Baby Belly

Welcome to the new site! I have been dreaming of having a website for literally years, and after seeing Jora’s re-designed blog and learning that the beautiful Desi had designed it, I sent her an email asking if she’d be up to creating a site for me. It’s one of those things I was never getting around to as an actor, and being home with Luciana as much as I am now, it seemed like something I could work on at naps and after bedtime. I am so happy with it–we were going for something had an old-fashioned glammy feel to it while still being contemporary enough to make sense in this century. Take a ramble, if you like, and let me know what you think. Thank you Desi!!! You’re so good at what you do.

I feel like I need to write something revelatory for this first post on the new site. I don’t know that what I have to say will be that, but the book I’m reading is. I am so so so so happy and grateful that the leader of the mommy&me group I’m in suggested Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter. I’m pretty sure that as parents we all have one area of concern for our kids that’s bigger than the others. Luciana is a great sleeper, incredibly physical and vocal, loving, active, focused–in so many ways we have it easy. For a few reasons, Eating and Food have been harder. For me more than for her. Luciana has always been tall, and starting around 6 months she got lean. And then by 9 months she was leaner.

I know our pediatrician didn’t mean to make me feel badly about it, but she said a couple of things which I took to mean I really needed to get Luciana to eat a lot. I was on a gentle track with solid food—slowly introducing small bits starting at 6 months, and LC has never been the girl to sit down and inhale whatever was in front of her. Though she is in every way completely healthy, I’ve had this quiet stress in the back of my head that my kid wasn’t eating enough and wasn’t gaining enough weight. Even though by a year she had come back up a bit, the fear didn’t go away–I felt like I had to be hyper-vigilant or she’s be malnourished or something. I was starting to go down a path I didn’t want to take any further: I saw myself offering her more food when she’d said she’d had enough. I felt myself getting really upset inside when she didn’t want to eat. I heard myself encouraging her to put another bite in her mouth, and none of this felt right. Didn’t feel in line with the parent I aspire to be: one that trusts my girl. Plus I’ve had my share of battles with food and I don’t want to lay a foundation that could set Luciana up for the same (I am not blaming my parents for mine, by the way!!) Enter this book. Suffice to say it brought everything home for me. Not only does it give so many behavioral examples that made me realize I am so not alone in having a babe that can go some days and barely eat a thing–that it’s normal, in fact, for kids to do that– but it gives many cases of parents pushing too much and how the kids react: by eating less.

I could say so much about Child of Mine, but I’ll distill it into the heart of Satter’s message: my job as Mama is to prepare appropriate delicious food, serve it a regular times, and see that meal and snacktimes are enjoyable. Luciana’s job is to decide if she wants to eat it and how much. That’s it. No shoving the spoon in her mouth, no telling her what she likes, no jumping up to make her 4 new things if she doesn’t eat what I deem enough in an attempt to get her to eat more. I decided to try this starting about a week ago, and it’s astonishing how much better of a time we’re both having and how I can see that she’s eating great: she’s eating enough for her. At times that’s a little, at times that’s a lot. Gone is that feeling of pressure at the table which even if I wasn’t saying anything about it, I’m sure she could sense and that’s got to be disconcerting. And side note she’s now eating broccoli and zucchini. On certain days:) I have to laugh at myself too because if she keeps going like this, Luciana will be the girl I always envied growing up: long and lean and happy to leave food on her plate, and here I am freaking out about it. Yet another example of how letting go is so much more rewarding than trying to control.

I’d check this book out if you’ve had one kernel of stress or even confusion about how to feed a babe. It’s a huge relief to have resources like this when you’re hit in the face with a bout of self-doubt, which I’m learning goes with the territory of being called Mom.

For my non-mama readers, I promise next post will be more universal.

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One Response

  1. Desi says:

    Thank you, Melanie. You were a pleasure to work with.

    I’ve seen other friends go through the food struggles with their kids. It’s no fun. I’m glad you and Luciana feel less pressured. That’s always the preferred way of being 😉

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