I am not a child psychologist, or even a mother who thinks my behavior and parenting skills are so amazing that they should be globally emulated.
I am, however, a loving mom of two.
I’ve been the mom who bragged that her baby ate everything. Everything. I’ve been the mom of the kid who would only eat crackers for two years. I’ve been the mom of the baby who breastfed for comfort, as well as the baby who didn’t even want to see my breast unless she was hungry.
I’ve been the mom who spent a ridiculous amount of time preparing a lunch that I know my picky kid will love, only to have her fight me—and request crackers.
I’ve been the mom of the child who finally loves a variety of foods again, including actual green vegetables.
I’ve been the mom who discovered that her new-to-foods baby does like food—she just wants garlic-laden savory dishes, and items like beets.
And the thing is, we all go through phases. Right now I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast (peanut butter toast), and I do this regularly—eat this same thing, until it switches up into something else. I do this, and I’m not five-years-old and one.
I was recently told of another mother stressing out over her toddler son—who, go figure, loved all foods as a baby!—eating a strict diet of, you’ve guessed it—crackers. I sighed and thought how familiar this particular worry feels, even though we’re thankfully past it. All I offered was that I hope she keeps introducing new foods to him, but that she doesn’t flip out over it, the way I did, and the way so many other mamas I know do.
I can largely guarantee that most children will not become 30-something-year-olds that will only eat yellow, fish-shaped crackers. This isn’t to say that trying different feeding styles, or even seeking a professional’s help, is not worthwhile, because it can be. What this is, is a reminder that it’s a phase. It’s all a phase, really—in the grand scheme of things.
I wish I could go back and tell newer-mom-me that I should focus more of my worried-mother energy on simply embracing the way her downy-baby hair was turning slowly into lush curls. I wish I could tell myself to pay better attention, too, to when her legs lengthened from little-baby thighs and calves and into a little girl’s. I wish I could remind myself to enjoy these phases that I love being immersed in, even if it doesn’t completely take away the other responsibilities and stress that comes with helping a tiny person grow up.
Because, ultimately, it’s all a phase, and one day I won’t have these same worries, but I will have different ones. (I’m not convinced at all, for instance, that my girls won’t have other food aversions ahead.)
Yet sometimes, we need to remember to worry just a tiny bit less, and to take in this sheer love, that being a parent brings, a whole lot more.