Raw Parenting is being real with your kids.
I’m not talking about saying sorry to them when you screw up (though it’s a great thing to do so), it’s about not sheltering them for the very real, the very rawness, the very brokenness that is our world. Before I get into it, you need a little background:
Middle is a resistant eater.
If it *might* be too spicy, she won’t try it.
If she can’t identify the “mystery green”, she won’t try it (it’s usually some kind of herb).
If it’s too hot, she won’t try it, even 10 minutes later, when it’s starting to congeal.
If it’s got anything “foreign” on it (dog hair, human hair, a brown spot, etc.), she won’t try it.
Last night, I threw away an insane amount of food. It broke my heart, mainly because the fam had eaten a pretty decent amount, even praising the food! (“this is REALLY good, Mom!”.)
I’m pretty good at only dishing up as much as my family will eat, and saving the rest for leftovers, but a pre-dressed salad doesn’t exactly translate to “leftovers” well. You know what else doesn’t translate well to leftovers?
Middle asked for a banana. “Not a whole one, just a half. I’ll share with Little. And I want it like a monkey” (peel still on).
After “filling her order”, she went on her merry way to the family room. Suddenly, I hear “AAAAHHHHHHRRRRRGGGGGGGG!!!! There’s HAIR on my banana!”
I usher her up to the counter, so she can eat in a more hair-free environment. But she just stares at the totally
untouched slightly touched manhandled-by-a-3-year-old-but-unbitten banana and proceeds to throw a fit. I’m talking massive tears, splotchy skin, and snot trail galore.
Now, here is the Mom Dilemma. EVERYTHING you read tells you to not make a big deal about food because it encourages eating disorders and general craziness in regards to food. It eats away (pun not intended) at me every time I nag my kids to eat.
But she ASKED for the banana. I served it up exactly as ordered. She chose to take it to the hair-pit that is the family room. But still, I’m left throwing the banana away. (actually, I ended up giving it to Little. I’m pretty sure she thinks hair is extra protein).
I calmly sent Middle to her room, because I didn’t want her to see me give Little the banana she refused to eat. She went, making sure the world knew she was unhappy about it.
I’m at a loss. How do I not create issues for her in the future? How do I make her understand that she should be thankful for the fresh fruit I am able to give her, hairy or not? How do I parent her through this?
So I turned to the Google Machine.
I didn’t Google “How to get my 3-year old to eat a hairy banana” (though, now that I type that out, I am curious what the search would yield).
I googled “starving child”.
Once I found the picture that I thought would be understood the most (ie, the most like HER) I took the picture in to a screaming Middle. Before showing it to her, I talked to her. I asked her why she didn’t want the banana (“I want a plate”). I asked her how she felt when she was really really hungry. (“not good. I feel bad.”).
I told her about children that eat off the ground because they have to. I told her about children that have never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a quesadilla, or pasta with cheese. I told her about the children that feel “not good” all day, every day.
She stopped crying. She stared at me. Like I was kidding.
Then I showed her the picture.
I didn’t throw it in her face. I didn’t wag my finger at her. I just explained that this hurting is in our world and that we are extremely blessed to have food, clean water, doctors, and to “feel good” most of the time.
I’m not sure she “got it”, but I know I did my best at presenting it in a way her 3-year old brain could understand.
Sure, I want to protect my kids, but shelter? No thanks.