Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On How I Like to Think I'm Open-Minded, but I'm Really Not At All

The other day I was on Twitter and someone was talking about how her daughter was eating broccoli and she was extremely pleased. The hashtag was #babyledsolids.

And I thought, WTF? Baby-led solids? How does the baby lead with the solids? Do you make the baby mix up its own cereal? Do you carry the baby around the kitchen while it points out the ingredients for pheasant under glass? The baby doesn't lead! WE lead! Isn't our function as far as babies and solids to sort of lead the babies up to the kinds of solid foods that won't, you know, cause them to die? Babies aren't that bright, folks. A baby will try to eat a TV remote. They don't know that they can't eat celery and pretzels and marbles or hot dogs that we haven't cut in half because our mothers have informed us forty thousand goddamned times that a hot dog is the exact size of a baby's windpipe - it's up to US to provide the leadership in that regard.  And I stormed around muttering about ridiculous hippy-dippy airy-fairy notions of parenting. Baby-led solids! Jesus Christ!

Then today I was driving home from a restorative day of tulip-looking and jerk-chicken eating with Pam and I heard Kathleen Petty on CBC interviewing Kathy Buckworth, the author of I Am So the Boss of You: An 8-Step Guide to Giving Your Family the Business. I haven't read the book and didn't even listen to all of the interview (just to be clear about the fact that I'm not bothering to make sure this is based on complete information or anything), but the part I heard was Kathy Buckworth saying parents have to be in charge and make the rules and you are allowed to say "because I said so". And then she said she was making baked bean casserole, "which is as nasty as it sounds", and her friend said she wished her kids would eat that, and Kathy Buckworth said "well, make them" and the friend said she couldn't, and Kathy Buckworth said something like "listen, my goal isn't that they like it - my goal is that I have them fed something nutritious, on time, under budget, so that I can feel successful".

And I thought, WTF? First of all, TOTALLY goes back to that thing where if you say you wouldn't tolerate a picky eater you just didn't have one. Second of all, fine, someone has to be nominally in charge, but I do actually subscribe to the "I didn't ask to be born" theory of parenting - you made the children, so I don't really see how them asking to be fed something they don't find revolting is all that importunate. Third of all, of all the reasons (and there are some good ones) for making a kid TRY something, let alone eat all of it, "so I can feel successful" is pretty far down the list in my books (well, okay, maybe not THAT far down the list in MY books, but I kind of think it should be in your book, if you actually write one). So then I stormed around putting away my groceries and muttering about people who think they can run a family like a business and how going back to the fifties and "children should be seen and not heard" is not so much a new idea as, well, like I just said, a REALLY OLD ONE!

So yes, one might quite rightfully inquire when my book on parenting and nutrition is coming out. The one where I hold forth on letting my son play soccer with a chicken ball before eating it, and feeding Eve coconut yogurt and broccoli five nights running.

Parenting is hard. Judging is fun and easy.


12 comments:

Coffee with Julie said...

LOL! My new motto: "Parenting is hard, judging is fun and easy." (Also, everything Kathy says, I'm pretty sure is tongue in cheek.)

Steph Lovelady said...

You are just a proponent of the middle way.

Julie said...

I LOVE what anonymus said. so insightful.

what i really wanted to say is "sign it to me sister!" well for the first section. as for the second, i think i might be on board with this kathy person. i am all about the dictatorship, until my kid can physically beat me up. i have a couple more years on that. and until then, it will be "i made this for supper, if you don't want it, go hungry." and yes, i have said it several times. he always eats it.

i'm with the other julie, i think i got me a new motto!

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

This is why I like you. Because I totally agree with both situations! This confirms that we are both parenting geniuses. I don't understand baby-led solids...mostly...and force-feeding my kids bean casserole isn't going to happen any time soon. So yeah...I'm neither here nor there as per usual.

PS. Although I adore Anonymous and his insightful commentary, I'm just going to pipe up that you know you can block anonymous commenters in your settings? Helps with the spam shizz.

Bibliomama said...

Julie - I know. Many people I love whose parenting style I completely respect would be right on board with Kathy. But I sort of stand by the picky eater thing. "Eat it or you starve" might work with a kid who's manipulative-picky. Eve is legitimately unable to swallow certain flavours and textures, and she will TRY to eat it and barf. I clean up enough puke without instigating it myself. That said, I did make both kids try dhal last night, and it was a partial success.

Nicole said...

You're so funny!

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moolianeous said...

Bless your heart. Another motto for the list. Someday you'll see your wise words on a pillow at my house. (about the judging AND the remote control)

It is reassuring to hear that we are both righteously offended by both ends of the spectrum. Sanctimonious twits, and, well, sanctimonious twits. In between: those of us who are clearly right-minded and well-balanced.
Thanks

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

I can't say much. I have a kid who drinks spinach smoothies and chases me around trying to get me to taste it while I yell, Ew..gross!

sasharambles said...

"Parenting is hard. Judging is fun and easy." - and also highly entertaining. Thanks for my daily snort.

And apropos of nothing, I am really dying to know what Anonymous said. Was it spam? or just obnoxious? Kudos for taking charge either way, cuz you are so the boss of this blog.

As for baby led solids and bossing around your kids, I'd say if your kids are any indication, you've got it right and should damn well write a book. So there :).

I remember a tweet that went "Want your kids to eat a variety of interesting, healthy food? Then feed it to them." I wanted to say something along the lines of "Oh yeah? That works, does it? So tell that to my kid, who ate healthy mush, right up until the point where she didn't. And doesn't. And it doesn't matter what goes on her plate or ours, the only thing that she will consume in any quantity is quesadillas and if your kid will eat what you put in front of them well BULLY FOR YOU."

Except I went over the 140 character limit.

Yet another reason to stick to blog comments :)