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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>I was in hospital for two nights over the weekend for pre-term labour and I had a moment of insight so here it is. Tell me if I'm crazy. <span><img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"></span></p>
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<p>So I was served hospital food. And there wasn't anything especially wrong with what came, although it definitely isn't how we eat at home. But I had no say in it the first day because I wasn't there to select from the 2-3 choices they give you.</p>
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<p>Everything on the trays was something I would generally eat, as in there wasn't any liver or whatever.  But it wasn't always in combinations that made sense to me (bran cereal and a bran muffin seemed like bran overkill) or prepared in a way I loved (steamed cubes of squash with no seasoning). And the texture combinations were not good, like the steamed cubes were served with mashed potatoes and ground beef, so everything was kind of...mushy. </p>
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<p>And I got seriously cranky, for a 39 year old. For one thing the timing wasn't right for when my hunger was spiking. But it was also just the lack of say in it and the way it sort of just felt all wrong.</p>
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<p>The second day I had selected dal for lunch and although it was bland for a dal and came with rice that seemed undercooked, it went down much better because I had chosen it over the pasta primavera that sounded really icky.</p>
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<p>I realized that probably my son has experienced a number of our family meals this way. We do often plan and cook together, but sometimes we don't.  It's just the whole way it happens - the time was dictated by the hospital the way I dictate the time at home, and so on. It reminded me to be sympathetic (without allowing rudeness or excessive waste or short-order cooking) to the days when I've made something that he's just not into right then.</p>
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<p>Have you had any similar thoughts on food and control and stuff? I'm not sure I'm explaining this right but it seemed profound at the time, when I was staring at the squash and getting all cranky.</p>
 

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<p>Yay for the Golden Rule! <img alt="orngbiggrin.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif"></p>
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<p>Might also be helpful to remember that little kids don't have as good communication skills as we do. My mom would always get really ticked when I said I "didn't like" something that I liked last week. She might've been more understanding if I said something like, "You know, Mom, I'm really not in the mood for this food tonight," but I didn't have the understanding needed to say that or even know the difference between the two.</p>
 

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<p>I don't know.  I often eat something that I haven't chosen.  We visit dh's family back in Turkey and I eat for (up to a month) every meal without any input.  I like the food, dh's sister is an amazing cook, and I like to try new foods.  I'm not cranky at all about it even though I have no say-so in it whatsoever.</p>
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<p>My guess is that the crankiness came from the fact that you were in the hospital in the first place, bed-ridden, not able to do anything for yourself (not just make you meal) and also that the food itself wasn't good, period.  That would make me cranky.  Not the lack of choice.  The problem is that you were subjected to far too many new variables to determine which one or combination made you cranky.  The food could have been a contributing factor... or not.</p>
 

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<p>Well I think you are onto something. Food issues are really control issues at heart. So many things in a child's life are out of his control. What he puts in his mouth is one of the very few things that ARE in his control.</p>
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<p>I grew up with food battles and the memories are so painful and bitter than I resolved I would never, never, never fight with my kids about food.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I don't know. I often eat something that I haven't chosen. We visit dh's family back in Turkey and I eat for (up to a month) every meal without any input. I like the food, dh's sister is an amazing cook, and I like to try new foods. I'm not cranky at all about it even though I have no say-so in it whatsoever.<br><br>
My guess is that the crankiness came from the fact that you were in the hospital in the first place, bed-ridden, not able to do anything for yourself (not just make you meal) and also that the food itself wasn't good, period. That would make me cranky. Not the lack of choice. The problem is that you were subjected to far too many new variables to determine which one or combination made you cranky. The food could have been a contributing factor... or not.</div>
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I resonate more with this response. I can think of a dozen situations where I might not get control over food choice and it wouldn't affect my mood. At an overnight camp, on a camping trip, when I lived at a retreat center with daily menus, if someone orders for me at a restaurant, when I let my daughter pick our shared meal if we go out, when I am a guest at someone's home and they make a meal, if I am visiting a region where I know nothing about the food, when I visit a relative of mine in prison... all are situations when food control is out of my hands, but never does it make me crabby.<br><br>
Now, if I were in a hospital recovering you bet I would get crabby about the food! And about having to stay in bed. And the visiting rules. And having to have an IV, and... A lot of that would have to do with the lack of personal choices, but mostly it would be because I didn't want to be there, hate the recovery period, and would want to go home.<br><br>
I see that as being more like when my kiddo or husband is sick, feeling a bit better, and wants steak and ice cream but I keep bringing out the turkey soup and crackers. Sure, they get downright pissy about their food choices then, LOL! But on a day-to-day basis... no one in my house gets cranky about the food, or feels put upon because I usually pick the meal.<br><br>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>Oh I agree the hospital had something to do with it but...</p>
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<p>... it does occur to me that some days my 5 year old gets less say in his day and what he's doing than I did in the hospital too.</p>
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<p>I do have lots of pleasant situations where I don't get say in what's for dinner, but it isn't often that relentless. But those are really good points!</p>
 

