3 Things by Debbie Koenig, Parents Need to Eat Too
Facebook torpedoes my self-esteem.
If we were friends there, you’d think I’m a successful cookbook author. A freelance writer with assignments galore. A mom so content, so together, so happy, life is one big ol’ banana split. With an organic cherry on top.
Here’s my reality: I’m a cookbook author with a kid who won’t eat. A freelance writer who hates to pitch—who’d rather fritter away the workday than send ideas to an editor she doesn’t know. A mom whose home is in disarray, whose squishy midsection certainly doesn’t need another scoop of ice cream, with or without the cherry.
Sometimes after a bout of Facebooking, I can feel myself shrink. I absorb the personas my friends present and seethe with jealousy. Why is life so easy for everyone else?
If I catch on before I shrivel into a self-pitying prune, I remind myself how you see me, and I realize we’re all just faking.
Maybe they should call it Fakebook.
Never ask what your kid ate for lunch.
When my son started school two years ago I packed carefully balanced meals plus snacks, always things I was confident he’d eat. Seriously, I never experimented at lunchtime. At first my system worked fine, and he’d bring home a mostly-empty lunchbox each day. But then came the days when I’d find whole, backpack-tumbled apples, droopy cheese sticks, and still-brimming thermoses of soup (now cold). He insisted he was eating the school lunch—peanut butter if he didn’t like the hot meal. Eventually I stopped packing a “main course” and just sent snacks.
When I picked him up each day, I couldn’t help myself: Before we’d even get home I’d ask, all faux-casual, “So… Whadja have for lunch?” This time last year, according to my son’s reports, he was eating a peanut butter sandwich at least four days a week. He’d never deign to eat one at home, presumably because he had them so often at school.
And then I chaperoned a class trip, for which the school provided paper-bag lunches. Peanut butter sandwiches for all! I was thrilled, since it was clearly his favorite school food. I handed him a bag, and he burst into tears.
“He hates peanut butter,” his best friend explained. My son had been telling me what he thought I wanted to hear for most of the school year.
Now, I no longer ask. Learning that lunch consisted of his classmate’s Oreos would just spike my blood pressure, anyway. Ignorance may not be bliss, but it’s much less stressful.
Now that I don’t send a lunch-lunch with junior, the snacks I provide pack as much nutrition as possible. Wallaby Organic Yogurt makes the cut a few times a week. It’s smooth, no chunks of fruit to offend my boy’s delicate sensibilities, with a consistency thin enough to suck through a straw. That’s what makes it so appealing—in addition to the yogurt I also send a disposable straw (don’t judge), which the kid pokes through the foil top. Instant smoothie!
The cute drawing of a wallaby on the package doesn’t hurt, either.
Contributor: Debbie from Parents Need to Eat Too
Enjoy her blogs, Parents Need to Eat Too and Feed the Parents (Weight Watchers).
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Check out her book: Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents.