Being a former ballet and modern dancer, I understand the importance of nutrition and the difference it makes in your body, mood, and day to day accomplishments. Dance is an art but it’s a quantitative art that is supported by logic and math. Being a mom is nothing like that. I mean, the information is out there but that information may not work for your child. There are so many variables so the subjectivity can be scary at times. I like to say parenting is like a constant improvisational dance, you may not know what you are doing but you must think on your feet and make it flow seamlessly. For my non-performers, an improvisational dance is the process of spontaneously creating movement which is created from a variety of creative explorations of the body, mind and soul as opposed to a set routine. Well, thus far, my parenting has been the process of spontaneously creating a dynamic with our family created from decisions made through our gut, advice, google, and prayer.
However, regardless of how “improvisational” I feel at times, I know nutrition is important. I also know, thanks to google, how important those first 1000 days are to a child’s life and how that heavily influences their relationship with food through adulthood. I have also seen the evidence in my household, empirical or not, I’ve noticed my relationship with food compared to my husband. My parents and grandparents home cooked all our meals, rarely letting us eat junk food, and encouraged us picking fruit off the tree as a snack (it was so great growing up in tropical Miami!!). Today, my brother and I rarely eat processed foods and love munching on healthy snacks. My husband on the other hand … Well, he was raised with more liberty and flexibility with his eating habits. Fast food, candy, and chips were all welcomed and as an adult he struggles with eliminating those things from his diet. I’m sure my family didn’t know what a super food was but foods like blueberries, sweet potatoes, and avocados (all super foods) were a regular part of my diet.
Now, obviously, I do not remember the first 1000 days of my life, but I know the first thousand days of any child’s life creates the bedrock for brain development, which is quite rapid during that time. According to website thousanddays.org, during infancy the brain is developing motor functions such as balance coordination, and posture. The brain is also starting to make connections which enable a child to create and retrieve memories. And during early childhood, the brain is making connections to build language, which food and nutrition fuels, particularly through protein, zinc, iodine, and iron.
Most of us want superhuman kids that compete beyond all measures. Kids that are DEFINITELY BETTER versions of ourselves. We may go about it differently, but we want the best. And, like that improvisational dance, we may be creative and at times spontaneous with our approach but ultimately we want the end result … the art, our child, our masterpiece … to be appreciated, understood, and most of all loved. Who knew one step towards that masterpiece was nutrition?
Thanks for reading,
A mom named Ama