Monday, August 29, 2005

Confessions of a 6 Year Old Coffee Drinker

Lileks defends the occasional visit to McDonalds and Krispy Kreme (his first with daughter):

She was very impressed by the donut. “It was awesome,” she said.

And yes, I am trying to raise a fat kid. Of course! Goes without saying! McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme – that's all she eats. Look: we do McDonald’s once a fortnight, at the most, and she has a cheeseburger. No soda, no juice, no fries; she gets the apples. Occasionally I buy a small fries, and we split that. We never get donuts. But that’s not POLICY, it’s just the way we live. If it’s POLICY then you make the forbidden things alluring and attractive; if you stigmatize them you undercut your own authority because they see no reason why the items are taboo, and if you make all sorts of heavy food rules whose moral weight exceeds that of the Ten Commandments then the kid's going to have food isssues. Make the fun stuff part of a rotating sequence of balanced indulgences that roll around with predictable regularity,, and you raise a sane kid. Says me. Get back to me in a decade.

Now, I don't I care what Lileks thinks about me, but I use this to launch into a discussion about how difficult it is to raise "healthy eaters" (the kind of kid that requests tofu over chicken nuggets). Certain family members (you know who you are) think it's easy. Even the Hobbled wife beats herself up about it from time-to-time.

For whatever reason (OK blame me), my kids were never the super-crunchy granola types. They don't like tofu, they eat a limited range of vegetables, but enjoy most fruit. Not bad - overall. I can live with that. When I was their age, I ate from a varied menu of about 6 items. I hardly ever touched vegetables (except carrots) and really wasn't much of a fruit freak. All that came later. As a kid, we had pop in the house (RC Cola was the poison of choice). I grew up drinking pop (soda for those outside the MN area), and coffee (oh yeah, I started the bean at about age 6 -- really.) Today, we rarely if ever have pop in the house - likewise we never were too big into "juice boxes. And neither kid has started coffee - - yet.

Not sure where this is going. Just thought the Lileks thing was good - better to show them how to eat it responsibly than FORBIDDING it altogether. Kids will be exposed to junk food - and worse - as the years go by. Best to use responsibly.


amy said...

You can credit Grandmama for the "no pop" policy. I believe she had just a few "rules" and stuck to them. No pop in the house (yes---at the cabin we got some) instead she bought the water cooler. Always wheat bread and natural peanut butter and skim milk. No sugar cereal except those cute little boxes that could be used as bowls---but only when we were at the cabin. My new boss teaches two things to his kid patients for obesity prevention....1) no soda 2) cut down on TV (<2hrs/day). So--there you go---simplicity at last.

Cate Ross said...

Hey Hobbled!

Your wife left a comment on my blog--say hi! to her from me.