Friday, November 14, 2008

Mommy Eats Colors

There is an age old question: "does life imitate art or does art imitate life?" There are scholars who debate in both directions, but at any rate, children imitate their parents.

Aoife is quickly coming up on five months and naturally the question arises, "are you introducing solids soon?" (FYI: The answer is no, Joshua and I intend to feed Aoife only breastmilk for the for her entire first year. There is too much evidence that introducing solids too soon can be harmful for an infant, not to mention it is infinitely more easy to breastfeed than it is to prepare meals for a baby!). The second popular question we receive makes me laugh, "is she showing interest in food?" My answer is almost always, "of course!"

I love looking at the world through Aoife's eyes and this one is the one that tops the charts. It must be so odd for her to watch me eat. There are colorful objects on my plate: orange carrots, green broccoli, red peppers, brown rice, and pink salmon that I scoop up and put in my mouth and then, it doesn't come back! How bizarre. Aoife is at that stage where absolutely everything ends up in her mouth. She must look at me like I just inhaled one of my toys. She probably wonders how it is that I can consume my colorful toys but she cannot. She watches the process very carefully and I can tell that her little mind is trying so hard to compute where those 'toys' are ultimately ending up and if I can play with them again tomorrow.

I can understand parents thinking their children are showing interest in "food", however, if they have never had an introduction of their own to adult foods, then it will not occur to them that they are missing out on an opportunity. I also know that the flavors of the food I am consuming is passed to my daughter through my breastmilk, so she begins to discern different tastes and preferences of her own. The wonderful part of this process is that I am already giving Aoife a head-start on healthy eating. When I consume healthfully, she develops a desire for those wholesome foods as well and when we do begin solids those foods will be her preference. Unfortunately, the converse is also true, so I better stop eating sweets after church on Sundays or she will become permanently addicted to all things chocolate (of course, as a female, I think she may already be doomed).

As far as the question goes, life does imitate art and for Aoife, I want to make sure what she emulates from me are healthy eating patterns since there will come a day when that she will be eating mommy's "toys" too.

No comments: