Healthy Living for Six-Year-Olds

I am having the most difficult time trying to keep my six-year-old on a diet.

I know this is for his own good and I have tried to explain this to him several times, but he refuses to adhere to the aforementioned (and simple) eating plan that I have laid out for him for this particular weekend. It's absolutely the most frustrating journey to healthy living I've ever been on. This includes the healthy living journeys I start every Monday.

You see, for two days, my son has been up sick all night only to then stay awake all day sneaking food out of my pantry with the stealth and skill that would school Oliver Twist. He’s a food stealing prodigy and he has absolutely no concern whatsoever for his current lack of gastrointestinal fortitude.

Seemed Simple.  Bananas. Rice. Applesauce. Toast. I’ve seen worse diets. I’ve been on worse diets. You know what I would give for someone to insist I eat a pile of toast? With gluten? Without all seven grains sprouting? Bread that looks like Tom Sawyer whitewashed it to the color that God our Lord and Savior MEANT for bread to have. A couple of slices of America’s favorite Wonder Bread and an exercise regime that includes deep diving into a pile of blankets on the sofa with complete clicker control? That is some cardio I can get behind.

If that were a real diet, cheat days begone.

But the reaction around here has made me realize one thing.  Hell hath no fury like a kid foodie on the BRAT Diet.

All weekend he’s looked from me to his plate of yellow and white to me again. He starts to cry and tell me how hungry he is. Tells me he’s not sick anymore. Tells me he’s a good boy. Promises to clean his room. Asks if it’s because he’s too young (because in addition to torturing my children with traumatic diets, I’m also a raging ageist) Makes me feel like pretty much the worst.

Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash
Excuse me while I pause
Mommy Dearest.

“I’m doing this for your own good,” I lie to him. Easing his gastro fussiness is my main concern I testify because that’s part of the long con I’m playing. Parenthood is nothing more than strategic maneuvers to see the long con play out to our advantage.  It’s not for his own good...he’d EVENTUALLY stop throwing up whether he’s on this diet or not.

I’m doing it for me. The BRAT Diet is my luxury. I’ve done enough laundry to last me a lifetime. I have hit my disinfecting limit. This is why I keep Zofran tucked in strategic locations on my property like a prepper would keep firearms.

I don’t do vomit for long. You can lay on my couch for two months with a cold. I’ll suction your nostrils like I’m in training for the upper respiratory olympics. But vomit? Don’t bring that mess in here. I rebuke you in the name of Urgent Care and Tide Pods. Get thee behind me Rotavirus also E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Clostridium, Norwalk agent, and all the major parasites.

If paint came with an antibacterial finish option, I’d be at Home Depot tomorrow.

God gave me one kid with a dietary conscience who will listen to my advice and heed it, and the other...THAT kid got the propensity for gastro infections. I mean on a healthy day, I have to hide the six pecan swirls in six secret locations so the pack will last longer than it takes me to unpack the groceries. He eats and he eats. He’ll polish off a bag of chips during a fifteen minute Peppa Pig show, and his body responds by staying in the 50% for weight - because apparently, I’m not resentful enough as a person.  

I’ve pulled empty packages of goldfish out of his closet. I’ve surrendered the second 1/2 of whatever I’ve been enjoying because he’s standing so close to my plate that I’m afraid I’ll pass out from only breathing in his carbon dioxide. This kid’s passion is food. I shouldn’t complain. He eats everything. He has a wonderful palate but also, a tremendous case of hollow leg.

So when the puking flu hits the house and we have to do a palate pullback on all the foods we typically eat in the day (which is all of them), I get some objections from this perpetually starving boy. Already today, though I’ve hired armed guards to watch the pantry, I’ve managed to rescue the Halloween Candy from a serious hostage situation (I did have to shoot the hostage, or in this case, eat the Almond Joys - parenting is about the hard choices) and we’ve had to have a fairly ugly Teddy Graham intervention.

So after a long day of being on sick kid patrol, that did include a few decadent snuggles, I decided to salute all the Pedialyte forcing parents who have to surrender 48-72 hours to the BRAT diet.

Cheers from me, a mom perpetually on the wine diet.




Unknown said…
Hi Rachel,

I didn't see a way to contact you by email on your website, so trying this. I'm an editor at Guideposts, and we're interested in the possibility of publishing a version of your excellent and moving Motherwell story on embracing your son's relationship with numbers. I can explain much more in an email. I think this links to my gmail, but my work email is:

Hope to hear from you ASAP! Cheers, Kimberly

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