There are schools of thought which encourage children be fed by having several different foods (including dessert!) set before them at the beginning of a meal, and the child will naturally choose the foods which his body happens to need at the moment (and not necessarily dessert). The thought is that a small child, not yet driven by mere routine, not having been taught simply to finish his plate, is still connected to voice of her body. We haven’t implemented this totally into Lucy’s world, but we don’t force her to make a “happy plate” either.
I bring this up not because of our eating habits, but because of what I’ve been seeing from Lucy the last day or so. She is coming down with a head cold, and last night the girl who never goes to bed without screaming curled up next to me saying, “I going to sleep.” Then she let me get up and leave the room and went to sleep without a snuggly parent. Unheard of.
This morning she slept late and even when she woke up, didn’t want to get out of bed but claimed, “I going to sleep.” And she laid there for close to an hour by herself. My rambuncious two-year-old does not spend extra time in bed. But today, she recognized that what her body needed most was rest, and made sure she got it.
So I guess my job now is to stay out of the way in hopes that she will keep being able to respond to her body’s cues like this when she’s five, and fifteen, and thirty-five. And maybe along the way I can learn a little from her (and Samantha) about listening to my body well, and trusting what I hear.