“‘Feel my muscles everybody!’ Maximus says victoriously from his highchair, arms up in the air, with his little fists clinched. This is after wolfing down broccoli, carrots, salad, and grilled chicken with a homemade yogurt smoothie on the side. During this meal, as with all others, we have been talking up the benefits of healthy eating, so that by now Maximus fully expects to be “big, strong, fast, & smart” simply by eating all the virtuous gifts Mother Nature has to offer. We figure that at 2½, it’s only a matter of time before he gets uppity and picky about his food, so we might as well pack in the goodness now. Maximus eats pretty much everything we eat, including kimchi that would make smoke come out of even my scalp, thus sparing us of the French fry/chicken nugget strikes that afflict many families.
This is why I am starting to dread eating dinner with other families. Maximus is in the “monkey see monkey do” phase, and all it takes is for another kid at the table to say “Yuck!” at anything that doesn’t look like a French fry. My healthy little eater then proclaims the same and pushes the virtuous yet offending food over to my plate. We don’t mind if he indulges when we’re out at a restaurant because he knows by now fries don’t come from our kitchen, but I can’t help but think this is the start of all kinds of influences that will slowly chip away at Mommy’s credibility. We also have a friend whose toddler runs away every time she lets go of his hand – as in literally flees like he has the Feds on his tail. Maximus almost always holds my hand and comes when he’s called, but not when we are with his friend The Fugitive. He thinks it’s a hilarious game and takes off without looking back or acknowledging my panicked calls…..”