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<p>I think you need to look at who is preparing the food.</p>
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<p>You are making food for 4 people. you know what they will & won't eat unless it is something new they've never had.</p>
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<p>the hospital is making food for probably at least 100 people(I'd guess the number is alot higher since you actually had a choice in what you eat) who have a variety of health issues which limits what they can eat.  Bran - I'd guess at least half the people are having digestive issues due to surgery or health conditions.  Bland - cardiac & blood pressure issues & limiting salt & spices.  More than half the population does not eat the best foods for themselves at home on a regular basis.  the hospital HAS to cheaply make alot of food that is within the restrictions of the  majority of the patients.</p>
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<p>IMO comparing your feelings in not having a choice to your child having food issues is a huge leap.  consider yourself lucky you even got a choice the 2nd day.  At the hospital here you don't get a choice. You get what is served.  Lunch is the bigger meal that is hot.  Supper is served by 4:30 & is a sandwich as the cafeteria staff is closed at 4:30. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GuildJenn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286851/food-battle-insight#post_16132467"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Have you had any similar thoughts on food and control and stuff? I'm not sure I'm explaining this right but it seemed profound at the time, when I was staring at the squash and getting all cranky.</p>
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When I was pregnant I had lots of similar thoughts. Like I'd be disgusted about a food I typically like, or get hungry and REALLY grumpy, or be in general pain (but nothing specific), and I'd think that it was probably similar to how toddlers experience some things. Too bad I've already forgotten most of my great thoughts!<br>
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<p><br>
I guess I look at food in a different light.  Toddlers and young children can't make their own food, anyway, so it's a parent's job to guide them with what their dietary options are.  They are not in control anyway.  Their control is to choose to eat what is put in front of them or not.  Children need to learn how to eat a whole variety of foods and not just get their favorites over and over again.  Just as they can't go to the amusement park every single day because it's the most fun thing in the world to do.  They have to learn that sometimes you get your favorites, sometimes you get food that tastes good, but isn't your favorite, and sometimes you eat something that maybe you don't really care for, but is healthy for you and helps you grow.  The favorites and least favorites are what's served least often and you find the middle ground.  I think when children understand that, then they don't get cranky about food or get upset or feel like it's a control issue.</p>
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<p>For example, a child may taste ice cream for the first time and think it so yummy that he never wants to eat anything but ice cream again in his whole entire life.  And at these young ages "whole entire life" really means "whatever I eat next".  They can't understand that in a couple of days they can have ice cream again and in the meantime, they should be eating healthy foods.  When they are denied the ice cream for the next meal, they see it as "I'll never get ice cream again" and if they've had a bad day (or even if they haven't), they get cranky because they can't reason that they'll still get ice cream on occasion.  But adults CAN reason that through that.  And as kids get older, so will they.</p>
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<p>So, I don't think they don't have a choice, but that their parents are guiding them through the process of learning to fuel their bodies, not just eat only what is their favorite thing in the world.  Like any learning process, there are ups and downs.  Food itself isn't the issue, it's the learning process, IMO.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>velochic</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286851/food-battle-insight#post_16134965"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
I guess I look at food in a different light.  Toddlers and young children can't make their own food, anyway, so it's a parent's job to guide them with what their dietary options are.  They are not in control anyway.  Their control is to choose to eat what is put in front of them or not.  Children need to learn how to eat a whole variety of foods and not just get their favorites over and over again.  Just as they can't go to the amusement park every single day because it's the most fun thing in the world to do.  They have to learn that sometimes you get your favorites, sometimes you get food that tastes good, but isn't your favorite, and sometimes you eat something that maybe you don't really care for, but is healthy for you and helps you grow.  The favorites and least favorites are what's served least often and you find the middle ground.  I think when children understand that, then they don't get cranky about food or get upset or feel like it's a control issue.</p>
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<p>For example, a child may taste ice cream for the first time and think it so yummy that he never wants to eat anything but ice cream again in his whole entire life.  And at these young ages "whole entire life" really means "whatever I eat next".  They can't understand that in a couple of days they can have ice cream again and in the meantime, they should be eating healthy foods.  When they are denied the ice cream for the next meal, they see it as "I'll never get ice cream again" and if they've had a bad day (or even if they haven't), they get cranky because they can't reason that they'll still get ice cream on occasion.  But adults CAN reason that through that.  And as kids get older, so will they.</p>
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<p>So, I don't think they don't have a choice, but that their parents are guiding them through the process of learning to fuel their bodies, not just eat only what is their favorite thing in the world.  Like any learning process, there are ups and downs.  Food itself isn't the issue, it's the learning process, IMO.</p>
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I think I agree with you as an overall arc & food philosophy, and generally that's how we've approached it. My son's a pretty good eater overall in terms of variety.</p>
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<p>But I have to admit that with him (he's 5), I have sometimes been getting a little bit frustrated when he suddenly isn't into peas that meal. And this experience reminded me that when I get sick of sweet potato, I stop serving it. But my son doesn't have that choice (or know he does). And that while I might not change what I do, I can appreciate the - degree of upset, is I think what I'm getting at. Not that I accept rude statements. :)</p>
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<p>It's more realizing that just 'cause I'm serving my best, doesn't mean he's experiencing it in that way.</p>
 

