I'm sure some think I'm crazy for being so concerned with everything my daughter eats — but they don't have to deal with the consequences.
by Sarah Kaczmarek
We're careful about what our kids eat, but holidays and special occasions are never easy. I always struggle about whether to stay on track with a schedule and what my girls eat, or to let my kids "just be kids." After Easter I told myself I would never compromise what Hadley ate ever again — we paid for it over a couple of days — but I have to accept that that just isn't always possible.
The Fourth of July passed without too much trouble; we made it through another holiday. Our schedule was out of whack from the Saturday prior all the way through Thursday. We definitely had meltdowns, but the food went much better.
Hadley is clearly reactive to food dye and dairy; we also try to stay away from preservatives, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and sodium benzoate. The problem is that these things are in so many foods! It can be awkward explaining why we don't allow dye, dairy, and preservatives. I'm sure there are people who think we're crazy for being so concerned with everything she eats, but they don't have to bring her home to deal with the end result: I can always tell when something has slipped in.
At six years old Hadley is surprisingly accepting of what she can't eat. We've talked about what certain foods do to our bodies. Most of the time when we expect treats to be available, we bring similar alternatives for her. Still, I frequently feel ambivalent about food choices for her. I worry about being so restrictive she'll sneak off-limit foods as she gets older.
For now I need to be happy about how accepting she is of the exchanges we have made. We've come a long way from her toddler years of plate-tossing and refusal to try new foods, behavior extreme enough that it led to our first visit to a child psychologist. I have to believe that some of her acceptance is a result of feeling better from eating better.