Friday, December 24, 2010

Walking... and Coffee

It's Christmas Eve! And I have not been this excited about Christmas in a lot of years, mostly just because I'm so excited to see how Eli reacts to his presents. I'm not expecting effusive outpourings of love and affection, but just the wonder in his eyes is so thrilling to see. Everything is so new when you're only 15 months old. I remember last year just trying to get him to focus his eyes on the Christmas tree. This year it's been a battle to keep him from knocking it over. A battle which, I'm pleased to say, I'm winning. So far. My ornaments have suffered no casualties (although I did notice today one of my snowman ornaments missing his carrot nose, but I can't necessarily blame Eli for that), the garland has remained on the tree and the lights have been untouched. There have been a few spankings doled out, but for the most part he knows enough to leave it alone.

Everyone warned me that once my child started walking I simply would not be able to keep up with him, or keep him out of things. I'm still a bit dubious about this claim - he was so quick and into things while crawling that I don't see a sudden drastic increase now that my toddler is actually... toddling. He improves daily, although still not a good walker, and he's very proud of himself.
I've heard so many different stories about what encouraged children to learn to walk. Lots are eager just to walk to their parent's arms. We watched a cute baby video of a friend's child starting to walk by reaching for his teddy bear. For me, it was shoes. My parents largely kept my shoes out of sight because of my single-minded obsession with them, but when they wanted me to walk all they had to do was dangle them in front of me and off I went. I have a friend who told me that her parents encouraged her to walk by holding out money in front of her, which I think is really funny. Since Eli started walking late he pretty much has done it on his own, no amount of encouraging gets him interesting in walking unless it's his idea, except for one thing.

Coffee.

Yes, my baby will only walk for coffee. I'm not sure what this says about him, or about us as parents, but the kid LOVES coffee. The best part of his day is if Mom or Dad allows him a taste from our cup. Maybe it's because I drank coffee through my pregnancy and nursing? Maybe it's because he sees how much we enjoy it? Maybe he's just inherited his father's addictive tendencies. Whatever the cause, he can't get enough of the stuff. Not that we let him drink it on a regular basis mind you, or fill his sippy cup or anything like that. Probably if we did that he would tire of the flavour pretty quickly, but the small tastes just keep him coming back wanting more. It's not even sweet - Cory drinks his coffee black and I drink mine with just cream, so it's not sugar he's tasting, it's straight up caffeine.

A few weeks ago the three of us were in Superstore getting our groceries. It had been a long day of shopping and Eli was tired and a bit cranky. We reached the end and were in line at the cash register, I was loading groceries onto the conveyor and Cory was trying to keep Eli amused by letting him have tiny tastes from the end of his coffee cup. The clerk (who was a teenage boy of I think about 14) said "Ummm... are you giving your kid coffee?" Cory and I both laughed and I said, slightly embarrassed, "Well, not much coffee..." He laughed and said that he'd never seen that before. I wouldn't have thought too much about the incident, it doesn't really matter to me overly much what a 14 year old boy thinks of my parenting abilities except that it got me thinking. What if it hadn't been coffee, what if it had been the end of a large coke? Would anyone have thought anything of it then, or would they have just laughed at the cute little boy sipping his father's pop? What if it had been some sort of undefinable red juice? No one would have blinked, even if he'd had a sippy cup full of it. And if he'd been drinking a cup full of orange juice or apple juice? People probably would have thought that we were excellent parents for bringing along such a healthy drink for him. The misconceptions about what is good for our bodies drive me crazy sometimes. I would way rather give my child the occasional sip of coffee, without any sugar in it, than any of those other things. People are starting to realize that sugar filled "fruit punch" type drinks are bad for children and linked to obesity (I've started to see some Gov. of Can. commercials about it), but 100% juice drinks are still being marketed as incredibly good for your kids. No one talks about how apple juice consumption has been linked to failure to thrive in babies, or how fructose is actually a worse sugar for you than sucrose. And don't even get me started on pop. We don't even need to go there.

It wouldn't be an Emily Blog Post without some sort of rant about nutrition now would it? And you thought you were going to escape when I got talking about Christmas and Eli walking. Anyway, those are my thoughts of the day. Eli's napping right now, Cory's over at the church writing his talk for the Christmas Eve service tonight and his sermon for Sunday morning, we're heading over to Lynn's in a few hours to skype with the BC Vails and eat yummy food, and before you know it it's going to be Christmas morning. Our friend Dallas bought Cory and I a wireless router off Kijiji for Christmas, so I'm very much enjoying writing this blog post curled up in a comfy chair in the living room (sipping - of course - a cup of coffee!) instead of at the computer desk. What a great present! I have cloth diapers to stuff and a kitchen to clean... but I may just procrastinate a little longer.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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