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The Time Between Mouthfuls

June 21, 2012 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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If you have read my previous posts, you’ve heard about my challenges getting my children to try new and varied foods and to embrace a world beyond noodles. This post isn’t about that. It’s about what happens between mouthfuls.

I grew up in a family that ate breakfast and dinner together almost every day. Not every meal took place at the table and was leisurely and relaxed. That wasn’t the case at all. But there was the expectation that my sister and I would be home for meals, unless there was some reasonable explanation. Eating together was time used by my parents to visit as a family, catch up on the day, talk about what was good and what wasn’t. It was used to plan weekends and family trips, solve disagreements and redistribute family chores. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was establishing relationships that revolved around honesty, trust and interest in each other’s lives.

As parents, my husband and I are now working on building these relationships within our family. While we don’t get a lot of information from our children, we do get little nuggets of insight into their day, what their current interests are and who they like to play with. Yesterday at breakfast we asked our daughter about a book she read.

Me: “The book talked about ways you can help make someone feel good. Can you tell me some ways you can make people happy?”

She told us about how it’s important to say “hi” and to help people. She also thinks it’s nice to tell them that their hair looks pretty when it’s brushed.

Once we finished discussing what makes other people happy, we asked her what makes her happy. She looked at us, with all seriousness, and told us “that information is classified.”

"Classified"??? Luckily, she knew she was being funny.

We didn’t get more information than that, but it was enough. We were spending meaningful time together, enjoying being a family. The time between mouthfuls is becoming one of my favorite parts of the day.   

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