven't had to fight that battle with Alexis. She came programmed with good habits. For example, last night I was eating a piece of chocolate, so of course she wanted some. We went to the kitchen to get it, but then she saw the bananas and wanted one of those instead. Give the kid the choice of candy vs. banana, she'll take banana every time. I just hope she stays that way.

Oh, and I don't know, I think I see a little of you in Punkin. She's at least got your hair. Maybe a little bit more.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Obviously I need to learn to do a better job of reading. But really, who would have thought a boy would have that hair?

Now I have to go digging through your archives to see if I can find any resemblence between you and her. I'm thinking the nose is the same, but I need side-by-side photographic evidence.

Laurel said...

That picture of your husband and Punkin are hilarious! Carbon copies I'd say.

As for the food, I struggle a little bit with my kids, too. It's a fine line to walk. I think the worse thing I could do is to make them feel self-conscious about food or weight or body, so I don't comment a lot. The rule is they have to try everything on their plate, but after that it's mostly up to them.

I think you're right in that you want them to listen to their bodies. Eat when they are hungry, not just to eat. When they are still this young it's awfully hard because they aren't really clear about all of that yet.

This is not an easy one. But you've got me thinking.

By the way, thank you for your sweet comment on my blog the other day. What a great surprise. My blogging friends have become a joy!

Karen said...

Ah, the great food debate. It drives me nuts, feeding the kids. The preteens are trying to put us in the poorhouse with their insane amounts of sustenance taken in daily, and the younger two will pick and choose until I'm nearly mad with the battle.

Karen said...

Oh, and the picture of your hubby cracks me up. He was raised in the same era as my hubby. Oh, those pictures are priceless, are they not? And Punkin could be his twin.

Lulu said...

Those two look like twins!!

I try to eat a bowl of oatmeal and a palm-full of almonds every day for breakfast. It keeps me satisfied until lunch, and it's good for the cholesterol. Of course, a Bojangles ham and egg biscuit sneaks it's way into my diet every now and again...

Colleen said...

wow...Punkin and Mr. Daddy are a couple of peas in a pod, huh?

I have a similar problem with Gavin...either he eats nothing or everything-and-then-some. There are times where he'll eat more than I do. I worry that I'm letting him eat too much. So I try to let him go hog-wild on the healthier stuff and just make sure that if he really likes something not as good for him, that I limit it and redirect him to something better for him, even if it's only marginally better (how 'bout a cracker honey, instead of cookies?).