late yesterday afternoon, while in the car with the kids driving home, we (Thea and i) got to scolding Bea again for eating too much. she had barely started on her tempura and native milkshakes yet she was asking to be bought some boiled corn from the street vendors we passed already.
just yesterday, aside from her usual meals, i bought her her usual ice cream treat at the mall after picking her up from nursery school. then she wanted a doughnut with rainbow icing, too, and then a slice of pizza and some juice, and then french fries, which she all ate with gusto in half an hour!
in the afternoon, on our way to picking Thea and Paolo up from school, i decided we'd pass by my father's bakery first, and pick up some bread and sweets for home. i called the bakery staff before we left, so the goods would be ready for pick up by the time we got there, and i wouldnt have trouble with the traffic police when i double-parked in front of the bakery, as it would only take a moment anyway.
on the way to the bakery, Bea thought of ordering a cupcake with strawberry icing on top, too. this irritated me as i explained to her how i cant guarantee that because we hadn't ordered it over the phone, and it might take some time getting it, and i might get a ticket for double parking along such a busy street. Bea kept quiet... and as we neared the bakery and she saw the tight traffic situation, she softly asked me, "I won't be able to get my cupcake after all, huh, ma?"
it tore at my heart, when Bea gets like this. she has a way of telling you how she doesn't really want something she actually craves.
and it got me to thinking how maybe, her passionate love for food is her way of filling up some empty spaces needing comfort and assurance inside her.
of all my three kids, Bea, the youngest, was the one i wasn't able to focus all of my energies and attention to while they were growing up, as Bea had barely turned one year old when i left their father. all these past years, in my struggle for survival and getting my feet back on the ground again while trying to take care of the kids and i independently, i mainly let being there for Bea when she cried or was hurting go.
before, with the two other older kids, i made it a policy and a habit to quickly go to them and comfort them when they cried or were hurting in some way. with Bea, i would, at best, perfunctorily hug her, give her some food or her pacifier, then go back to what i was doing.
so now, the connection becomes clearer. at 5, Bea still sucks her pacifier when she's feeling tired and stressed. now, too, food is her prime comfort, although it doesn't show yet in her body, as she's pleasingly plump in a cute way.
Thea and i got to talk about it privately, last night, these insights and reflections of mine, after Thea commented how much of a glutton Bea is becoming. i tried to explain to Thea how we need to give Bea more love and assurance and attention, to wean her away from her excessive attachment to food and her pacifier.
i can't help feeling guilty, too, like i'm not doing enough as their mom. although, another part of me knows im being the best mom in the world to them; even the kids keep telling me so with their daily i love yous and cards and artwork with "I love you, Mama" scrawled all over them.
still, the bottomline is-- i have to be there for Bea more.
God help me with this, too!