I was super thin when I was a kid. And I mean super thin. On a good day I was about 110 pounds which, at nearly 5’8″ is a rather scary number, and I swear that my crazy hair accounted for at least 20% of my weight! But my low weight wasn’t intentional. Back then I had no idea what a calorie was, nor did I care – I simply had no appetite and no interest in food.
As you can imagine, my parents were at their wit’s end with my eating habits (or lack thereof). They tried everything to get me to eat – threats, promises, and even bribes – but how do you make a child eat when they don’t want to? Actually, how can you get a child to do anything they don’t want to do? Well, as I am slowly finding out, you often can’t.
I used to foil my parent’s attempts to get me to take a bite, at every turn:
- At breakfast I’d pour myself a bowl of Raisin Bran under my mother’s watchful eye. But when she was preoccupied with yelling at my brother because he got suspended again, or my sister because she used her “emergency” credit card to buy shoes, I’d hightail it to the bathroom to pour the cereal down the sink.
- I’d make and take a tomato sandwich to school every day for lunch, just so my mom would think I was eating lunch. But it usually ended up uneaten and in the trash. Instead I’d buy a King Sized Snickers and a Dr. Pepper and chow down, because even I knew that it was time to eat something when I started feeling dizzy.
- Dinner was a bit trickier because my parents liked us all to sit down at the table together. Sometimes I’d force down a few spoonfuls of rice but other times the evening would end in a crying session (me) and a yelling session (my dad). Oh the memories.
Considering my rather bizarre, picky ways as a child, you’d think I’d have a lot more patience with Maya’s likes and dislikes, right? Well I don’t. Things have come to a head lately because I have only been cooking one dinner for the three of us, as opposed to the 3 different ones I’ve been cooking for years. This has been met with quite a bit of resistance and last night Maya and I exchanged several angry words about the quinoa I’d made and how she had no plans to eat it. Here is a synopsis of our conversation, minus some of the “angrier” words that escaped my lips when I wasn’t looking. And for those of you who are wondering I have no plans to implement a “swear jar” anytime soon.
Maya: I don’t want that.
Me: That’s okay. I guess you just aren’t hungry enough.
Maya: But I am hungry! (In a defeated tone) Okay, I guess I’ll have it.
Me: (In a triumphant tone) I guess you will.
Guess who loved the quinoa? I know I shouldn’t be too hard on Maya and I am trying to respect her likes and dislikes, because even though she is only 5 doesn’t mean she doesn’t have taste buds. But I want her to at least try things once, so that she doesn’t regret going through 30 years of her life not eating certain things for absolutely no reason. Kind of like her mother does.
I must give credit where credit is due, however, because unlike Maya I refused to try my first piece of sushi until I was well into my 20’s.
And my chopstick skills? Well they are still nowhere near Maya’s.
Sometimes I’m glad the apple does fall far from the tree.