You know, sometimes the only thing harder than putting the kids down for bed, is getting them to sit down and eat. There’s no rhyme or reason for it, either. Stuff they like one day, they hate the next, so they won’t touch it. Stuff they hate one day, they like another and will insist on that in place of what they actually have in front of them. There’s the endless negotiating. Something messed up like a shiny ball goes by the window, they’re distracted by the shiny ball, and stop caring about eating.
Actual hunger is never a factor, for some reason. Basically, if they don’t want to, they’ll find ways not to.
Here, let me know show you an example. A typical family dinner one night resulted in this:
Things J would rather do than eat dinner (in order of occurrence):
– Nothing. That girl loves to eat. Love that kid.
Things B would rather do than eat dinner (in order of occurrence):
– Try to watch TV, and get mad when I tell him no.
– Leave table to hang K’s dresses up on his door handle.
– Say that he likes potatoes, then whine repeatedly that he doesn’t like potatoes.
– Say that his bread looks like a duck, then converses with the duck.
– Cut the duck up into small pieces. Don’t eat the small pieces.
– Tell me that J is pretending to be a girl, argue vehemently with me when I say that she is a girl.
– Spreads his body out across his chair and J’s chair, and planks. Do people still plank??
– After I sit him back up, and force him to eat, take a big bite. I tell him to chew. He makes up a song about chewing and sings it. ‘You chew your dinner! You chew your lunch! You chew after your nap! You chew (in a deep baritone Barry White voice, no joke) All night long! All night long!’ Song goes on like this for a few minutes (it feels like all night long) until I tell him to stop and eat more.
– Eat more, then start drumming his chair with his fork and knife. Break it down for me, so I can understand where he’s coming from:
Me – ‘Stop making music and eat!’
B – ‘This is a xylophone (scratches at my arm and makes a screeching sound).
This is a drum (drums table with his hands).
This a guitar (does kind of an air guitar).
This is euntktigdo (said some gibberish, anyway it was a guitar motion with a whiny noise).
So I can make music!’
Picks up his knife and fork and keeps drumming. Well, with logic like that, who am I to stop him?
Wait, I’m the parent……. I am supposed to stop him!
– Eventually eats at all his dinner, but only after I bust out almost every trick in the “Bad Parents Handbook.” Oh, stop tsk tsk tsking. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If such a book existed, it would be a best seller, so I’m not alone on this.
Meals used to be just about the food. Now, though?
Gotta serve ’em up with a lot of time and a side of patience…