Kyra sings the last song from Skippyjon Jones and tosses it off the side of the bed. Strands of her long black hair tickle my nose. I kiss her warm little head, nestled in the crook of my right shoulder. She reaches for my face with her lips and plants a kiss on my nose.
“Pointy Kiss,” she giggles.
I look forward to this time of the day, where warm beneath a comforter, I get some one-on-one time with my kids mixed with a dose of education before I tuck them to bed.
Ethan is supposed to be in the crook of my left shoulder, but lately, he doesn’t seem interested in anything but food.
Ever since Halloween, Ethan’s first words in the morning to me are: “Kit Kat?” And when that doesn’t produce results, he runs into the kitchen and tries to put away the silverware in our dishwasher. He has seen Kyra receive a Kit Kat for doing house chores, so he figures that that might butter me up.
Eventually, he gives up and demands, “Snack?” When I offer him nutritious stuff like rice, meat, and vegetables, he stamps his little feet impatiently. Sometimes, he will drag a chair over to our pantry and help himself to Kyra’s lunch items: boxes of organic juices or fruit snacks.
Fortunately, he hasn’t learned how to open these products, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve failed as a parent in teaching my child how to eat right. Sure, after enduring several tantrums, I eventually get him to eat what I cook. But this boy is extremely selective. He throws out the rice and vegetables and only consumes meat.
I consulted my sister-in-law, Kay, who is a mother of two boys, seven and nine. She always has an answer for any problem you might be experiencing. Been there, done that. I love it! So, she suggested not stocking the pantry with products I don’t want my kids to eat. When shopping, teach them how to read nutrition labels. For example, she won’t let her boys put anything in their cart that lists sugar as the top three ingredients. Also, set up rules, like you can’t eat dessert until you finish your fruit.
Finally Kay said, “Try explaining that certain foods are ‘brain foods’ that help them become smarter! And kids need more brain food than grown-ups because their brains are growing. Kids seem to like the argument that they are more special than grown-ups anyway!”
I couldn’t wait to try these out, except my first challenge I realized was weaning myself and Thomas off junk food.
“So, where did your brother go?” I asked Kyra.
She wrapped her arms around my neck and said, “I don’t know, Mommee. I love you.”
“I love you too,” I cooed.
“The girls are sleepy,” Kyra said as she closed her eyes.
As I started to relax in her embrace, I heard tiny feet pitter pattering down the hall to my bedroom.
“Mommee!” Ethan cried. He thundered into the room and leaped onto the side of my bed so that his baby face could loom above mine.
“Time for bed, Ethan.”
“Uh,” he grunted and pointed at his mouth.
“No, Kit Kat,” I said wearily. He had bounced mercilessly on my stomach when we started to read books, begging for candy, even though earlier today, he had succeeded in manipulating half of one out of me.
“Uh,” he insisted. This time, he opened his mouth as wide as he could inches from my nose.
With disbelief, I could smell the chocolate oozing from his gut. This was not a hungry innocent boy asking his mom to feed him. This was a triumphant two-year-old, who got his way. He either charmed one from Daddy or figured out how to get inside our baby proof cabinet where I had hid the plastic pumpkin heavy with their Halloween stash. And instead of secretly swallowing it so that I was none the wiser, he actually wanted me to know that he could circumvent my rules!
As we get ready for next Tuesday’s topic on nutrition, please share with us how you get your kid to eat healthy?