Monday, May 22, 2006

The Popsicle Police

I think I mentioned yesterday that I have been having trouble with Trevelyn eating an exhorbitant amount of popsicles. I mean like a dozen in a day.
Today I told him to hold off until I could think about it. A couple of days ago I started making them with condensed koolaid and no sugar, thinking that I would not care if he ate them all up in one day. But as I saw his stained cheek when he woke up this morning, and his blistered lips, either from sucking on something so cold, or they were cold and ripped some skin off his lips, I got upset. My true feeling was "I want you to learn to self regulate, but you are not doing it fast enough to please me so now I have to take away your freedom until you can be trusted to eat healthy foods again."
And then I realized that the boy does not have any apples in the house. Or washed and rinsed sugar snap peas. Or any grape tomatoes. Or crackers for peanut-buttered crackers. So. After being a decent parent, by practicing some mindful parenting and realizing that it was actually my fault that he was looking for popsicles, I then sat down with him and told him what I was thinking and feeling. That I wanted to allow him to have as much as he desired, but that I wanted him to pay attention to his body's need for healthy foods. So tonight when Daddy got home (or tomorrow, if it's unreasonably late) we would go to the store, and he could pick out lots of healthy foods for him to snack on. I also posted on the Littles group for great summertime treat recipes. Then I got on Martha's site, and found some recipes for yougurt and berry popsicles. So I made some out of yougurt, lemon juice, orange juice, and blueberries. Sarah on Littles also suggested chocolate milk popsicles. I am thinking with Ovaltine. Aah. Now we're thinkin'. I asked him if he was hungry, made him another sandwich, got him a huge glass of water, gave him some graham crackers, and am now feeling like a half-way decent RU mother.I had considered earlier that since his lip had blood marks that I was justified in taking away his right to the popsicles, but it just didn't sit well. I had to do some searching to figure out what I needed to do.
No doubt it helped immensely that I am reading "Unconditional Parenting - Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason" by Alfie Kohn. It's not specifically for RU, but about mindful parenting, teaching our children that we love them unconditionally instead of conditionally, ie respecting them as people, and not withdrawing our love for them when we are angry or frustrated. Which I am very guilty of. It's not that I don't love him, of course, it's that my emotions run high, and when I am angry I have a really hard time being pleasant, way too self-indulgent in my emotions. Or at least the display of my emotions. It is extrememy challenging for me to be the parent, and not a fighting-for-control child.
Back to the popsicles...he had a peanut butter sandwich, frozen peas, and carrots for lunch. Then a popsicle. Then grapes. Then another peanutbutter sandwich. Then the graham crackers. Then a popsicle. He was just in there for another, and I saw the red burn on his cheek, "Does this hurt?" "Nah, it only hurts a little bit!"as I was trying to scrub off the koolaid stain that I think is a red freeze-burn. "Trevy, I don't like this. Let's go see your cheek in the mirror. That's from freezing your cheek, honey. It needs to heal." and then the dreaded "no more popsicles today." But actually I feel okay with the decision, I don't like that angry red mark on his cheek. "How about some green beans?" "Broccoli!" great. Broccoli is on, he's in the fridge (it's now 6:00) getting out the peanut butter for another sandwich. Hungry boy today.
Of course the whole thing seems more pronounced and important than it probably is because it is constantly on my mind, and I am reading the book. Trying not to be controlling, and trying to muddle through this current issue with grace and consciousness.
Parenting is tough.

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