A couple years ago I posted something on Facebook about how I spent the evening fighting with my toddler over vegetables. I expected sympathy from my mom friends. Instead I got a smackdown. “You need to learn to pick your battles,” one said. “Let it go,” another said. “You’re in for a fun life if you make a big deal out of that.”
Wow. I mean, Supernanny makes kids stay at the table until they’ve eaten their green beans. And she knows everything.
I would lie awake all night worrying my daughter wasn’t going to grow or thrive because she ate nothing with nutritional value. (Read: I was ticked off that I had made her her own special meal because I knew for sure she wouldn’t eat what we were having and thought, dang it, I stood in the kitchen and made this, you’re gonna eat it.)
But the comments got me thinking. Maybe I was being too hard on Julia. She was otherwise a really good kid. Why create drama over dinner? If she doesn’t want to eat, she doesn’t have to eat, I decided.
My newfound attitude carried over to other things. Screaming and hysteria when I tried to get her to drink out of a regular cup? Fine. Sippy it is. Surely, she’ll figure it out one day. She won’t drink beer out of one when she gets to college, right? I let it go.
Who needs tears over trying new foods? It’s just food. There are so many more important things to cry about.
This was fun. This was freeing.
This was stupid.
Because now, I have a 4½-year-old who hasn’t eaten a vegetable other than corn for two years. I have a 4½-year-old who still uses a sippy cup and doesn’t know how to drink out of a straw. I have a 4½-year-old who eats Eggos and yogurt for breakfast, noodles with butter for lunch and chicken for dinner – EVERY SINGLE DAY – for years.
Lesson learned here: Being a mom isn’t easy and sometimes there will be tears. But I have to trust my own judgment and teach the things I think are important. Even if it means being the bad guy. (Note to self: More Supernanny, less Facebook!)
So my goal this summer is to teach an old toddler some new tricks. We’re going to eat new foods and drink out of a cup. Maybe we’ll go crazy and try to master the elusive Capri Sun!
Wish me luck.