Years ago, as I walked into the NICU to a ‘wailing till the whole floor could hear him’ hours old baby I never imagined I’d be sitting in a broken chair for a couple of hours. The good nurses would pop in every few minutes but we went on nursing oblivious to all the tiny wiling babies around until he finally fell asleep and I could get back to the room, that lasted about an hour before I went right back into that broken chair.
There was another child who would squirm in the warm blanket as he lay next to me hours after he entered this world. He made the smallest of noises only till he felt my hands, as soon as he felt my hands, he knew food was coming.
Cut to a few years later and I still have one child who if hungry will let the whole world know that food has not arrived and one who will ask for it. The difference however doesn’t stop there, even while he used to be fed one would always come to see what’s in his cup, show exactly what he wants more of, sip, slurp and chew while loudly declaring how much he loved this one thing, and could eat more and more of it. At every bite he will tell you how wonderful you are because you made this yummy food that he enjoys so much.
The other, well, he would quietly savor every bite, slowly and silently eating the food he enjoys, he will know every ingredient that has gone into it, he will proceed to tell you each of these once he finishes, never before.
To one food is the sustenance that lets him do all the other things he enjoys doing so he will eat it while also doing all the other things he enjoys doing which probably means he is going to be at the table longer. This is true of a lot of us adults as well, there are many foods I don’t enjoy like lady’s finger, I eat it real fast then slowly enjoy the food I love say cauliflower would I say I’m fussy well not really I wouldn’t.
To the other, food is a novelty in itself, where does it come from? How did it become the way it is? How does one store the food to make it yummier and last longer? What makes that red cake red? He will try and find out all about it.
One of them loves the food as he sees it on the table, it makes him happy to see the items that he especially loves, chocolate for instance, he chooses what he eats.
To the other, every food item is special, it has a different taste, foods combine to make a totally different taste and that is fascinating.
Both my children have their own unique relationship to food – and its not just picky or fussy. Its relishing, savoring and knowing their tastes and the love for food that comes with it.
Now I’m not going to say who is which but I will enjoy watching them savor the foods they love as they grow and remember the teeny babies that showed their food personalities so early on.