Friday, August 19, 2011

A Spin-

on Nature vs. Nurture.  In which I become a bad example. 

LG is my mini-me.  He looks like me, he talks like me, he eats like me.  Clearly the looking like me is nature.  Not like he's had any plastic surgery.  The talking part is nurture.  If he'd been raised by wolves he'd howl (oh, wait, he does howl on occasion.  That doesn't say much for our household, does it?)  But the eating thing, which is it???

I should explain what I mean.  Lg doesn't "sit" though a meal.  He wiggles, he squirms.  He kneels on his seat, or sits criss cross apple sauce.  He gets up once or twice.  He packs food into his cheeks, and some times you practically have to wrestle the next bite into his mouth.  By his choice, he'd eat a few bites of everything on his plate each night and leave the rest.  The best way to get a whole meal into him is to plan an hour and let him play while you poke it in a bite at a time.  Reliably, you could serve him half a normal sized meal and he'd not ask for any more.  At school it's a chore to get him to eat his whole lunch, but he always eats snack.  LG is by no means adding to the childhood obesity epidemic, trust me.

And when I think back to when I was a kid, I was the same way.  Even if I liked something, if I wasn't hungry I found it very hard to eat.  Of course, I was never hungry at the convenient meal times.  I'd fidget.  I'd whine.  At one point around the age of 8 my mother realized it was easier to let me eat off a TV tray while watching "Reading Rainbow" in the living room for an hour than have to suffer through dinner with me.  Nice, huh?  And yes, it would take me a whole hour to get through a bowl of ravioli.  Most nights I'd even finish. It would disgust her (she's a good Italian, she always worried that even the healthiest of people wasn't eating enough.  I was her nemesis...)

So, nature, right?  LG has inherited my unreliable hunger mechanism.  That's what I always thought.  Until a few weeks ago when PB called me out on it.  How would LG learn good table manners and eating habits from me, he wondered...  I still fidget, and sit in an odd manner at the table (which I blame on chairs that are not made for smaller sized people- I can't get comfy!)  I get up frequently (most times it's because someone asks for something- a good excuse).  If I'm at a restaurant, I will ask for a box upfront, knowing that a restaurant sized meal will be way more that I can eat.  If I'm not hungry, it is a struggle to get even a few bites in (though I do because I know that if I don't I'll regret it when I am hungry and I realize I've passed up a good meal!)  Through the years people have worried that I have an eating disorder.  Others will tell me they find it hard to spend prolonged periods of time with me because I make them gain weight (if only they would realize that when you eat 5 times a day you're supposed to eat LESS than a meal each time, they'd be fine...)

Sigh.  Nurture.  Clearly.  He might have inherited the small stomach, but the rest I've clearly taught him.  My bad.  For a long time dinner was a nightly fight, a fiasco (and sometimes still is).  I don't know why I expected him to be something he's just not.  He's going to be a 5 meal a day person, just like me.  Small meals, or big snacks, depending on how you look at it. 

Whatever, he still looks like me. 


Anonymous said...

Gotta disagree with you on the chairs. I believe they ARE made for people your size. I can't sit on a kitchen chair for more than 10 minutes without being uncomfortable. My knees are generally higher than my waist and I pretty much feel like Hightower from Police Academy. And I'm pretty much average height to slightly-tall. I think all furniture designers must be tiny people who don't realize a good number of people exceed 6 foot.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I used to think we had that problem with Sprite since I would hear she ate fine at school, things like hamburgers and fishsticks, things I've never once seen her eat willingly, but at home, unless it was mac-n-cheese or chicken nuggets, it was always a fight to get her to eat it.
I've become more of a five meal a day eater myself and the smaller meals do help with not being overwhelmingly hungry by mealtime. Kind of like a tank of gas. You never let it get under half full before filling it up. :-)
(That last bit made a lot more sense in my head..)
You're linked!

Jamie said...

I think it is awesome that LG naturally gravitates to five small meals a day and that you also have that proclivity. It is much healthier and most of us have to retrain ourselves to do that. I try really hard not to fight the kids on eating. All we can do is provide them with healthy, balanced meals. Eating it is their job. They will eat what they need.

VandyJ said...

I see myself in Turbo--I tended to pick at my food at meals growing up. He does that now if he's not absolutely starving at dinner time. It also helps him to eat quicker if he likes the dinner that is put in front of him.
For us this is more nature, as I don't pick at my meals now. It frustrates Nick to no end because he eats so quickly. A learned behavior from when he was growing up.

blueviolet said...

Those who eat the smaller meals do tend to be at healthier weights, so that's kind of a good thing. I wouldn't have wanted to wait an hour for you to eat either, so I really can't blame your mom at all.

CaJoh said...

Perhaps it is both. Not being hungry may be nature, but observing your behavior at the dinner table sounds like nurture.

RedWriter said...

When I was younger I was the same, I would take for ever to eat a meal and would mess about with it on my plate that much my mother couldn't watch. I'm better now so hopefully my Katharine will pick up on that ha ha. Great post. :) xx

unmitigated me said...

Those chairs are for people my size - average height, which means most people don't fit that well into dining chairs. It's why office chairs are adjustable. Why aren't dinner chairs?

Nakita said...

The kids I nanny are a disaster to feed. Every meal is such a struggle! They have to sit nicely and none of them want to eat anything!