I have been doing a lot of soul searching these last few days. Why do I feel responsible for MAKING Porgie eat? How did I let her eating habits get so out of control? How am I going to change our situation?
I like being in control. I set mealtimes, bedtimes, and bath times. I decide what the kids will eat, which clothes they will wear, and which play dates we will attend. I keep close tabs on what the kids watch on TV, which books they read at home, and which music we listen to in the car. I call all the shots around here. So naturally, I thought it was my responsibility to control the type and amount of food that my children ate. As a result, I dread mealtimes because Porgie is always defying me. She spits out food, refuses to swallow the food in her mouth, and sometimes she refuses to even touch her meal. At first, I thought that this was just typical toddler behavior. But I think we are crossing into a whole new area of defiance. My child would rather not eat, than deal with my bossy and controlling attitude. I said it before, and I'll say it again - I SUCK.
Although this issue might seem trivial to you, it has consumed my thoughts for months. How do I change our habits? Do I have the willpower to let her refuse dinner and go to bed hungry? And for a while, I didn't have the willpower. She would refuse to eat, and I would push harder. But I am done. I don't want to distort Porgie's ideas about food. I want her to listen to her body's hunger signals. I want her to have healthy eating habits. But really, I just want her to be a happy and healthy little girl.
On the way to the grocery store this afternoon, I stopped at Borders. I was flipping through a book, when I saw this quote, "Parents are responsible for what is presented to eat and the manner in which it is presented. Children are responsible for how much or even whether they eat." I am making a poster of this quote, and I am hanging it in my kitchen. Every time I feel the urge to be a food bully, I am going to read these wise words. Thank you Ellyn Satter.