Image: Courtesy David Goehring on Flikr
I’m of the mind that, when it comes to parenting, to each his/her own. But, if you decide to make public posts about what you do or don’t do a parent, then you’re opening yourself to feedback. And guess what? That feedback ain’t always gonna be nice!
That’s why I’m surprised that Carrie Saum would publicly admit that she just lets her 2-and-half year-old child eat chunks of butter for dinner if that’s what he wants. Her article on Ravishly is called Stop Fat-Shaming My Toddler:
Tonight, my 2.5-year-old is insisted on eating organic coconut oil and Kerrygold butter for dinner. Just fat. Straight. No bread, no noodles, no potatoes to soften the fat blow. I gagged a little in my mouth as handed him a chunk of butter and spooned out another glob of coconut oil.
She goes on to explain a little of the rationale behind her decision: he has suffered from food allergies and food aversions.
He has been overcoming severe food allergies and aversions for most of his life. He boycotted ALL food except my pumped breast milk for three months.
I would guess that she’s just glad he’s eating something instead of nothing. Parents of toddlers have all felt this at some point! But, she actually justifies this way of eating by saying:
So, if he tells me he wants a stick of butter for dinner, I hand it over to him and TRUST HIM. I trust that his body needs the fat. I trust that his brain, which is comprised of 60% fat just like mine, needs fuel to make the next developmental leap. And I trust him when he tells me what his body needs because that is the most important thing I can do as a parent: believe him. And here’s an unintended consequence of believing him: I believe myself, too.
Wait. Wait. You trust your not-even-three-year-old to know what his body needs? Really? Little humans who, when they desperately need sleep, will refuse to sleep? Sure! Let’s just trust that same little person to decide what to have for dinner!
Look, I have no problem with ‘fat’. When I’m cooking, I sometimes give my daughter a little spoonful of coconut oil to eat – because it’s yummy and, yes, we need fats to absorb vitamins and help our brain function.
But, would I ever allow my daughter to tell me, “I just want to eat coconut oil for dinner”? No! She doesn’t even know it’s an option. We serve the same dinner for all 3 of us and she eats it or she doesn’t it. If she makes a suggestion for a meal, we will try to accommodate. For instance, she will often wake up in the morning on weekends wanting pancakes, or eggs and bacon, or oatmeal. But, “I want crackers for breakfast” would never fly!
Maybe I’m lucky because she has no food allergies and she loves to eat things like carrots and hummus and veggies of all sorts. But it still strikes me as a bad path to allow your toddler to dictate what s/he will eat because you ‘trust his/her body to know what it needs’.
Was Carrie Saum really dealing with people ‘fat-shaming’ her toddler? Or was it more like “parenting shaming’? I have a feeling she was ‘bragging’ about her laid-back parenting style and how she lets her child eat butter and had some other parents chime in with concern. Because really, unless she broadcasts her life, who’s in the kitchen watching what she feeds her son?
If she wanted a conversation, she’s certainly getting one now!