Happy, happy day, this lovely 5th of May

So many things to celebrate on this fine 5th of May!

First and most obviously, it’s Cinco de Mayo! It just so happens that we’ll be enjoying the healthy and most delicioso Quesadilla Casserole tonight! I didn’t even plan it.  It’s a tweaked version of the recipe found in McCormick’s new Recipe Inspirations collection. More on that tomorrow, after the fiesta…

Yet another reason to celebrate (and the most important in my little world): Today is my little boy’s half-birthday! Yup. I can’t believe it either. A full 6 months old today. I looked at him last night as he rocked back and forth on his hands and knees, sat in his big-boy high chair, ate his food from a spoon and smiled with his teeny teeth showing and realized that you all really weren’t kidding when you said it goes fast. I’m trying…really trying…to enjoy every single second.

At 7:45 this evening, this is what I will be thinking about…

It still takes my breath away to think about that day. (And it still makes me feel like a super hero!) I’m a lucky mama, and I never forget it.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve experienced a good bit of anxiety over introducing solids and establishing good eating habits now that we’ve hit the big 6-month mark, and the past couple of days have had me really reflecting on my food ‘tude. 

I’ve been excited to introduce the pears, because they are one of my favorites and I know Finn will just love them. Well, the teething has been getting bad, especially last night, and I caught myself thinking, “Maybe we should give him the pears tonight to try and make him feel better.” I busted myself thinking the same thing about celebrating his 6-month mark.

Oh, he’s hurting. Let’s give him something good to eat to make him feel better.

Let’s do something special to celebrate! Let’s have pears!

I’m not proud of my first inclination to ease his suffering with the only version of a sweet treat I can give him right now. I’m not sure how I feel about focusing celebrations around food. When I was growing up, we rarely missed an occasion to eat cake, candy or ice cream. It was our way of coming together and sharing happiness, usually over chocolate.

He doesn’t know any better right now, but old habits die hard and I don’t want to pass my old sugar-coated, nougat-filled ones on to him. 

I also know the power of things like hugs and snuggles, and it’s far stronger–and healthier– than that of sweets.

I know how I feel about the first issue. It is not OK to quell disappointment, hurt feelings, skinned knees or any other physical or emotional boo-boo with food. Especially not sweet food. No question there.

But what about when it’s time to celebrate? Is there anything wrong with associating special times with special treats? I’m thinking this one is OK, as long as the focus on health and wellness doesn’t waver. I mean, we’re celebrating today with a recipe inspired by the foods of Mexico, right? 

I think my fear is that truly special occasions will turn into nothing more than an opportunity for a crazy sugarfest. I guess introducing my little guy to one of Nature’s best gifts on his big day (I realize it’s not all that big to anyone but me…) is in keeping with my general philosophy about food.  Now, it would be a different story if I were letting him lick the icing off a big gnarly blue cupcake….

I’m still working it all out. For now, I’m just proud of myself for knowing how easy it is to blur the lines between all the different ways we tend to use food, and for trying to set a good example for the healthiest practices now. When mama ain’t healthy, ain’t nobody healthy, right?

Finally, yet another reason to celebrate today: Good health + good weather = getting outside to exercise! (Can’t ever take that for granted.)

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What do you think about the food/celebration issue? How do you balance the two, and if you do set limits, do others ever make you feel guilty about “depriving” your child of the “joys of childhood”?

2 Comments

Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food

2 Responses to Happy, happy day, this lovely 5th of May

  1. Happy half-birthday to your little boy!!! :)

    Really interesting post. I don’t have a good answer, except to say that I agree with you that we all need to be careful about using food as a reward or a pick-me-up. That’s definitely how I grew up, and it certainly contributed to some of my food issues.

    But you’re right, celebrations are a different story. Overall I’d say it’s fine to associate celebrations with food, as long as the entire focus isn’t on the cake or the ice cream. The emphasis should really be on the cause for the celebration, the time spent with family and friends, etc. As long as food is merely a PART of the celebration, instead of the focus, I think it works!

  2. Thanks, Katie!

    I’m right there with ya on that one. I’m realizing more and more each day that it is a learning process…one that requires lots of “Mom intuition.”

    I also wonder how this would differ if I were raising a girl. Food for blog thought, I think….

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