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<p>Hmmm... I tend to think a lot of society's issues with food and eating and obesity, eating disorders, etc. is because we have TOO much choice with food.  In times past, people ate what was available and what they could afford.  They couldn't go to the grocery store and choose out of so many choices.  They ate carrots and squash and sweet potatoes in the fall because that is what they grew. They ate blueberries and raspberries in the summer, because that is when they grew.  Yes, they did preserve some foods, but generally they ate with the seasons, what they coudl afford and what was available.   Yes, they had more milk when their cow had just had a calf, and when the milk dried up they didn't have any.  They had eggs when their hens laid them, and not when they didn't.   They had meat then they butchered or killed a deer or something and not when they didn't.</p>
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<p>It's only been really "recently" that people actually could choose to eat ice cream  or candy or cookies without basically any effort on their part.</p>
 

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<p>I think that as in almost everything, being involved and having a say increases appreciation. Not that its necessary, its just nicer. I negotiate meals a lot with DS. My requirement is that meals should be as varied as possible and that every meal must include a protein, a veggie, a starch and a fruit. Beyond this DS is allowed 3 foods he will not eat, and these can vary over time (like he recently decided to substitute beans for eggplants on his list - which makes part of my meal planning more complicated as we ate a lot more beans than eggplants, but a deal is a deal).  We also negotiate recipes - there is only one acceptable recipe for cabbage for example, but that is OK, because then he will eat cabbage. We negotiate how often his less favourite foods will appear on the menu - once a month is typical. I plan the week's menu on saturday morning as I prepare the shopping list, and DS will sit at the table with me and and give suggestions. I encourage his input, we discuss the various aspects of meal preparation - time, costs of ingredients, nutritional value, spacing, pleasing combinations of taste, color and texture, etc. I enjoy cooking (and eating ha ha) and I am happy that DS is growing up with knowledge of what constitutes good, healthy food - and the capacity to enjoy the pleasure of it.</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p>Yes, I think you're on to something. I believe food is meant to be enjoyed on all sorts of aesthetic levels. I like my food to look attractive on a plate, to have pleasant textures, to smell and taste good. I don't always have the time, energy or ingredients to create a work of art in my kitchen. Food becomes less about pleasure and more about simple necessity. That's my choice, though, and if I wanted something more appealing, I'd take steps to get it, either by making it, ordering it or going out for it. When food choices aren't in my control, I've usually chosen to be in that situation, eg. visiting someone or traveling, so if the food isn't wonderful, I'm at least tolerant of it. But I'm very unhappy if I've paid for good food at a restaurant and I get substandard fare. I think that's why people are so unhappy with airline food. With the expense of an overseas or cross-continental flight, in the discomfort of stale air and cramped seats, it would be nice if they could at least serve something a little better than warmed up mush, particularly since there are no alternatives available.  </p>
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<p>Usually, a child is stuck with whatever is served up, whether it's appealing to them or not. They often haven't had much input into the menu and have fewer options if they don't like it, since they can't order out or go out for something different. I don't argue if my kids don't want to eat something I've served. I ask them to find something nutritious as a substitute, since that's what I would do myself. As a typical example, if they won't eat the squash I've prepared (which I love but they don't), they may have salad or get an apple or an orange instead. Dinner is a lot more pleasant with this approach.  Since they know I won't insist they finish something, I find they are usually willing to try unfamiliar foods. My kids have definite food preferences (don't we all?), but I wouldn't characterize them as picky eaters. </p>
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<p>GuildJenn, I'm sending lots of positive thoughts and hoping all is well with you and your pregnancy.   </p>
 

