Sunday, 22 April 2012

A nugget or two of Tara's wisdom

Tara's teacher has a game of addition and subtraction that she plays with the kids at toilet time. (Yes they have 'toilet time' apparently). She asks the children to solve simple addition or subtraction sums, and whoever gets the answer is off to the loo first. Saves queueing I guess.

So Friday her teacher decided on subtraction and the children sat around.

Miss : So today children we are doing take away.
Tara : I love takeaway! Chicken nuggets for me please.

They all laughed together, including Tara. I'm still not sure if she meant it as a joke. It did make me think about Tara's eating habits.

I have always prepared home cooked meals for Tara from scratch, and occasionally got her a takeaway from Mcdonalds, which she loves. I do believe that ideally home cooked meals are good for children's  health, but sometimes I do wonder if I could have managed her eating habits a bit differently.

Today Tara is happy, eating at school or at friend's parties. A few months ago it was a different story. One of the many things that made her first few months at school a traumatic experience, was lunch time, and to a smaller extent snack time. Tara was so unfamiliar with the food served that eating it was a baffling experience for her. She felt pressured, incompetent and scared. I was so worried she might grow up having a bad relationship with food or be termed a 'fussy' eater.

Meals at home looked different with a lot of 'good stuff' disguised by me in various sauces, dough etc etc. I made funny shapes with peas, and eyes with tomatoes. I made wholegrain chapattis and tortillas with all kinds of veggies mixed (hidden) in them. I used to puree a whole lot of fresh fruit into delicious puddings, with different toppings, which went down rather well with Tara.

 I  had rather naively decided that as long as the good stuff went into her it didn't matter how or in what form. Great for early stages, but not so great when your child has to venture out into the 'real' world of school and beyond. 

I rarely took Tara out to eat, choosing instead to feed her well at home. Post pregnancy complications and trauma didn't help. The occasional treat was brought home as a takeaway....but quite occasionally. Not  a great decision again. Initially Tara just wouldn't eat at children's parties, so unfamiliar was the food. She was probably the only child who didn't like chips or nuggets.

Travelling with Tara was a nightmare. Only home cooked food when you travel to the other side of the  world was ridiculously stressful.

I look at it two ways. 

1. The effort I put in along with Tara in the first few months of school should probably have been put much earlier. I could have introduced a wider variety of food which may not be all that good for her, but which could have been served in  moderation keeping in mind a child's social development.

2. The other view is that, during Tara's very important early developmental years, she had the best of nutrition, with no unhealthy stuff. The other challenges, food and social, were overcome within a few months of her starting school.

Today there are no problems with food or at social situations. She eats well both at home and outside. Carrots, peas and beans, co-exist peacefully with nuggets, chips and sausages.

Hindsight is a very annoying, patronizing thing. At that moment in time, as Mummy I did the best I could for my child. I'm not perfect, never have been, never will be. But my intentions come from a good place, and shall continue to do so. 

No comments:

Post a Comment