My kid just dumped her toy bin all over the floor and used the bin as a hat. “Look at all the toys, Daddy, look at all the toys. A real mess,” she says smiling.
I can’t help but smile, though.
We’ll probably put them back in together. She’ll have just as much fun cleaning up as she did dumping them out.
My eldest is more than half way through her third year. It’s been a blast. There are tough moments, sure, but they’re vastly outweighed by great ones, heart-soaring, fabulous ones.
A dad loving his children is certainly nothing new. I shan’t bore you further with the cliché that my kid is the greatest kid ever.
Watching them grow from these totally helpless, teensy humans into mostly helpless mini-humans is absolutely fascinating. Since my eldest is only two and a half, she’s not quite at the tipping point. I’m not sure when the tipping point occurs, the point where their environment and their history start interfering with their nature. For now, she is a perfect little human. She moves with an effortless grace, her body is a perfectly balanced wonder of nature. She squats, ass to grass, with perfect form. She bends and twists and moves so freely. Her toes are lined up like soldiers in a perfect straight line.
It’s only a matter of time before she’s corrupted by chairs and shoes and myriad other things just like you and I are; shoes and chairs mess up your body to the point that an ass to ankles squat causes your heels to come up off the floor. Your feet are probably screwed up for life1, but, with practice, you can reclaim the ankle and hip mobility to do a perfect deep squat.
And if you’re willing to watch and listen to your child, you might learn how to eat again too, just like I did.
Kids don’t know about calories or macros or vitamins or supplements or meal replacements. They don’t know about Doritos, processed cheese or McNuggets, either. They only know about what their perfect bodies tell them. They know when they’re hungry, when they’re not, when they want more of this but not that.
I’ve seen her gobble an obscene amount of broccoli one day, and then completely ignore it the next. I’ve seen her eat, in one sitting, two eggs, half a tub of yogurt, a whole pint of blackberries. She’s snuck potato chips when she thought I wasn’t looking, but then rejected them when offered. She’s returned half of a peanut butter cookie to me. A peanut butter cookie! Homemade, grandma’s recipe! Returned!
All of this speaks to a being highly tuned to her body.
Everything we do is rooted in our biology. We don’t eat things because they taste good, they taste good because we eat them. We experience pleasure when eating as a means to get us the nutrients and energy to keep our bodies going.
Just like your crappy squat and messed up feet, chances are good that your palate is screwed up too. Mine was. For four years, I tried to lose weight and over that time, my tastes for different food changed. When I started, I craved food that was bad for me: sugar-laden, processed junk. And I was hungry. As I progressed though, I noticed I no longer craved those foods, to the point now, where I don’t even really enjoy them. I can’t eat nearly as much as I used to, either. I get fuller faster, or perhaps, I notice I’m fuller earlier. All that reflects my improved hormone profile – but that’s a different post.
So how do you recapture that lost ability to listen to your body?
Concentrate. Close your eyes. Taste. Pretend you’ve never tasted it before, bring back the wonder. Listen to your what your body tells you as you eat. Listen 20 minutes after your first bite. Listen a few hours after.
Ask yourself if you’re truly enjoying what you’re eating. If not, stop eating it.
And try something else. Get cooking, you’ll love it.
You might even like cleaning up.
- unless you want to look like a space monkey with those silly foot finger shoes [↩]