By: Natii Wright, www.NatiiArts.com
The Christmas after my granddaughter’s third birthday, she had grown just tall enough to reach up and remove items from the island around our stove top. As I began to prepare our Christmas salad, which is made particularly colorful with the inclusion of so many different vegetables and fruits, I noticed that Camille had set down her little remote dog and was watching me. By the time I began to shave the carrots she was tip toeing into the kitchen, then standing by my side, kind of like a spy in a movie. I went on preparing the salad, and soon noticed that several of my cut carrots were missing…and so was Camille. I cut a few more carrots and set them on the counter to be shaved, and before I could get to them, once again they were missing, and again, so was Camille.
I went on adding items to the salad, but this time when she returned I had not set the carrots in her reach. Up came this little hand, with fingers stretched as far as they were able. I watched as she felt around trying to find the little carrot cuts. Finally I said, “Would you like some more carrots?” Her face popped into view, and she very quickly said. “Yes”. I asked, “Do you like carrots?”, again she quickly said, “Yes!”
I thought how interesting since there was no seasoning, no salt, just a regular carrot - washed and cut – and she liked it! While I had her attention I thought I would keep exploring her little mind, so I asked her the next logical question. “Why do you like carrots?” and she responded in with most wonderful answer, “Because they taste orange!”
Well, to my surprise, during dinner as she filled her plate with salad, especially my freshly prepared carrot slivers, her Granddaddy says to her, “What’s up with all the carrots? I didn’t know you liked carrots,” to which my granddaughter happily responded, “I LOVE carrots!” and Gramma says they’re good for my eye.”
For a moment my Christmas table was absolutely silent.
It’s important that we introduce our children to vegetables with the same excitement that we do fruit. I get concerned when I see commercials in which the parents are portrayed hiding the fact that a child is eating a vegetable or something healthy. When we do this we undermine the opportunity for our children to learn the vegetables that they do indeed like, and to understand the health benefits of including fresh vegetables in their daily diet. My granddaughter had no idea that she was eating a healthy food, but to this day loves carrots and insists that her great eyesight is due to a vegetable that she thought tasted orange.
So let’s allow vegetables to take their proper place in the spotlight with all the accolades befitting them, wonderful colors, great taste and good for your health. What vegetables do your children love? How do you prepare them? Let us know!
NatiiArts, through which she develops and produces music based projects, theatre arts programs for children and young adults, and educational products that support the implementation of healthy living activities in educational environments. Natii has enjoyed a professional jazz career, yielding performances in numerous venues throughout the United States, including the Kennedy Center “Black Box” Theatre and the National Theatre of Washington DC, she is also a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, International Music Fraternity for Women. Matching her love of music, is her commitment to developing tools that support the education and enrichment of children. Natii has dedicated over 20 years to creating educational programs for youth. She is the creator, voice and executive producer of the “My Little World” Educational Music Series. Natii developed the foundations of “My Little World” by incorporating music into the pre-school curriculum. The objective was to capture attention with music, decrease behavioral challenges with fun constructive movements, and to reinforce the traditional pre-school academic lessons with memorable verses and songs. “My Little World” was implemented as a pilot program at Shiloh CDC in Washington DC from 2001-2005. The movements, timing and academic themes were deliberately structured to support the various developmental stages of young children. In 2008, the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (SHIRE) selected the “My Little World” Educational Music Series to be utilized as the key component in the first of five Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Grants, funded by the District of Columbia Department of Health and independent health organizations. Currently, the physical activity movements and educational lessons of “My Little World” are implemented in hundreds of educational environments in the Washington Metropolitan area, multiple states throughout the U.S., and in 2013 Natii traveled overseas to train more than fifty instructors in the early education development program of Liberia, West Africa! Click here to learn more about Natii.