Taming Your Inner 4-Year Old

Over the weekend I went to a get-together at a friends house.  As usual, with that crowd, there was plenty to eat.  There was chicken, Guinea hen (fresh…they had been pecking on the back sliding glass door and bothering my friend and her husband so they met a quick end that morning), elk, brisket, three kinds of sausage, salad, goat cheese brie, crackers, fruit, chips and some sweet treats.

One of my friends brought a four year old girl, who she was taking care of for the day.   When it was time to eat, my friend walked around pointing to each item and asking the child what she wanted on her plate.  The little girl refused everything she was offered.  My friend looked at me and smiled while explaining that the little girl only ate noodles and potatoes.  Then she hustled into the kitchen to prepare some boiled pasta for the girl.

I thought it was silly to indulge the child in that way.  I’m not saying children should be forced to eat things they really don’t like.  My dad, for instance, always ate my lima beans so I didn’t have to and my son decided at one point when he was little, that he couldn’t stand cheese unless it was melted so I didn’t serve him cold cheese.  I’m saying that it’s silly to allow a child to reject anything and everything offered them so they can live on a diet of noodles and potatoes.

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Kids have an excuse, they don’t know what’s good for them.  They rely on the adults in their lives to help them along.  Given a choice, many kids would subsist on cake and Coke but obviously it would be irresponsible for their parents to let them.

The noodle and potato girl reminds me of adults who refuse to exercise.  There are such a wide variety of things you can do and yet they steadfastly reject all of them.  They won’t play tennis, volleyball, basketball or soccer, do yoga, walk, jog, lift weights, dance, skip rope, take an aerobics class, do karate, swim, canoe or paddleboard.  They won’t do anything but unlike a child, they know full well a sedentary life isn’t good for them.

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Get up and walk. It doesn’t matter how fast…just do it!

I say they should stop indulging their inner 4-year old and get with the program.  Take the responsible, adult position, find some sort of exercise they can tolerate and start moving!

6 responses

  1. Great point! Children who are simply exposed to a variety of foods are more inclined to make healthier choices. Working in a school I have seen this first hand.

    1. Noodles and potatoes are both foods I like but my goodness, I wouldn’t try to live on them alone!

      I found a good trick to get kids to expand their food horizons. When I was a teacher, we’d do cooking projects in the classroom. I found out the kids would eat almost anything they prepared (with supervision) and cooked themselves. I had them eating all sorts of new and great stuff!

      1. I know. Starch overload! That is exactly what I advise parents. Let your children get involved in the cooking and shopping. Go to the farmer’s market and select fruits and fresh vegetables together. Get them in the kitchen with supervised prep. Works like a charm!

  2. My father used to tell me that it took 3 bites of anything to actually taste it for the first time. If I ate 3 bites of a new dinner (mom was always experimenting) and STILL didn’t like it – he’d get up and fix me something else himself.
    He only had to do it once – and I learned to try and to eat so many different foods because of that rule of his!!

  3. I dread to think how her body is developing based on just potatoes and noodles!

    1. Isn’t that crazy? Poor little girl is growing up without a variety of nutrients. I hope she’s willing to try some new things in the future. Noodles and potatoes…how boring. You’d think she’d want a different, more exciting taste of something now and then!

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