Kristin and I are back from our trip to Arizona, and soon, I’ll share with you a video or two of interviews with a couple of readers. The drive is long and boring. We stopped and toured the spectacular Glen Canyon Dam. We prowled around Orderville, UT, gawking at polygamists and whispering about our little fantasy to kidnap their daughters. We busted up the 11-hour drive with my iPod. I yell, “ARE YOU READY?!” and Kristin yells back, “I’M READY!” and I blast a Poison, Heart, Van Halen, or Aerosmith song from her speakers.
I named my senior thesis, in college, after a line from an Aerosmith song: “Live and Learn from Fools and Sages.” (We learn from the wise people in our lives–but we miss out on learning opportunities if we don’t learn from the people doing stupid things, too.)
A beautiful blonde physical therapist about my age talked to me after the Glendale class. Her eyes brimmed up with tears when she said, “Thank you for giving me my lungs back.” I didn’t give her back her capacity to train and run races without tightness in her lungs, of course. Eating whole foods did. (When I made the shift, my autoimmune problems reversed themselves, too–no more seasonal allergies, eczema, or occasional asthma attacks!)
She told me her problem is her kids: after some initial successes, they’re currently resisting the new healthy menus. I suggested that she not panic, consider that they probably don’t want her to suddenly turn into a Little Caesars mom, regardless of the way kids overstate their opinions. (They aren’t geniuses at communication. And remember, even junk-food moms’ kids complain if they don’t get the food they want.) This mom abandoning her principles would be inconsistent and confusing for the kids. They’re probably fine with her being the health-nut mom, just need to know she can let her hair down, be a little flexible.
Every once in a while I invite all the friends of one of my kids over, for a pizza party. This is so my kids know I can lighten up, even if the rest of the time we are really very consistent. (On those rare instances, I am also very nervous that a GSG reader will see me at Costco buying things I normally never would–any remainder of which will go in the garbage after the party.)
I don’t, however, EVER have junk food in my house for the kids to snack on. (Kristin says people always talk to her after my classes to find out if I’m the “real deal.” She assures them that she spends about 60 hours a week with me, with our work-from-home, and travels, and our “social life,” what there is of it. Feel free to grill her. She says, “I’ve never once seen her have junk food in the house for the kids.”)
My kids know what the snacks are, and I find that if someone is complaining, it’s because I need to pay a little more attention to having things on hand that they like. (When moms talk to me about their “picky” and “resistant” kids, they also always name for me the nutritious foods the child WILL eat.)
To that end, it’s helpful to have a list of the food foods that each child seeks out. Making a list on paper will help you realize there are more things than you think, and it’ll motivate you to discover new ones to add to the list. Put it on the inside of a cupboard.
Paying attention to that may go a long way toward helping them eat right. Add to the list when your child discovers another healthy food she likes–praise her when she does.
This is part of a list I have that helps my kids feel there’s enough to eat, and something to look forward to, at home:
Tennyson, Libby, Emma: fresh blueberries
Libby: raw sweet potatoes, cucumbers, raw chocolate in her green smoothie, nori sheets, prunes
Tennyson: Naked juice, wheat grass juice, sprouted “candied” almonds
Cade: pink apples, Raw Melissa spring rolls, bell peppers eaten like an apple
Emma: carrots dipped in hummus
Cade, Libby, Ten: cases of Costco mangoes
I find any complaining at my house stops, as long as I tune into what the kids want that is good for them and make sure I stock those foods. And as long as on a rare occasion, I “lighten up” for a party.
Sorry if you’ve read this before, but my grandmother told me: “It’s not what you do 5% of the time that’s going to kill you. It’s what you do 95% of the time that’s going to save you.”