Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love is better than food dye...

If you know me, you know I have a few   some  a lot of hang-ups about food (I can hear my friends laughing right now).  I am an avid label-reader and I watch very carefully what my family eats. We don't eat food dyes, HFCS, and I limit refined sugar. I buy organic as much as I can (though not as much as I'd like to because it is just so dang expensive) and we avoid preservatives at all costs. We recently, to my husband's dismay, gave up deli meat because as my friend's pediatrician put it: "it is not food. please don't put it in your child's mouth."

And to keep things balanced, I focus on the times when I CAN control what my kids eat. That way at birthday parties, I'm not freaking out over the yellow #5 that's all over the birthday cake (well, at least not out loud).  My kids know they are allowed treats and sweets on special occasions, but they also know why we avoid a lot of things.

For the most part, it works! My kids really do like healthy foods and even my fussy, just-as-stubborn-as-her-mother three year-old happily eats quinoa, wheat germ, flaxseed, and broccoli. The kids know what soy flour is and how it makes whole-wheat bread even healthier and my oldest will at least consider turning down candy if he knows it has food dye in it.

So... imagine my face when the therapist we met with today recommended giving Amani (and the older two) some Skittles! What? Doesn't she know that Skittles represent all that is wrong with the world!?!?!? just kidding. kinda.

Here's the story:

We met with the attachment therapist today and I was beyond thrilled to get to talk with her.  I didn't have any major concerns, just a few things in particular I wanted her to address.  Really, I just wanted to meet with someone who knows attachment and have her evaluate Amani and give us advice.

I cried when she told us what a good job we are doing.  Amani's doing great, and I know we are doing everything that we know to do in order to care for him.  But that mama-heart of mine is always worrying, always wondering are we missing something? Did that moment when I was frustrated set him back? Are we really doing everything we can for him to fill in the gaps in attachment that happen when your child joins your family at 15 months old instead of at conception?

It was the most wonderful balm to my soul to hear that we are on the right track and that he is doing great!  Praise God!!!

So I know you are still wondering about the Skittles, right?  She did give us some ideas on some more things we can be doing to help with attachment. One of which is her little Skittles-trick.  She said we need for Amani to see that all good and sweet things come from Mommy and Daddy. No candy from strangers, ladies & gentlemen!  I laughed when she said that because I have hardly let Amani have any sweets at all (see above food neurosis).

So the trick is to call his name and when he responds, touch his face, look him in the eyes and tell him how much I adore him. And pop a Skittles (a Skittle?)  into his mouth.  And just give him a moment of pure sweetness: candy and cuddles all together, knowing how much he is loved by Mommy. She said do this maybe once a day.  And she even gave me a little package of Skittles to take home with me. She said it would be a great thing to do from time-to-time with my big kids too.

So guess what? I'm gonna do it.  This woman who has declared an all-out war on food dye and refined sugar has some serious plans to give some to my kiddos.

Because love is better than food dye. And if I can have another tool in my attachment tool belt that helps Amani know how how much he's loved, I don't really care if that tool puts a little food dye in his system (okay, that is a lie, but I'm going to keep saying it until I believe it! Or I'll just give him chocolate chips instead).

I'll write another post soon about some of her other recommendations. She is AWESOME (and was trained by Karen Purvis and Jim & Charles Fay - the Love & Logic guys! whoo hoo!).  If you're an adoptive family reading this, I really recommend checking-in with an attachment therapist shortly after coming home. If anything, she has saved my sanity (at least for another few days).


  1. I like the "it is not food. please don't put it in your child's mouth." quote. I think you can apply that to almost all "food" consumed in the US.

  2. So proud of you! :p

  3. Made me LOL - I could sit and read your writing all day long. Can't wait for the update to both letting yourself use skittles and to the 'sugar high' it gives the kids!
    Best love always...

  4. I just found your blog and can't stop reading. We have so much in common! My oldest is from Guatemala (4.5 yrs) and my youngest is African American (5 mo). And, I have the same approach to food as you. I love this post because I feel like I'm always saying no and only allowing my older child to have "treats" when I'm politely allowing others to spoil him. It would be nice to spoil him myself sometime! I think I will try this trick myself and see how it goes. thanks for sharing!!!


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