Somewhere on my resume I need to include under “strengths” my ability to lactate. I now have the prerequisite “3-5 years experience” which would qualify me under a professional title, yes? And in those years of experience I’ve noticed trends. Notably is a small child’s attempt to eat even when s/he’s not hungry.

Take, for instance, a few nights ago when Baby M woke 4 times between 11:30-4. Of course, he refused to go back to sleep without a snack. My current style of parenting finds that snacking gets me back to sleep quicker than crying, so he enjoyed a few midnight snacks. But I. Was. Tired. 
The boy finds himself in a mean streak of teething and mama seems to be the best form of comfort. He doesn’t need food, he needs love and to be understood that yes, this sucks, you are not alone and I wish I could help. While all of those things are true, he doesn’t know how to experience them without something as comforting as a full belly. 
While it’s easy to blame evolution for my penchant for an evening nosh, we may have unknowingly stumbled into a habit of mistaking a full tummy for a full heart. And now the two things seem so easily interchangeable.

Perhaps this is why a fine banquet or dinner out has become so desirable – we cannot help but delight in the tastes of a delicious dish while enjoying company and conversation. It’s why eating alone becomes an acquired skill some feel shamed in adapting.

Food seems second nature to company, they come one with the other. And in our desire for one, we regularly get the other. Which means in our desire for one, we often reach for another. Perhaps, much like my 8-month-old, we don’t know if we need something to fill our heart or our belly. 

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