six, make that about TWENTY-six, grey hairs on the right side of my head. The other day my brother told me I have a smile like The Grinch (facial wrinkles). I have a perma-line in between my eyebrows that makes me look like I’m angry, even when I’m peacefully sleeping. I don’t know if it’s from 10 years of teaching junior high, or 6 years as a dad. Either way, dad is retreating in the face of an onslaught of snot, brother-sister beat downs, and bratty adolescents. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do about it.
But there is one way kids affect our health that we CAN do something about. I’m talking about the way our children dictate our diets. I like to think I’m in charge. A man among men. King of my castle. So why do I buy things like bunny crackers, fruit strips, and rice krispy treats? Well the rice treats are all Allison, but the rest of it is due to the kids.
An honest dad reveals the truth:
“There are two small people whose tastes skew the dinner and snack menus: buttery cheese and fatty salami, pasta, salty hot dogs, French fries, Goldfish crackers….our refrigerators and dinner tables… bend to the palates of our children.”
Both dad and mom’s risk of obesity jumps up after having kids, which isn’t surprising to anyone who’s a parent. The time demands and personal sacrifices are enough to send health spiraling downward, but I wonder how much of that is due our kids determining what is in the fridge.
I am a relatively healthy guy, but after a recent bout at Panera Bread, where I DID WORK on half of Ella’s grilled cheese sandwich and the rest of Jackson’s macaroni and cheese, I know I have to be on my guard against the culinary tyranny of my kids. But how the heck do I do this when they are so picky?
Maybe the best bet is a dose of flexibility AND discipline. Kids change lives, and sometimes that change will drift into the kitchen. At the same time we are in charge of our kids, right?:
“We don’t let them gorge on television, and they generally go to bed at bedtime.
I can pick my spots, too. I can scrape some uneaten kid food into the actual garbage pail. And hey there, half-eaten plate of creamy pasta shells, don’t sit there staring at me. I’m the man of the house.”
Dang right! MAN UP, and throw the junk away, or put it in a box and give it to the kids later. Better yet, I’m working on (with the help of my awesome wife) how much we let the kids’ junk food demands dictate the contents of our kitchen.
I can’t slow the grey hairs and the lines at the corners and in between my eyes, but I can pull it together and halt those little boogers at the kitchen gates.
It’s my castle, after all.