Thursday, March 12, 2015

Parenting Declaration: Nine Years Old Is Old Enough To Feed They Own Damn Selves

Every culture seems to have their own emphasis on food.  Food brings families together.  We see restaurants of every ethnicity spring up on Pinterest and Yelp each day.  Networks are clamoring over the next competition episode - pitting one's culinary background against another.

Italians pride themselves on sacred recipes spanning many generations.  French have elevated cooking into an art form.  Say what you will about British cuisine, they have their fair share of kitchen celebrities.  Chinese is no different.

Walk into any Chinese restaurant and we'll show you food before you get in the door.  Food will be swimming in tanks and hanging from hooks.  The menu is several pages in two languages and you should also consider what's posted on the interior walls before ordering.  Dim-Sum isn't necessarily a civilized brunch on a Sunday - it's more like full-contact food ordering.  There's less chaos at a demolition derby.  You see a dish you want, you lock-on to that steam cart and pounce when it comes within range of your table.  Leave some for the next guy?  I don't think so.  Last har-gow is best har-gow.

Clearly, we enjoy staying well-fed.  It physically hurts me when I hear my kid say "I'M HUNGRYYYYY!!!!" - mainly because my mom is hitting me with her shoe, wondering why I am depriving her granddaughter of nourishment.  But I have come upon a revelation.  It's a discovery that has freed me in so many ways.

Nine Years Old Is Old Enough To Feed They Own Damn Selves.

 I'm smiling just typing that again.  I've stopped preparing the daily breakfasts for my children.  They have adapted and are now fixing enough food for breakfast and lunch to survive the school days.  It has allowed me to start a workout routine.  I'm more awake at the office, my knees are stronger, I have more ENERGY, and I have lost fifteen pounds.  My next physical should also verify my bloodwork is healthier - fingers crossed.

I know there are kids who are nine and, for that matter, adults who are forty-nine, that cannot prepare their own foods.   I can understand that there are moms AND dads who just want to keep cooking.  They've been blessed by the Kitchen Gods.  They can make delicious meals - no big.  They see every swallowed forkful as affirmation of love - it's validating in a sense.  It's like a runner's high but with a lot of spatulas.

But I'm determined to end that.  I've gotten enough praise over eight years of breakfasts and lunches (I'll still make dinners - I'm not releasing them into the wild here), and it's time to pass that creme-brulee torch.  THEY are now the recipients of MY praise when they're walking out the door with a balanced lunch in their backpacks.

Ma, stop hitting me.