Friday, September 2, 2011
Sugar in the Morning
E is not a morning person.
When he wakes up he'll usually come climb into bed with me (Chris is usually at work by 5 am) and we'll cuddle for 20-30 minutes. He's a cuddler and I like it.
But then the idea of applejuice or protein (we give him Arbonne protein drinks because he likes them and he's such a picky eater we figure it's got to help balance his diet) consumes his little mind until it's all he can think about.
Most will tell you to give your toddler straight up milk when he wakes up, but here's what they don't know. It's something I read in a book about international adoption. Some children who have been institutionalized, experienced trauma, dealt with more stress than they should've had to...their brains have trouble releasing enough "feel good chemical" when they wake up. They call it a "stress-shaped brain" because at a young age your brain can be sort of trained to expect stress. Sugar helps release that feel good chemical. So this is one instance where I put aside what I thought I should do, and I do what E needs. I sugar that boy up in the morning. And after naptime.
But the problem, ya'll, occurs before that sugar hits that brain. The battle is to get the sugar into the mouth. Because with a 2-year-old, there are all sorts of things to have a great big giant meltdown about before you can take a sip of your juice. For example, what cup should he use today? This causes a tantrum just about every morning. If I pick the cup, it's a tantrum. If he picks the cup, it's a tantrum. I've narrowed down the choices I'll offer him, but then today he chooses the one cup he hates. I know he hates it so I don't offer it. But he can open the dishwasher now and find whatever cup is there. So this morning he found that cup he hates and insisted on it. I tried to persuade him otherwise, but he wanted that cup. I gave it to him, but after about 15 minutes of fits, I made the executive decision I should've made from the beginning and grabbed a different cup. That made things slightly better.
So we do this dance in the kitchen every morning. He chooses a cup, he chooses a drink, I make it just the way he asks, but then he chucks it across the room. Sometimes he hits me or tries to bite my leg. Sometimes I give him a time in, but here's the thing: I know all he needs is that dang sugar. He does soooo much better after he gets it in him. I know he's not trying to be stubborn or mean or hurtful. I know that his brain just can't muster up enough "feel good" on its own. So I take it all in stride and I try to be patient. And then I vent to Chris later!