I mentioned our dinner dramas a few weeks ago. I hated to watch Jon take the brunt of the stress so I started taking over a couple of nights and set down a few new rules – you sit at the table without throwing a fit. If you choose to eat, wonderful; if not, you’ll sit there until bedtime. And then I cheated. I served pizza! And PB&J! And Things I Knew He’d Eat! TheLilOne is thinking “I’ll take your rules and raise you a smile crazy lady.”
And then came dinner last night – a mexican chicken & rice dish with LOTS OF CHEESE. He likes chicken. He likes rice. He LOVES cheese. Slam dunk, right?
I forgot to account for one itsy bitsy tiny detail.
HIS FATHER’S GENETICS.
See, the rice was put over the chicken. And the cheese was melted over all that. The chicken, rice and cheese were MIXED UP on his plate. It was not a nice, neat, separated meal*.
He took one look at it, became a boneless mess and began wailing “But I don’t know HOW to eat!”
I think he took two forced bites in the time it took everyone else to inhale the dinner. The older boys & Jon went to the living room to watch t.v. TheLilOne sat at the table looking as if someone had kicked his puppy while I cleaned up. Occasionally I’d ask if he was going to take a bite. He’d shake his head and I’d shrug and tell him to sit up straight. After the third or fiftieth time I heard him whine “I don’t know HOW to eat!” we discussed the difference between “I don’t know how” and “I don’t want to”. I then told him if he whined that phrase to me one more time he was moving to the corner.
I turned back to the kitchen. And he promptly whined that phrase to me.
He then sat in a chair in the corner beside me while I cooked bacon for potato soup. After about 15 minutes I asked if he was ready to eat chicken & rice now. He glanced back at the bacon, grinned and nodded enthusiastically.
I moved about ¼ of his original serving onto a small plate and set it down in front of him. His jaw dropped, his eyes widened. He turned slowly and gave me the most comical “WTF” expression I’ve ever seen.
Kinda like this only more exagerrated. At least he’s cute, right?
And then he ate.
In the end I only made him eat about 1/8 of what he was originally given. But he ate. And then he hopped down, trotted cheerfully to the living room where Jon was playing Guitar Hero and announced with a giggle “I’m HERE Daddy!” He was the most pleasant, happy child you’ve ever met the rest of the evening.
He ate. There were no screaming meltdowns. He ingested what was cooked. It should be a minor victory in the battle of parenting, right?
So why do I still feel like somehow, I got played?
*Jon can and will eat dishes like this without flinching. He’s a reasonable adult but his preference is that foods don’t touch. I’ll refrain from telling you what’s written in his baby book about his first birthday party.