Food for thought.

I have always been a bit obsessive mindful of DS’ eating habits, paying close attention to the food groups and making sure he had a balanced diet from the word go. Some might consider my behaviour a bit abnormal, I mean, I have been known to stand in the yoghurt aisle for a good fifteen minutes, noting each pot for it’s sugar, salt and saturated fat content.

Knowing this about me, my seven year old sister was a little anxious about staying at my house this weekend. She’s that kid you see in the TV programmes, junk food galore, shunning every vegetable in sight. My mission was to break her down, remove the crisps and replace with fruit and well balanced meals.

It wasn’t as difficult as I first anticipated. I allowed no room for discussion, outlining that her dislike for one thing or another just did not matter. Sometimes children and adults have to do things we don’t necessarily want to. It’s important to embed this young, teaching children to get over things easily, otherwise you end up with an adult who has learnt to be spoilt like me.

I made eating fun, getting DS and my sister to race against each other – who can eat the fastest, who can find the carrot first, who has the biggest chunk of salmon. If they grew tired of the games and receded back to moaning about their meals, I would not even acknowledge that either had spoken. I like to be hard but fair in my approach – speaking to children matter-of-factly seems to work well.

Some would view the spectrum above and believe the best position would be to place themselves in the middle – well balanced, a bit of everything. The stigma of mothers who stand firmly on the right end of the spectrum, is over presumptuous and gives excuses to those who wish they could have done better. Mothers who obsess over healthy eating slave away in the kitchen, they create children who are gagging for a bit of chocolate, alienated by their peers and when they are older they’ll over indulge.

It’s not true. It takes me 20 minutes tops to make DS’ lunch every time. We eat the same dinners. It is just as quick to pick up an apple as it is to grab a packet of salt ridden Walkers. Children who go without are resigned to this fact. When they are older, they will become equally as apathetic. Something went wrong for the children who do over indulge.

Hopefully my prudence will spur my sister on to eat with variety and encourage DS to continue his love for healthy foods. I don’t think I can convince her to steer away from junk food entirely – I don’t work miracles.

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Toys Are Us.

So Christmas has been and gone as fast as it came, leaving a trail of oversized plastic monstrosities and a mother desperate for more storage. It appears last year’s storage solutions are no longer fit for the job and I now have specific corners of each room dedicated for DS’ toys and books.

I have managed to hide all plastic out of sight, in places easily accessible to DS. They are just such an eyesore, tasteless and oh so American. We have lots of wooden toys, which are just (or even more so) enjoyable and they are mechanically very clever. Like the snail pull along toy that bobs up and down when pulled across the room, or the intricate detail in the tools for work bench we bought DS for one of his Christmas presents. Classic, impressive and definitely not tacky. Actually, let me tip toe back a bit, I do like Lego. I’ll give you that.

For comparison; classic wooden car park Grandma bought DS..

VS.

..a plastic monstrosity. Luckily we didn't receive this.

I am planning on getting rid of old toys to allow for more space this week, but I am a secret hoarder for memories. I know cannot continue following DS through life with a hoover in one hand and a suction bag in another. I am setting myself up for a fall when he lives for University and I am left at home clutching at his toggle coat from aged 1 and playing with his Mega Bloks.

‘Cause we’ve all been painted by numbers.

We should bring back the abacus in schools, why did we ever stop using them? These kids are extraordinary at what they can do. I don’t think it’s particularly cruel; it starts off as a game when you’re young and it becomes something you want to thrive in. It teaches discipline, keeps you sharp and makes you want to learn. Three things which children lack in this modern age. Maybe if this was reintroduced and teachers were stricter in the classroom truancy, underage sex, drugs and whatnot, would not be an issue.

I’m going to buy DS an abacus soon; he’s too young to learn but it will be a good game. Although I agree with this method of teaching, I would not subject DS to the intensity of how the abacus is taught in Asian counties. I think there is a line, and if we get it right, children could really benefit from this.