We don’t, much. Snacks, I’ve found, are a major reason Tuck, at least, didn’t try things at meals. We were always strict about snacks–he had one at 10 and one after nap (usually 3:30); they were limited in size, and he never had a snack cup or anything that allowed him to determine when he’d eat. No eating in the car, or anywhere but at the table when we were at home. Out and about things flexed a bit. Usually the morning snack was in a park, but if we happened to be at Target I might let him munch on his crackers out of his snack bag to keep himself occupied. Still, he was getting pretty demanding, and was never satisfied once he’d finished what I offered. It was a lot of carb-heavy Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies or stoned wheat thins, raisins, etc., since he wouldn’t eat cheese in non-shredded form.
But I was struck by the passages about snacks in “French Kids Eat Everything.” The author is much more reliant on snacks than we ever were–her kids always eat in the car, at stores, and any time she needs them quiet. But her quest to break the habit made me think a lot about the whole “shut them up with food” concept that we are all so used to. After all, don’t most of us snack in the car occasionally? Most Americans probably eat at least one MEAL in the car every day! Is it really so bad?
I honestly think it is. I’m working a lot with Tuck on being patient, and I think the French idea of hunger not being a bad thing (as in, feeling hungry when you sit down for a meal) is one that we as a society need to embrace.
I’m a hypocrite, by the way, because one of the only things that controls various pregnancy symptoms for me is to snack several times a day to keep my blood sugar very level. Ahem.
Since we started the new approach to food, the morning snack has disappeared about half the time. Depending on what we’re doing and whether I think he needs it, he sometimes has a little cheese or shares a cookie with me. In the afternoon, he generally has a decent snack after nap, but if he sleeps later than normal and it’s getting too close to dinner, we skip it. I’ve noticed that even after just a couple weeks the demands for snack (“Sack? Sack? SACK?”) at specific times or in certain places have diminished. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that they are unpredictable now!
(Another element is that he’s been eating breakfasts that would, in Ben’s words, choke a horse, so I’m not concerned that he’s starving two hours later. One morning this weekend he ate his usual big bowl of plain yogurt with applesauce and fortified infant oatmeal, a huge slice of bread with peanut butter, cereal with banana, blackberries, and half a leftover blueberry pancake (large) from lunch out the day before. He may be five feet tall by July.)
I’m just over 29 weeks along now, and looking down the tunnel at the next couple months. Over the long weekend we made a list of 45 things to get done before Tuck’s early birthday party at the beginning of August, and then we proceeded to check 16 of them off. It was thrilling: Tasks included “scrub front porch,” “swap out board and picture books” and “hang art in guest room,” but man, is it satisfying to get stuff done. I planted things in the pots on our patio, at long last, so it looks less like an abandoned lot:
And we ended with a fun afternoon playing in the driveway with the water table, hose, and, eventually, a long-overdue scrubbing of the car. Tuck was extremely helpful (and figured out how to use the hose nozzle VERY quickly, much to my (damp) surprise).
Happy summer! More to come soon on what we’ve been eating over the past week.