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One of my greatest memories as a kid was sitting around the dinner table with my parents and my sisters–eating a delicious home made meal together! This was one of the family traditions that always stayed with me, and I always said to myself “once I have a kid, I am going to do the same thing.” … and here I am, a mother and a wife carrying on the family dinner tradition I so appreciated as a young girl.
Growing up I never really heard the word “kid food” and my sisters and I didn’t get a special dinner that was different than my parents. Of course, there were days that we all wanted something fun so my mom would go ahead and make us chicken nuggets and mac and cheese… but that was a special occasion and never the norm. My appreciation for healthy home made meals comes from the habits my parents instilled in us as young children. My mom made dinner every night, my sisters and I helped set the table and we all sat down together as a family once my dad got home from work. I learned how to properly use utensils (yes, this included a baby butter knife to push my food onto the fork), didn’t dare to chew with my mouth open, and learned how to enjoy table conversations after we were done eating. Every night after dinner we’d just sit around for at least an hour and just talk… can’t tell you exactly what we talked about, we just talked. We’d talk about our days, we’d goof around and tell jokes, and have heart felt moments that sometimes made us emotional. But at the end of the day, this brought us closer together as a family.
When I became a mom I couldn’t wait to start having meals together with my baby! I thought that we’d be sitting together at the table from the moment he started eating solids. Ha, that wasn’t quite the reality of it all. There were days here and there where we sat and enjoyed some lunch “together”, but that mostly consisted of Liam throwing food on the ground, him wanting the food out of my plate rather than his (even though we were eating the same thing). It wasn’t until a few months after he turned one that we finally began enjoying meals together.
It has become especially special when Matt and I go over to my parents house– to have Liam join us at the dinner table makes my heart full. It reminds me of what it was like for me as a kid, and knowing that he is part of such an important family tradition means the world to me. Aside from joining us at the table and being part of the family meal, Liam is also developing extremely healthy eating habits! My husband and I are not picky eaters and I didn’t grow up in a family that was picky either, so making sure that my own son was a good eating was extremely important to me. I’ve found that having Liam join us at the dinner table has taught him that whatever mommy and daddy eat, he eats. What ever grandma, grandpa or his tias eat… he eats!
Let’s be real now, he’s 17 months old, he’s not sitting there gobbling down Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli (although he did go through a time where he loved broccoli)… but that doesn’t mean that I stopped introducing them. If i am making a meal that includes a food I know he may not be too fond of, I’ll add a scrambled egg or a couple of Hilary’s Veggie Bites to his plate a long with whatever I am making just to make sure he’s eating a good meal. Now as Liam is getting older it has been easier to enjoy family dinner together every night, and with every meal, Liam is learning new flavors and has been enjoying food so much!
In the end its all about the memories we’re creating and the healthy eating habits we’re developing. I am so happy and proud to continue such an important part of my childhood with my own family. I know that one day Liam will learn how much this means to me and he will appreciate it himself, and hope that one day he will continue the tradition with his own family.