Sometimes I look at Master 4 with a perplexed look on my face and I truly don't get it.
I can present him with a healthy and nutritious meal that I've prepared only to have him screw his nose up and refuse to eat a bite. Set a happy meal in front of him though and it's on like Donkey Kong, in fact he eats it so fast them mooches leftovers from anyone who has been silly enough to have any left by the time he is finished.
This is the relationship that I had with food as a child, If it doesn't taste good then I'm not eating it. I remember exasperated sighs given over summer when my sister 'wanted salad for tea' and I would fight tooth and nail because 'salad isn't a meal, it's a side'. I lived for sweet, salty and takeaway everything else was just filler. I would eat what was dished up though complain loudly about it when it was not what 'I wanted'. On those times when Master 4 also pulls this stunt I become a frustrated and angry being. I worked hard to make that and you wont even try it, I cant even imagine what I put my poor mother through as I pulled this attitude until I moved out of home.
This attitude did me no favors, I always thought of myself as a good cook, which I am if it's cakes, deserts and slices.
Normal nutritious meals, not so much.
When I moved out I ate whatever I wanted which worked well for the 1st 3-4 months, then I found myself craving 'good foods' All of a sudden I would start preparing veggies as sides, and salad with grilled chicken. Who was this person, I don't have to answer to anyone so why am I not eating at McDonald's...
By the time this insight occurred I was pushing 100kg....
So back to Master 4, I can see this in him his love for doughnuts, cookies and snack foods that knows no bounds he loves a sandwich, especially peanut butter and will eat more fruit than should be humanly possible. I am starting to question myself, is this a good attitude to have? Should I be limiting his fruit intake and playing the battle of wills at dinnertime.
He is by no means overweight, I believe that the sheer amount of energy he burns just to function at the high speed non stop level that he does would negate the majority of 'bad foods' that does cross his little lips. I am strict about snack foods and processed foods he is only allowed to have a biscuit, or cake, or muesli bar each day. I constantly discuss portions and consequence
Mum: 'If you have your pack of tiny teddies now you will be angry later when your sister eats hers and you cant have any more,"
Master 4 "I know mum but I want it now"
10 minutes later.... "I want some more teddies"
1 hour later.... "Miss 1 has some, it's not fair"
2 hours later..." Please I want more teddies"
4 hours later mummy is ready to lose the plot as all I've heard for the past two hours is that slow 4 year old whine "i want, i want, I want!"
In this time frame he will have eaten, 2 apples, a banana, a tub of yogurt and a sandwich but will still insist he's starving and needs those teddies!
So what is the solution, I understand his want/need for those foods he adores and how it can control your thoughts and make you feel gooey and warm inside when you do get them. I understand that you don't really want them, you NEED them, like oxygen. I understand as I too was him and continued to be that way until my early 20's.
How do I explain to Master 4 that if he continues to eat what he wants, when he wants he'll end up a miserable adult and a slave to food.
How can I protect him from the same fate I suffered, I do not want him to be picked on in school or criticized for everything he eats. I don't want him to feel deprived every time he see's a fast food chain sign and thinks about that salty bounty within. He LOVES food just as I did.
I am attempting to change my ways, as I still have a love affair with hot jam doughnuts chocolate chip cookies even now I get that gooey feeling when I consume them. How can I teach a 4 your old to control an impulse that has taken me until now to fully admit to and attempt to contain.
How can I teach him that sometimes even if you think your hungry your not?
How can I protect him from hitting the obese category due to his genuine love of food and inability to stop?
I don't blame my parents for letting me down, I can appreciate how awful it must have been for them and how much easier it was to dish up what I wanted than deal with the arguments and the foot stomping and the grunts of dissatisfaction. Now the tables have turned and I don't want that for my kids, they deserve more and they deserve the head start in life that come with being healthy and normal.
My parents (though I love them anyway) were terrible roll models, my father has NO idea about nutrition and was never on board with mum when she was attempting to right the wrongs of poor food choices. He would grunt and play with his food then eat a pack of chips half an hour after dinner. Mum tried her hardest, but working full time, with 3 children (my father, my sister and I) all whining about not liking this that or the other I don't blame her for giving up. Being a parent myself now I understand the pressures she was under and absolutely don't blame her for dishing up the same things time after time, it was easier than the arguing and the effort needed for all of us to even try something new... or something vegetable....
My dad and sister are those people that can eat anything and stay slim.... mum and I are not. So alas Dad's instance on dessert after each meal and then the after dinner snacking was a habit that Mum and I both didn't need (and consequently suffered for)
The best I have at the moment is positive role modeling and leading by example but whenever I look at Master 4's epic disappointment that there will be no nuggets for dinner, or no doughnut when shopping I feel his pain and wish I had the magic wand that would make him understand that what I'm doing is not to punish him, or deprive him, It's to protect him.