Strange Eating Habits

My eating habits have changed dramatically since having a child.

First, I used to sit down for a meal. Like, at an actual table with CHAIRS. Second, all parts to my meal would be on the plate at once, and I would even have a coordinating beverage. Lastly, I would eat my meal, uninterrupted, until it was finished. And I would take as long as I wanted.

I have always been a pretty fast eater. I actually used to pride myself in it, strangely. I remember once being served meatloaf for dinner as a child, and for some reason thought it would be “cool” to shovel it down my throat as quickly as possible so that by the time my mother turned around to sit down to the table, my plate was clean.

Sick, who downs a loaf of meat?

This girl.

My next memory of realizing how quickly I eat was when I lived in my sorority house. Besides the formal Monday Night Dinners, every other night of the week was a serve yourself and eat-at-your-own-pace kind of scene. I remember arriving after other girls had already begun eating, and being finished before they. I also remember realizing all of this and specifically trying to eat slowly, enjoying each mouthful and putting my fork down after each bite. You know, showing some class. I tried this for a week.
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It was painful and didn’t last. I am just a fast eater, and that is that.

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Now that I have a toddler though, my eating habits have definitely changed. Sitting down for a meal? Forget that. I consume most of my meals standing over the counter, especially if it just my daughter and I.  I wheel my daughter’s highchair into the kitchen, just in case she decides to “be funny” and flip her food to the floor. At least the kitchen floor is easier to clean than carpet. Therefore, I stand next to her eating a few bites here and a few bites there in-between getting food for her. I also like to use this time to get things done around the house since she is constrained and I can do them faster. Plus, this leaves us more play time. This is when I usually do the dishes, take a bite of food, switch over the laundry, more food, vacuum the house and a couple more bites before the Little One is finished and is ready to get down. This usually means I am finished as well because she then wants “uppie!” and these kinds of tasks become more difficult carrying a 30 pound toddler and another 25 pound belly.

Also, a majority of my meals are either leftover scraps from my daughters’ meals or are eaten in segments. Leftovers may include a half-eaten string cheese, a few bites of (now) cold chicken nuggets, and a little bowl of leftover dinner that she wouldn’t eat, so why let it go to waste, right? And when I eat meals in segments it means I start with a string cheese and ten minutes later grab some gold fish, followed by a peanut butter and banana sandwich an hour later. Basically, snacking throughout the day. Beverages? What are those?

When we go out to eat we usually have a very short window. There had better be snacks available for the Little One and crayons to occupy her while we wait for the food, and there is no lollygagging and deep conversation during these meals. My husband and I are usually both entertaining our daughter in some form or another, or taking turns while the other eats. If we want to finish our food then we are eating quickly while dodging flying fries and if it has been too long then one of us is taking a walk around the restaurant with the daughter while the other finishes up. I will say that there are times when we aren’t inhaling our food and do actually spend a good amount of time in the restaurant, but it is usually at a place where our daughter can get out of her high chair and not disturb anyone if she starts to get restless.

When The Hubby is home for meals they are definitely a little more relaxed, as he is able to help out and we are both able to actually sit down to eat. Though, the crazy lady in me likes to use this time to clean up dinner (either while I am eating, or sometimes even before) while I have an extra pair of hands to entertain Gwyn, so by choice, I am still standing. Gwyn eats earlier than we do, (I actually tend to eat when she does lately) usually between 4:30-5:00, and the hubby lately gets home closer to 6:30, which is why it makes it difficult to all be seated at the same time while eating.

One day I hope that we can all sit down together, eat simultaneously, and enjoy one another’s conversation during the entire meal without trying to intercept flying food. Maybe in a few years, eh?

 

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