This was not a good morning for my eight-year-old daughter.
It started badly with breakfast.
"Ugh, I'm NOT eating that." And so the battle began.
Of course I knew it wasn't about the really good, rich, and creamy bowl of non-allergic hot cereal I made for her little sister (and she and I), it was about her thinking her little sister was getting more attention that she. And, I think she may be right.
The princess, aptly named because she was the first girl to come along after four boys, was feeling as if her mother didn't love her as much. I could tell the pouty look on her face and her feigning illness yesterday when I was battling a cold, she wanted to stay home. There was more to the story.
"Look, I'm eating the same breakfast, and guess what, you can even put chocolate sprinkles on it." I tried to be my cheery best even with minimal sleep and a busy day ahead. We were running late and didn't need her throwing a tween fit.
"You always make stuff for her and nothing for me!" She protested and pulled my pink snugglie closer to her chin.
Two choices ran through my mind, either play the tough "kids are starving in Africa" role and make her eat, or take a moment to minister to my daughter. I did a little of both, then caught myself in the middle of a lecture about not having time for this and blah, blah, blah.
I sat down with my bowl of creamy cereal and hazelnut latte. I made room in my chair and held my arms out. My daughter enveloped herself like when she was a baby, cocooning and all. She needed to be affirmed that she was still my princess, still had my love, and her needs still mattered even if she wasn't as sick as her sister.
We cuddled and I gingerly whispered to her, assured her it was ok to feel jealous and left out sometimes and acknowledged that her sister's illness and food needs did take up a lot of my time. I even spoon fed her a few bites of the chocolately goodness and after she was calm, sent her to get ready for school.
The six year old, in the mean time, was blissfully enjoying her breakfast, giving me a thumbs up, as she ate and colored. It really was good.
Sometimes, we moms of sick children can get so caught up in the minutia of their illness and doctor's visits (allergy shots today even) and writing down everything they eat, that we sometimes miss special moments with the rest of the crew. I have to make it a point to carve out time for the older one more often.
We can think we give equal time, but that is not always the case and kids notice. I understand why she tries to stay up past bedtime and wants to cuddle up with a book in my bed. She loves to read, so do I, she wants to be a writer when she grows up, just like her mama.
I adore my children, all of them have enriched my lives more than I can ever imagine. And my eight year old went to school with a smile on her face and the promise of a date just with her mama. Saturday will be our time.
1 Cup Hemp Valley Vanilla Hemp Milk
1/2 Cup B.R.A.T. Vanilla Milk Alternative (or chocolate or original)
3 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS organic maple syrup (I like Trader Joe's Brand)
3 TBS Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread (trust me, tastes like butter)
Bring the mixture to just under a boil, mix with a whisk
Slowly whisk in 3 TBS Cream of Wheat (or sub Cream of Rice if wheat allergies are a problem)
Bring to a boil, whisk, then lower heat to low, simmer for 2 minutes, whisking the entire time
SERVE immediately as this is not good cold or with lumps
Garnishment ideas: Enjoy Life Brand Chocolate Chips (about 1 TBS) or Enjoy Life Very Berry Granola (about 1/4 cup).
This breakfast is technically made for one, but I found it too much for one person unless that person is my linebacker sized husband. Consider this for three kids with the servings measuring out at about 1/2 cup each.
I am not a warm cereal person but in my quest to find healthy things my daughter can eat (she is allergic to everything almost), I promised her I would try whatever I made for her. We are ditching milk almost entirely in our house (except for the lattes - the hemp and rice milk do not froth well). I've made muffins and used the Earth Balance in place of butter - and the family never knew the difference!
It can be a challenge managing food allergies, but it is not impossible, especially if you get creative in the kitchen!
Bon Appetit and This mama is looking forward to her date with her daughter!