Kids' Eating: The Pringles Incident
I got home from work yesterday to find my 6-year-old daughter in her bedroom sobbing her little heart out, and her surly faced father stalking around the house, pissed as anything. Turns out Jamie was being punished for eating an entire can of Pringles in one sitting (after being told to take only one portion), after which, for some childish, stupid-headed reason, she decided to try to pretend she hadn't done what she'd just done. So she put the top back on the tube and announced to her father that she'd finished, and she was putting the tube on the kitchen counter so he could put the rest of the chips away.
Imagine his surprise when he went to do so and found an empty can.
There was, apparently, some yelling involved.
After things had calmed down, I asked Jamie about what had happened from her point of view. Jamie told me she just didn't understand why she had lied to her dad. And then she said something that made my heart break for her a little. She said, "I don't know why I ate all those Pringles in the first place, Mommy. Sometimes I just don't have control over how much I eat, and I don't know how to get control."
We talked about it a little bit—about strategies for kids not eating a whole tube of Pringles. I told her that adults have the same problem sometimes, which is why I won't sit down with a whole bag of pretzels in front of me.
But really, I didn't know what to say to her about the larger issue. It's an ongoing one; she really does get a bit obsessed about food, and we really are generally pretty good about not depriving her, despite the fact that she does show some tendencies toward being overweight. (This is a particularly hard thing for Steve, who really battles an ingrained "fat phobia" passed on to him by his mother.)
I don't know what else to say to an almost-7-year-old who expressed a feeling of being out of control around food. I'm out of ideas.