“I’m not gonna eat breakfast.”, announced Snuggle Puppy.
“Do you want oatmeal or toast or cereal?”, I calmly reply.
“No. I don’t like those things.”, said in the most high-pitched whiny voice you can imagine.
“You have three choices for breakfast. What would you like to eat?”
“I hate those. I’m not gonna eat. I hate this.”, said a bit less whiny, but with more anger, arms crossed defiantly now.
“Snuggle Puppy, would you like cereal or oatmeal or toast?”
“I will NOT eat breakfast!”
and then, I almost say it. Those words that were spoken to me many times as a child when I either didn’t want to finish my food or was being too picky about what to eat…
“There are starving children in Ethiopia.”
Except, I stop the words even as my mouth is opened, ready to let them fall. He used to be one of those children. He was starving. My son was one of those starving children in Ethiopia. My son.
On the one hand, it is a good sign that he is being picky, that he won’t eat just anything. There were so many months when he first came home that he almost ate himself sick, not feeling secure about when the next meal would be. This shows that he knows that there will always be food here.
On the other hand, it is frustrating. I’d like to say that it is equal to the frustration I feel when one of the other kids says a similar thing, but I have to admit that I feel a bit more frustration because part of me thinks that since he knows how it feels to really be hungry, to not have choices about what to eat for breakfast, to not know if there would be a lunch or a supper or breakfast the next day, he should want to eat what there is. But I remind myself that he is nine and a half…and my standards need to be the same for all of my kids regardless of whether or not they have known real hunger.
And I smile to know that he trusts me enough to tell me that he doesn’t like something, remembering the days when it was clear from his facial expression that he didn’t like something, but he would eat it anyway. It’s a reminder that we are making progress and that he is just a normal kid, but one with a different history than most Canadian kids have.