THE TODDLER IN MY HEAD
13 November 2003
You'd think that after 2 years of struggling with this, I'd have a handle on "mouth hunger," but no.
Is it mouth hunger or brain hunger?
It isn't stomach hunger, to be sure. My stomach can be full to the tippy top and yet my mouth craves...something. Something crunchy...something sweet...something chocolate.
It starts as a little nagging thought: peanut butter would taste good right now.
You ignore it.
Then it pokes you in the ribs like a persistent toddler and says, quite plainly: "I said 'peanut butter would taste good right now.'"
You tell the little voice that you're trying to control your eating, that your stomach plainly says "full" and that you are at the end of your points for the day, and you simply don't need peanut butter.
The voice stops for a few minutes.
Then it hits you over the yead and yells, "Did you hear me? I said peanut butter would taste good right now!"
"Shut up," you say. "You don't need peanut butter. You can't have peanut butter. Just deal with it."
The voice pouts. It stomps its foot. It grumbles want peanut butter...need peanut butter...gotta have peanut butter
That voice in your head...that need in your mouth... It's like raising a toddler all over again.
That's exactly what it's like. Having this willful child inside my head who wants everything, whether it's good for it or not.
It's the toddler who says "I don't feel like cleaning my room right now; I'd rather watch TV."
It's the toddler who says "I don't feel like working right now; I'd rather play on the computer."
It's the toddler who says "I don't want to eat my vegetables--I want dessert instead."
Maybe the way to deal with this toddler in my head is to remember how I treated the toddlers in my life who now stand as adults around me. I made them clean their room, wash behind their ears, brush their teeth and eat their vegetables.
I didn't let them skip dinner and go straight to dessert.
I didn't let them have all the junk food they wanted.
I drove by fast food joints most of the time, even when they wanted to stop.
They didn't like it. They complained. They whined. I was a bad mom. But I was doing it because it was the best thing for them.
So next time that little voice starts whining and asking "WHY can't I have some peanut butter?" maybe I should just say just say "Because I'm the Mom, that's why."