So far in this journey of parenthood, I have avoided big confrontations over food. I don't want to fight about it, I don't want to waste energy and time trying to convince someone else to eat. If Jack says he's not hungry or he's full, I generally just go with it, even if I know that's not true. He also claims he doesn't 'like' things which really means he doesn't 'want' something.
This week, Jack has been miserable at the dinner table. He really only wants pasta or pizza for dinner, but it's rare that he asks for pizza. Even when I make pasta though, he's not eating much of it. I spent several nights listening to Pat try to cajole him into eating whatever is on the table. And it's been driving me nuts. I don't want dinner time to be about trying to convince Jack to eat. Or Casey either, but she's generally more of a "shoveler" of the food than an eater.
Tonight, I made pancakes. Blueberry pancakes. Jack eats pancakes almost every Sunday when he goes out to breakfast. I let Jack help put the blueberries in and stir. He watched me cook them on the stove. And then he said he didn't like pancakes. I offered syrup. It was declined. I offered strawberry jam and he accepted and still said he didn't like pancakes. He asked for raspberries so I gave him some frozen raspberries, but they were on the side and eaten independently of the pancake.
Then I pulled out a tub of Cool Whip. I don't even know why it was in my fridge because we don't really put Cool Whip on anything here. I put the Cool Whip on the pancakes and made a smiley face, just like at the restaurant. He ate the Cool Whip off the top and asked for more Cool Whip.
And then I broke my own rule and started not just a fight, but World War Pancake. I told him he was sitting at the table until he ate it. I tried reasoning with him, I yelled at him and I yelled some more. (I'm honestly glad it wasn't a nice day for having the windows open.) He cried and pushed the pancake around his plate. Originally I was just going to send him up to the bath if he hadn't eaten it by bathtime.
I let Casey down and played with her while he was sitting at the table. I stopped talking to him, completely ignored him. And he sat there and sat there and sat there. Eventually he figured he could get out of his seat if he claimed he had to use the potty. At that point, I was somewhat flabbergasted that I hadn't scared him into eating or that he didn't seem to believe my threats. I guess frustrated it a better word. Annoyed. Pushed a little too close to my limit. Crazy???
So I told him he was going to bed...no bath time, no books, no songs. At this point he claimed the pancake was too cold to eat. It was cold. But I told him it was going to get cold if he didn't eat it. WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WHAT I SAY JACK? WHY, WHY WHY???
He cried about how dirty he was all through Casey's bathtime. How he needed a bath.
Once Casey was bathed and ready for bed, I finally relented. I offered a warm pancake. If he ate it, I would read him one book and sing songs. And you know what he did? He ate it. He cried about the fact that he was only getting one book, but he ate it.
Why did it take two hours to get him to eat a pancake? And did I really win? Was it worth it? I don't know. Except for a little yelling, I tried to stay calm and reasonable. He may not think pancakes are as good as pasta but I know he doesn't not like them.
While he was eating his pancake I talked to him about why it is important to eat his dinner. Everyone keeps telling him that if he eats his food that he will get big. Now he just says that he doesn't want to get big. So, I'm going to try to change his perception about that a little bit I guess. We also talked about sticker charts so I'm going to start giving him a sticker for eating a good dinner. Maybe extra stickers if it actually includes vegetables. I'm not trying to get him to eat gourmet/crazy/weird food...just not pasta every single night.
After the war, bedtime was actually really nice and we did a little talking after I sang songs. He wanted to know why his belly went in and out when he breathed. He also wanted to know what his back was for. And we chatted about our trip to Annapolis a couple weeks ago..."I met so many mommies and lots of new friends too."
When I came downstairs to type this I went straight for some chocolate...Ghirardelli Dark & Raspberry squares. A few minutes later, I had to run upstairs to help him with the potty and he asked, "What do I smell Mommy?" For a second, I didn't know what he was talking about. Then it dawned on me that the little bugger could smell the chocolate I was just eating. I played dumb to see what he would come up with. "I think it smells like...ummm...ummm...I think it smells like brownies." His sense of smell is getting a little too sharp!