Last night I was going through my cupboards after my kids had gone to sleep partly out of boredom and partly because it was my birthday, Patrick was at work and I was going to snack on whatever I wanted too! I slowly came to the realization that I no longer kept secret stashes of junky food to mow down on in moments like these! The worst thing I could come up with was popcorn and dark chocolate! I even marveled at how one bar of dark chocolate has lasted me about a week because I now find myself biting off little squares fully intending to come back and eat more later and then, somehow, I end up forgetting about it. How can this be? Am I slowly learning the art of moderation? Maybe.
I do know that when I was on vacation I ate what ever I wanted to knowing it would be another 11 months before I would get to indulge like that again...but even still...on most days I did not go crazy. I even realized that my kids are not accustomed at all to junk food. One day a lady at a gite where we were staying at in the Pyrenees fixed us a packed lunch for the day and included in it a bag of potato chips. "What are these?" my kids asked! I told them that they were chips. "What are they made of?" they asked! I was stunned to realize that although I do have a recollection of having chips a year ago on vacation they had no memory of them and had no clue as to what they were!
We kind of let them go crazy on vacation and eat sweets (mostly) when they wanted, drink soda, watch tv, stay up late and spend our money on frivolity! :) I was pretty pleased that at first Liam wasn't even sure what soda was. He sometime picked it and some times opted for juice. Quin enjoyed Coca cola at lunch time...she had had it once or twice before and now felt very big to be able to order it. In general though they ate well and adventurously. Liam ate anything unquestioningly including lots of French pate, baskets of strawberries and tons of nice yogurts (his favorite bedtime snack...the fridges were small and he could get in there himself to fix his own snack)...one of his favorite things was the croissants and steamed milk in the morning. Quintessa enjoyed ordering off of the menu at lunch and ventured often times into the unknown. She was dismayed that we did not find any escargot like the last time we were in France where she would hoard the entire appetizer of it, and she stunned a waiter in Spain by ordering the octopus appetizer as a main even after he insisted that children don't like octopus. That made her all the more determined and after enjoying it she made it her "thing" and ordered it at every chance she got! I later asked her why she even ordered it in the first place and she replied "Well, I wanted to try it...I have never had it before." Of course, every six year old thinks like that!
I have to thank Spark for helping me to eliminate most of the junk food from my life and my kids life. We are normal people and of course I feed them hotdogs and pizza but basically if you take most of the junk out you have room for so much more and I think that the kids palates are not muddied up by artificial flavors, salt and grease. I like these trips because it forces us all out of our rut of everyday foods and opens our minds to different ways of eating. It feels good to give them the freedom to do what they want on vacation but to sill have them want the good stuff (and not to even know what the bad stuff is). It also feels good to me that although I ate what I wanted on vacation that did not open the floodgates to let just anything back in the house when we got home. …although I sure wouldn’t have minded a little runny French cheese, a baguette and a nice chocolate tart for my birthday!
Here are a few pictures from our first day in Paris:
Excited kids on a pretend airplane waiting for our trip to begin.
Arriving in Paris.
Quin climbing at Luxembourg Gardens.
She made it to the top!
Quin enjoying a pastry from one of the best pastry chefs in Paris.
The first of many carousel rides on the trip. Notice there is no floor!
Outside the Louvre.
The big Ferris wheel we rode near the Louvre. I recommend it for the great views.
One of the great views!
Another carousel ride.
Liam played fotbal with a guy while Quin jumped and jumped.
Quin jumped and jumped.
Liam about to enjoy a pastry from another famous pastry shop.
The day winds down as the kids examine the love locks on the Pont des Arts bridge.
Sometimes I look back and can't believe that we had just arrived at noon that day!