Monday, June 08, 2009

Food freedom - no longer as scary

(It seems to be my time for confessing/analyzing/rambling. I'll get back behind the lens soon. Go have a snack and visit a concise blogger while you can ;)

This morning, Jesse went to his first day of theater camp. He goes every year and loves it. A few hours later, I dropped Gillen off down the street at Charlie Elliott Nature Center, for five days and four nights of camp. He has been excitedly waiting for four years to be old enough to go to the overnight version of his nature camp. I'm sure he'll be fine. My only concern had been that he and Jesse would get sick before these camp weeks - they also have a week of cool day camps while staying at their aunt and uncle's home next week. This "concern" of mine brings me to a past fear it's time I confessed here - the my food issue; the big source of my uncalled for, soon to be dropped for real, worrying. Worrying was the step up from more active protecting. I used to spend too much energy protecting my children from what I saw as the dangers of "bad" food. I felt that bad food had contributed to my mother's death and to my having chronic fatigue and to every bad day I still had. I had learned from my mistakes and hoped I could spare them their own "mistakes". Pretty crazy. I think on some deep level I even hoped that I was protecting them from death.

Eventually, painstakingly, finally, I saw my belief system for what it was. I got real about the fact that this is their journey. Plus, they might just have inherited the better immune systems of others in their families. It sure seems that way. I had an uncle that lived for a crazy number of decades on pretty much nothing but alcohol and cigarettes. And, I started to trust that they might even find their own way to choices that were best for them. As with their educational freedom, these are their choices to make. I can only strew lots of options.

Gillen went to an overnight birthday party this past Saturday night. The hosting mother is infamous for the large stores of Little Debbies, chips, candy, soda and other packaged food she keeps on hand - mass quantities of it that she uses to show visitors her love. She is very generous with this love. For breakfast on Sunday, they had bacon, sausage, biscuits, sweet tea (my favorite), eggs and hot dogs. Gillen came home raving about the sausage, but nauseous.

That same day, Jesse and I spent the entire day at Six Flags with his friend Logan and Logan's mom as both boys' early birthday celebration. You aren't allowed to bring food or water into Six Flags so we bought the expensive food there, all day. We rode the Mind Bender, and had loads of other looping, swirling, bumping fun. Jesse announced that this was his favorite birthday celebration ever. Over the course of the day, Jesse ate a Johnny Rocket milk shake, a cheeseburger, onion rings, a coke and ice cream. Maybe it was the sheer quantity, but I believe it was more to do with the quality, that made him throw up later that night at home.

He and Gillen were both dragging yesterday, due to their exciting Saturdays. Without my bringing it up, they both requested lots of salad and vegetables. They didn't want dessert. Today, they are going to camp fully restored.

This all goes to confirm, yet again (I seem to need lots of confirmation on this topic) that it was the right choice to start letting them make their own food choices, completely, and let them learn to listen to their own bodies. Their organic farming father, their food knowledgeable mom and, of course, their nutritionist grandmother have contributed acres of unsolicited food facts to the playing field. Gillen watched King Corn with us, they've gone to organic farming conferences, to Slow Food events, and many meals have been seasoned with our feelings about industrial farming and our country's food policies.

I no longer make frightening faces when they choose food and drink that I wouldn't choose. I have also noticed that they are less drawn to the foods that we used to ban when they were little. I think they're losing their fear that it will be the last bit of blue dye or high fructose corn syrup that they'll ever see. They choose to eat so many vegetables and fruits and love all kinds of food.

I'm sure that it's not the end of the battle, this fight with my inner demons. But for now, my more trusting side seems to be taking over the helm.


mindy said...

I love your revelations and the way you share them and write about them. Oh happy day :)

persephone said...

This was great to read! I love that after a day of (oh my god!) onion rings, milk shakes, candy and sausage they requested salads and veggies. You have truly given them the tools to listen to their bodies, and they are truly following their animal instincts.

I can only hope to do the same. It's nice to witness a pioneer.

Danielle said...

So does this mean breakfast cereal? ;)

TheOrganicSister said...

ah it's so nice when we can go with the flow and trust. it ebbs and flows for me, some areas worse than others. oddly, food isn't a concern for me with zeb. i always - even before unschooling and real trust came into the equation - knew that he could listen to his body if given the freedom to make choices. and he did. i think the first time was when he was 4 and ate too much halloween candy.

it's tougher now that he hasmy hypoglycemia. his body tells him he wants starches when it will make his blood sugar peak, then crash. i've had to do a lot more talking with him over that one. but even so, he's learning to hear his body and what makes him feel best the *longest*.

it's amazing what they are cpable of when they are supported and trusted. and even when they make choices that make us cringe, it's like you said, it's their journey. *that* is the hardest part for me to remember.