Sunday, September 10, 2006

"No thank you"

This weekend we took the family down to the Art Hop. We stopped in a small cafe to get some waters. I bought Enzo a lemonade and as I was paying for it I noticed some yummy looking chocolate chip cookies so I asked for one. I then asked Enzo if he wanted one also and he said "No thank you." The girl behind the counter said "did he just say he didn't want a cookie?" Yes I told her. She seemed shocked. I felt proud. My almost 5 year old has been raised to appreciate sweets as special treats and because of that he sometime just doesn't feel like having them instead of hoarding them every chance he gets.

I chalk this up to how we have raised him. We limited sugar and sugary foods until he was almost three and now when we have them they are a special treat. Oh he loves icecream, cake and cookies - don't get me wrong but he doesn't go crazy when he has then because I think he values them more than is addicted to them. More than often he wont even finish the portion of icecream or cake given to him. If fact the last time we had cake at a recent celebration I gave him a second helping and he ended up not finishing it because he said "I think I am done. I can feel the cake in body and I need to stop."

On the flip side my son who once ate anything and everything I put in front of him has become a very picky eater. I used to feel so proud that he grew up eating plain yogurt and not flavored, gobbled up tofu and veggies, rice cakes, hummus and soymilk. My sister used to ask me how I was able to get my kid to eat whole wheat bread and tahini and jelly sandwiches. Because that is all he knows I would tell her. Feed them well from the beginning and they will eat well. Feed them junk and that is all they will crave.

I shouldn't complain because in general Enzo does still eat like a dream. He loves fruit, yogurt, nuts, rice cakes, salad, cheese, crackers, soymilk and tofu. He has however become a bit more picky. Things have to be plain. Where I used to make lots of casserole type dishes in-order to pack the most mix of veggies and protein he now will not touch. Meals have to be plain and the food has to be separate. Tonight he told me "Mommy I can't always like everything you like." This comment brought back memories of me sitting at my parents kitchen table saying "everyone has different taste bud you know."

Raising vegetarian children has it's challenges but what is most important to me is the fact that we are raising them on as much "whole" food as possible. Even though Enzo is going through a picky phase I feel proud that he still has no idea what a fast food restaurant is. He helps me cook meals in our kitchen, he picks herbs from our garden to add to our meals, he is excited to help me compost our food scraps each night and recycle our cans and bottles. He is learning the responsibility we have to recycle and reuse. He has learned that there are days when his body just doesn't feel like having that chocolate chop cookie I just offered him.

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