Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Parenting epiphany #1

I had an epiphany.  Led by my A type personality, the fact that I overthink pretty much everything many things and my insatiable need to figure things out I found myself at the family resource center at the children's hospital with a book titled, "How to get your kid to eat but not too much".  During nap time I speed read the important parts and it boils down to this:  In feeding our children there is a division of responsiblity.  As a parent, my JOB is to buy groceries, cook them in a tasty and well presented way and put them on the table in a cheerful manner.  The children are responsible for what and how much of it goes into their mouths.  Corbin won't try to do my job and I shouldn't try to do his.  Full stop.  Epiphany.  Being a Mama is different than any other job I've ever had or thought about.  At work, at play and even in relationships it always seems like the better option to do MORE than less or even just your share.  I'm a worker bee - it's what I do.  Well intended, well meaning... worker bee.  So, when I see a little boy who I love more than anything who only a month ago was eating what I would judge to be left overs or even gruel, I want to give him and fill him full of the best, the most healthy, the yummiest food I can come up with... and when he objects, rejects or refuses, it not only hurts my grown up - should know better than that feelings it makes me feel like I'm failing him in ways that I don't want to... but I'm not.  I am doing my job - I'm playing my role... and so is he.  EXHALE HERE.  He is a little boy who is overwhelmed by the newness of everything and in all reality, he's probaby eating just fine.  He is happily showing up to the table and we are doing our best to let each other know what is good, yucky, yummy, when he's had enough, when he wants more and when he just doesn't feel like eating.  I feel about a million times better after reading this little snipit and other advice.

Funny how this piece of advice isn't just for eating though.  Today, we went to watch Ashton at his hockey camp. Great news hockey fans - Corbin took one look at the kids in their gear, the ice, the sticks and how much fun they were having and he demanded OVER and OVER and OVER to go on the ice. I tried to reason with him that he didn't have skates - answer? - well then I'll take my shoes off and now I can go right Mama?  I can't wait for him to try out skating and do hope he wants to play the game.  Which leads me to my next point and smaller epiphany.  As we sat in the stands I couldn't help but notice a father angrily pacing at the glass.  He got to a point where he could yell out onto the ice to his little boy who was merrily making snow angels and falling down a lot. "Encouragement" went something like this: "GET UP!!! Stop messing around!!! Pay attention!  I have told you 100x skate properly! C'mon boy - do it right!"... my heart sank for this little boy as I watched his father stomp angrily to the other end where his son's group had moved to. His body language screamed something like: I've paid a lot of money for this camp - stop wasting it! or I've always wanted my son to be a hockey star and you are embarassing me!  or You look like the worst kid out there - you are wasting my time! or I expect you to be better than that... all spirit crushing options.  It occured to me that the division of labor holds true here too:  As parents, it is our job to provide good, fun, engaging, enthralling, educational, healthy opportunities for our children.  Our job is to buy the gear, pay the fees, encourage, help,tie, cheer, kiss owies, and do laundry. Their job is to show up and be happy and find their passion.  It may not be hockey, it may not be soccer, it may not be math or physics or mountain biking... but my job as Corbin's Mama is to help him find what it is that makes him smile.  I can't smile for him - I can't do his job.  I may 'waste' money on failed efforts in pursuit of his passion... but it's my job to celebrate whatever it is whole heartedly and pack up the array of equipment that doesn't meet the mark.  They aren't mini me's... they are mini thems and we need to feed, water, love, and celebrate what makes them wonderful - even the parts that might disappoint us along the way. 
So, tonight, after my soccer game where he ran and chased and kicked the ball for about an hour, we came home and shared his first bowl of popcorn (one of Mama's passions lol) and watched Thomas the Train (or as Corbin says when he's exicted Taw-MOOSE!) which is currently one of his passions.


Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

My girlz are on eating cycles. NEVER, and I mean NEVER have they eaten what I consider 3 solid meals a day. They may eat a great lunch, after no breakfast and then a great dinner.
As long as C is eating something, he will be ok...I did alot of bread with butter and local honey for my big girl. Kefir is STILL on our menu..
Foods to try for a picky eater.
rasberries blueberries blackberries

saltines with butter and honey
bread with butter and honey
jam/jelly with cream cheese on bread beans..Just a few, and show him how to eat them one at a time..the taste may be too much if eating a whole bite of it..

Ensure drinks in a sippy cup, while being rocked...My big girl still hates to eat before school, so she drinks one of these for breakfast everyday.

Oatmeal, flavored with yogurt..Yuk I know, but this is similar to what my girlz ate for breakfast.

keep on keepin' on, it will get better! and he will eat when he is good and hungry!

Iraida and Valeria Sofia said...

We have the best job in the entire universe :)

alicia said...

love what you wrote here about finding what he loves and little "thems" are already an incredible mother!! my heart swells with happiness for you with each post! yippppeeeeee!

Sandy said...

Stacey - congratulations on getting Corbin home, I've been following you for a long time and I am so glad you finally made it through. We were originally only about 6 months behind you, but we were with WACAP and had to switch agencies after the Hansen incident. We are now redoing our paperwork (homestudy AND Dossier) so we can travel back for trip 2 to complete our adoption.

Anyway, I appreciated what you said about how they are not mini-me's, they are mini-thems. I see so many parents get so caught up in this idea, that their kids are a reflection on them. It is true that there is some reflection of us, but it's NOT all about us. I think adoption can be freeing in a sense because we are not so wrapped up with the "no child of mine will (insert undesired outcome here)." We can appreciate who they are, as a thing separate from who we are.

Anyway - congrats again! (PS - You can find me over at

jo said...

Hey Stac~food! They also say that it can take 10-20 tastes/introductions for a kiddo to eat a new food. I am so happy he gained a bit! You're doing super!! I really like the Annabel Karmer cookbooks for kids~fun presentation of food can help they say. Try some international foods, you maybe surprised. Beckett loves lebenese and greek food, sushi minus the wasabi:) and anything Italian with red sauce but no white sauce. I don't know where you sit on baked goodies but I would try those too~cinnamon buns with raisins and you can get some iron into him! will he eat fish?