When it comes to parenting, I tend to lean towards the controlling side. It’s not that I don’t want my daughter to experience normal freedoms. Of course I do. It just that when I look at this little life that we created, I feel an immense responsibility.
I want her to have the best. The best of what I had growing up and the best of what I didn’t have. When I stop and think about the impact my decisions can have on her future, it makes me anxious. I want to do everything right.
If I let her play dress-up and wear my pretty shoes while
equally encouraging her to explore sports,
If I try to foster her love of books without pushing too hard,
If I balance the amount of discipline I give with lots cuddles and love,
I want to believe that the nurture side of things can impact her life; it isn’t all up to nature. What Tim and I do as parents will make a difference.
And if you would have asked me a year ago if good eaters were born or made, I would have been quick to answer that they are made. I was confident that I could mold Meghan into a “good eater”, whatever that may mean, by feeding her right from the beginning.
An information junkie, I started reading books on nutrition for babies and toddlers early on. I breastfed Meghan exclusively for 6 months (2 years total) and then started solids.
Fast forward to today. The girl who from age one to two would eat just about any vegetable I put in front of her is steadily becoming more and more difficult to get to eat any type of vegetable. Her new favorite meal time phrase is, “No, I don’t like it!”
It isn’t just vegetables that she won’t eat. There’s a whole list of foods that she refuses to eat most of the time these days: pasta, rice, beans, some fruits (!), and meat.
Luckily, she still drinks her smoothies and will usually eat avocado (Hallelujia!), but those are the healthiest things she’ll eat consistently. She asks for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at almost every meal.
So my tune is changing. I’m not sure that there’s anything I could have done differently to avoid this period of pickiness. Could I make it worse by giving in to her demands and giving her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at every meal? I’m sure that would make it much worse. But could I have averted this, somehow done something to ensure Meghan would always eat and enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods? I don’t think so.
Those kind of eaters are just born that way.
I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this topic, especially those of you that have older children and more than one child. Do you think good eaters are made or born?