Eating Machine

20 10 2006

Eliana has never had a problem eating. I remember when she was a baby, she very easily switched to solid foods. She would make a mess like other babies, however, she would always eat the majority of the food given to her. When she wanted a snack, her mom would give her some banana. She would end up eating the whole thing, and still have room for lunch or dinner later. We both thought this was normal until we were informed by other moms we met that she ate more than twice and much and way better than other kids.

Today, when I picked her up from school, Eliana’s teacher mentioned to me that is the “best eater” in the class, and that when she eats, she sits down very calm and doesn’t jump around like the other kids. She wanted to know our secret, but there is none to share. This is just how Eliana eats, we had very little direct influence of this pattern in her behavior. I would like to think that we have taught her some manners and that you should always sit down and finish your meal before you play, but I think she is just interested in eating her food uninterrupted.

After we arrived at home, I was sharing these very notes with her mother over dinner. Eliana had a fairly large dinner for a 2 and a half year old: a smallish portion of spaghetti, a salad, a slice of home-made bread and some tofu. I forgot to mention that for lunch she ate at least 3 slices of pizza, maybe 4, as I think her teacher lost count (or didn’t see her eat, because she ate them so quickly). Needless to say, Eliana had plenty to eat. After I finished, I went to complete some housework, when I heard a plate fall on the ground. This was the sound of Eliana grabbing the plate of bread her mom had baked earlier in the day, and not having a good enough handle to keep it from falling. The reason she grabbed the plate from the counter above her head was that she wanted to eat more bread. She was still hungry. Or, she could just like eating. I think it’s the latter.

This topic is near and dear to me, as I am overwieght, and have struggled with it my entire life. I want Eliana to be a slender, but health child, not overly plump. I have direct control over how she eats. But more importantly, I do not want her to go through the majority of her childhood the way I did: overweight with not much self-esteem, and worse, not many friends.

When I was a kid, I wanted to play soccer. The only way to play on a team back then was to join the AYSO league. However, it was too expensive for my parents, and I never got into it. I still wonder how I different things may have been if I had played, lost weight and grown up at a more normal weight. I want to let her play soccer, if she wants to play.

I want her to have fun and play and be active. I strongly hope she likes cycling as much as I do. I want to let her do any activity she wants that gets her to run around and play outside. I want her to enjoy her life through sports and activities, because in the end, that is how we all should enjoy our lives.

When Eliana was born, I, a new father, had thought of all the cool fun things we could both do together, when I realized that everything I though of was a physical outdoor type activity: playing basketball, or soccer, ride bikes, take kung fu lessons, etc. I know I will do many of these things with her hopefully to make them a fun memory of her childhood. They will undoubtedly become priceless memories for me as well.

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