“Okay, jeez, hold on,” she said, as she tried to latch her new born son on. I sat giggling, as his little fists clenched and his cries got more and more urgent in the mere seconds it took her to lift up her shirt and unclip her bra. Those are the worst little moments that tie you up in knots as a mom. It’s funny to watch someone else, because, really, there are a few things that have to happen before you can help your child, you cannot feed them instantly. I guess new babies aren’t really known for their patience.
(During that discussion one friend wondered aloud if babies have a Pavlovian response from hearing the click of a nursing bra. I think that’s kind of funny.)
Every now and then I catch a glimpse of my child’s eagerly ecstatic face in that moment when I am turning her belly to belly,
‘Here’s comes the good stuff,’ she seems to be saying. Like a fat kid before a cake. When I see that face I wonder,
‘What’s so great about breastmilk that you would make that face? Can it taste that great?’ It makes me wonder is it the sheer act of eating that delights them? Is it the end of hunger that gives them that smile? Or is it both?
I’ve heard that drugs just produce an amplification of the effect on our brain that food gives us.
I had a rough day yesterday. As I stomped around angry at my daughters for needing me all the time I felt urges in me boomerang my desires bask to the stash of chocolate in our fridge. I envisioned tipping a tub of chocolate covered cherries into my open gullet and pouring. The sweet chewiness letting the pressure off my bottlecap of anger. I didn’t. I think I ate a few after dinner.
I don’t write this to tout my self-control; often I have none. I’ve never considered myself an emotional eater. Once upon a time in middle school I had a crush on a boy. I walked to the local 7-11 bought a pint of ice cream, Haagen Daz Cappucino (had a mild cinnamon flavor which confused my 12 year old taste buds) and ate it all. I sat there and thought, ‘Well I still don’t have him and now my stomach hurts.’ So logic often wins over gorging myself, but cravings are there, like static in the back of my head.
And why are they so stinking strong?
Sometimes I take a hit. Often I follow the rule, ‘If it’s not really good it’s not worth the calories.’
So the drive to eat is strong within us, that makes sense; if you don’t eat you die. We live in a country with an overabundance of, well, everything. When I moved to Kenya I lost eight pounds within the first few weeks. What did you do? You ask. Nothing. It just came off me. I think it’s owed to less processed food, less snack food, less sugar, and less alcohol. Think about it, when you go to any event here in the US there is usually a table stacked with food. Overkill. Always. I think it takes a lot self-control to stay thin in the US.
I guess we are born with it, we come out hungry. And fat and sugar taste good. And, boy, do we have a lot of it.