Food: the latest four-letter word that has me scratching my head.
My parents immigrated to the States from Portugal, so needless to say I come from a family that operates around meals. Couriço, fava beans and sweet bread, these were all staples in my household growing up. If I dared to venture under a size 6, my dear Avó (grandmother) – who lived with us – would accuse me of looking too thin. “Eat, eat!” she still says to me before I have a chance to put down my keys.
Unfortunately, my appreciation of food begins at the dinner table and not in the kitchen. But that’s why I married an outstanding cook. 🙂
Looking back on my 20s, I’m not really sure what I did for dinner most nights. I guess I ordered a lot of takeout.
But now that I’m a mom, I’ve set the standard high for what goes in my baby’s belly: only the best. I’m still nursing, so I know he’s getting the best milk possible. When he started with solid foods, I proudly bought the freshest organic ingredients and used my fancy baby food maker to make meals myself. A for effort, but after 2 months of pureeing carrots every morning before work, we switched to organic food in a jar.
I’ve introduced foods in a very methodical manner. One new ingredient for 3 days straight to watch for allergic reactions. So now we’ve got a good base of ingredients in our repertoire — just in time to start finger foods.
Here’s the problem: I really am culinarily-challenged. (I promise, that’s a word.) I do try, but the poor little guy turns his head at my bland cooking. I’m not terribly competitive, but I find myself checking out the other kids’ meals at daycare and I feel so sorry for Jack. I really want him to like food. I love food.
So we’re at a crossroads and I think it’s time to re-evaluate. What Would Avó Do?
I can imagine her saying – in Portuguese – “would you just let the child eat?” So eat, he will.
Instead of buying “Jack’s fruits and veggies” (organic) and “our fruits and veggies” (whatever’s on sale), we’ll be buying one set of healthy groceries and preparing one set of meals in Casa Donnelly. I think we all deserve to eat what’s best for our bodies.
So congratulations, Jack, you’ll be graduating to whatever we’re having for dinner. (I know, no peanut butter until age 3 and let’s hold the habaneros for a while.) You lose the bland mommy meals. I eat organic and gain time.
Win-win-win. Isn’t that what parenting’s about?