Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Commune with the Spoon

Picture this: a cherubic child with a blond top-knot, covered from eyebrows to elbows in pureed green beans--and he's mad. Those slimy eyebrows are turned deep south over his decorated nose, and his face is painted the irate crimson of utter indignance beneath a verdant matte of liquid lunch. This scene replays itself from a high chair at my house almost everyday at lunch time, because one of my six dear little ones, does not care to wait for his lunch. Indeed, he does not care to wait for the next spoonfull. For the sake of today's blog, we shall call him King Snirkemous the First.

Snirkemous has a special place in my heart, as he has been with me for quite some time now, and I was priveleged to meet His Majesty when he was only six weeks old. He and I have something in common--we both like our meals and we like them to be prompt. We also both tend to inhale.

At my last Weight Watchers meeting, we reviewed some core guidelines that tend to make us more likely to succeed in our wellness goals. Over the past ten weeks--in something called the "Momentum Challenge"--we have been covering one guideline each week. We've talked about tracking what we eat, eating filling foods that leave us satisfied, being more active, recognizing our hunger signals, being more resilient, taking care of ourselves, dining out on plan, managing our home environments, and avoiding food as a solution for boredom.

If I could have added an eleventh item to this list, it would have addressed "Taking Time to Taste Your Food." I have mentioned in a previous blog that a baby seems to cry every time I put a fork in my mouth. Some of this, I have decided, is just O'Toole's corollary on Murphy's Law (Murphy was an optimist); however, some of this is controllable by me. I suppose this fact could be a sub-point under "taking care of myself" and "controlling my home environment," but anyway, here's what I'm doing about it.

First of all, I am trying to eat my breakfast before all the kids come at eight o'clock. This takes a bit of self discipline, since I don't usually feel hungry that soon, but I'm finding if I don't eat it then, I'll hork it all down at 10:00 whilst all three infants (Snirkemous included) are sending up a petulant cry for second breakfast. If I eat at 7;45, I can take my time.

Lunch is a bit of tricky business. If all goes according to plan, I'm supposed to eat in peace and quiet around one o'clock when everyone is down for a nap; however, all rarely goes according to plan. Consequently, I've been doing one of two things--I either make myself take at least 7 minutes to eat regardless of correspondant screaming, or I drink a protein shake that will satisfy me until a moment of peace finds me wandering senseless among the afternoon hours. Either way, I take my time.

Dinner. I have been waiting to eat until after my children go to bed at 7:30. Now I know that all the gurus out there, say it is really, REALLY BAD to eat later in the evening; however, if I actually eat (versus, just supervise) dinner with my children, I often get up twenty times during a meal. I am not exaggerating; I have counted. Mealtime is a vortex for condiments forgotten in the refrigerator, missing utensils, pooped pants, bitten tongues, phone calls, regurgetated ravioli, general emergencies, and surprise visits from your neighbors.

I met an elderly woman in a doctor's office once, right after my son was born, and she told me as much. Actually, what she told me was that it was easy to lose pregnancy weight; I should simply prepare the family dinner meal, but forego eating it. I thought she was nuts! Only now am I realizing that she meant that it just wasn't worth it to try, and the weight would come off as a natural result of an unhelpable situation.

Well, though I am now willing to confess that this pleasant stranger was entirely right about the dinner situation, I am "Managing my Home Environment" rather than toss my hands in the air and call dinner an absolute loss. I'm just dining alone, that's all. And sorry to tell you gurus, but I've been doing in for quite some weeks now, and it doesn't seem to be hindering my weight loss efforts.

So what does all this have to do with a baby covered in green beans? Well, I'm taking my own advice, you see. Frequently during King Sirkemous's lunch, I have to take a break from shoveling good stuff into his eager beak as he is not usually the only one dining at that time. The other members of the royal family--at least four to five of them--also eat their lunches around 11:45. The cease fire of carrots, or bananas, or greenbeans, etc., never thrills Sweet Snirky, so I give him his baby spoon, and instruct him thus: "Here Snirky. Commune with the Spoon."

And he does. He looks ate the spoon. He sucks on the spoon. He chews on the spoon. Only after every last molecule of babyfood has somehow been relegated to his tongue, does he toss the spoon.

Commune with the spoon. It's not bad advice actually. Since I've started going out of my way to make sure I can eat when I'm able to taste and enjoy my food, I'm finding I eat a WHOLE LOT slower. When I started eating dinner after-hours, I could finish my entire meal and dessert before the second commercial came on during whatever show I was watching; however lately, my meals are lasting for an entire hour, and I'm not even consciously making myself eat slowly!

So there you have it, once again, out of the messy mouths of babes, wisdom is gleaned. My only question is, what inspired mantra am I gonna pass on to King Snirky when he starts using a fork?

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