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<p>yes! yes! YES!!!! ALL THE TIME <yeah that's exaggerated></p>
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<p>my dd is 8. i am a single mom. its not just about food. its about everything. i've thought about it since dd was little. </p>
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<p>i mean yeah there is no answer. or a fix it.</p>
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<p>but it has helped me be the parent i wanna be. that is seeing the world thru dd's eyes. yeah just like your hospital experience i've had similar experiences in different settings. </p>
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<p>and the fact that my dd is super independent. and that she constantly tells me 'why are you always teh boss of me'. </p>
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<p>so totally i relate to you. i think of it as i drag dd to events and ocassions and food issues too. </p>
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<p>and YES those moments have been profound. that realisation. for me it meant a deeper connection and understanding. sometimes almost reducing me to tears and goosebumps. </p>
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<p>dd is 8. she is a good kid. not just coz she is my kid. but just in general. she IS a good eater. she's developed her philosophy on waste. i respect her wants and opinions. </p>
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<p>one of my moments was when she was 3. a profound moment for me was when i realised how much of parenting was working from teh unknown, based on predictions. i caught dd lying and stealing. which i totally blamed on myself. she'd gotten teh whole popsicle box and was hiding and eating in the bathroom. the look on her face as i caught her was my eureka moment. we had a talk. and while talking i realised how much *I* made so many decisions in her life. 'mama sometimes one popsicle is not enough. sometimes i need two. i really, really want it.' and i realised i was so scared of spoiling her, so scared that if i said once she would misuse the request that i always said no. and so we sat on that bathroom floor and had a long, long conversation. that was the end of lying and stealing. and that was another beginning to my parenting. dd learnt how to make requests to say when she really, really, really wanted something. and for me to respect that. because i found just like me sometimes we want a lot of junky type. and then we are done. and yeah dd has some of her own two popsicle moments and it really makes her AND ME joyful to let her have those moments. </p>
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<p>i have from the very beginning been struggling with parenting. to me parenting has always been a power play. like the big elitist countries against the poor tiny one struggling to survive. </p>
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<p>i have faced a lot of criticisms, looks and rolled eyes but i just couldnt bring myself to see dd as anyone but another person trying to figure out how to live in this world. </p>
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<p>i feel it has all really payed off. there is a huge place of respect amongst both of us. and a place to express our anger and disappointment at each other. i have noticed it has made my dd way more balanced - giving her the ability to see that life is full of good and bad. that choice always comes at a cost. </p>
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<p>joining her in her mix water and milk play before calling it quits at 18 months instead of saying no dont waste milk and water or dont play with your food  has definitely paid of. </p>
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<p>so i totally get where you are coming from. for me it applies to everything. not just about food. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>churndash</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286851/food-battle-insight#post_16133302"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><p> </p>
<p>I grew up with food battles and the memories are so painful and bitter than I resolved I would never, never, never fight with my kids about food.</p>
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I'd be curious to know about your experience, if you cared to share.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
<p>Thanks everyone. I feel like even though we're doing the same actions with my son (Ellyn Satter type approach) I have been able to feel better about it than I have for a couple of months, and reading all your thoughts is great. Just wanted to add...<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ollyoxenfree</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286851/food-battle-insight#post_16135679"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><p>GuildJenn, I'm sending lots of positive thoughts and hoping all is well with you and your pregnancy.   </p>
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<br><br><p>Thanks! The baby is healthy and although I'm still having rounds of contractions (I'm now on bedrest at home) we're at 33 weeks so every day it looks better and better even if he arrives early. So so far so good. And thank goodness I'm able to eat our own food. :)</p>
 
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