Sunday, October 9, 2011
Last week, Shine ran an open letter from an aunt to a niece about the pitfalls of being a picky eater. See the link here: http://shine.yahoo.com/event/momentsofmotherhood/an-open-letter-to-my-niece-2574123/.
If I were the parent of that child, I would be seriously annoyed and offended. Do you think they need your help feeding their child? Do you think they need you voicing your opinion so publicly? Do you think the parents are not aware that they have a picky child and have tried everything under the sun to expand their kid's food repertoire? I am all for encouraging kids to expand their palettes. I draw the line at humiliating some young girl on the world wide web. My kids are not overly picky or fussy eaters. This is not because of some secret skill we have as parents. I think we just got lucky. My kids are greedy little moochers. And if someone has something they don't, well..... that person better be prepared to share or hand over the whole thing. I don't pontificate to my friends and family about how to feed their children. They have minds of their own and pediatricians. Unless they pay me or ask for my advice, I keep quiet. It's none of my business. And, most pediatricians will tell you that picky eating is a phase. If the kid is happy and healthy then don't get too stressed about it. I don't know if the aunt/author has children of her own but if/when she does, she better be prepared to get an earful of unsolicited advice. Before we have kids, we have this image of ourselves as perfect parents raising perfect children. News flash - there is no such thing. Even Jesus wandered off at market and scared his parents. They reprimanded him for worrying them and taking off without permission. So, if Jesus wasn't the model son and even his parents had to yell at him in public for wandering off, then maybe the idea that I or my kids will be perfect is completely out of the realm of possibility. And, maybe it doesn't always take a village to raise a child. Maybe auntie should leave the discipline and health care to the parents. She should be happy to be the fun aunt who gets to spoil the kid occasionally.
So here is my open letter to the nosy aunt:
It's easy to judge from the sidelines. Have you ever tried to convince a young child that eating whatever you put on their plate is not (a) an evil plot to ruin their life, (b) poison, (c) garbage covered in slime and heated for our sick amusement? If you have ever experienced the hell that is feeding a small child, then you would have the sense to mind your own business and trust that we are doing the best we can. Since we are sharing unsolicited opinions, here are some on the way YOU live. You are a nosy, intrusive, pontificating know-it-all. When your life is perfect, feel free to approach us about how to raise our children. Until then, feel free to visit on birthdays and holidays with large presents. Otherwise, don't call us. We'll call you.
To the aunt, I add these thoughts. You are entitled to your own opinion. You don't always have to share it. And you don't have to publish it on the Internet.