I’m an oldest child. I’m told that means I’m bossy and authoritarian. I don’t know about all that, but I am pretty strict about certain things.
I have conceded letting the kids pick out their own mismatched clothing (so long as it’s seasonable) and allowing my daughter to have her hair hanging in her face after she yanks the bow out (unless she’s eating and getting food in her hair). But there are some battles I’m willing to fight to the finish. Food and nutrition being one of them.
My oldest thinks he can play me by stalling until I forget my initial directive. Unfortunately for me, that sometimes works, like when I’ve told him to go get dressed three times while I finish feeding his brother and the animals and I come in to find it’s been 30 minutes and he’s still not dressed.
Tonight, the battle was in my territory. Dinner time. A time I’ve grown to hate as it’s fraught with stop-its, quit-its, don’t-do-thats, and babies screaming because the spoonfuls of pureed carrots aren’t shoveled into his tiny vacuous face fast enough…
I served homemade chicken and rice soup with GF Irish soda bread. The catch was, no bread until or unless you finish your soup. I even abided by the ultimatum and abstained from bread until my soup was gone… I even said I’d wait for him to finish his soup so we could have bread together.
Suffice it to say, my daughter, between feeding hers to the dog and painting the table with it gets a bit more lenience from me because she’s younger.
But by golly, if my son didn’t get my stubbornness…
I’ve been told kids won’t starve themselves and if they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat what they’re served. C’mon, it’s not like I served calamari, or haggis, or some other foreign delicacy! It was chicken soup for crying out loud!! It’s what they feed sick people!
So much for trying to logic a toddler.
It makes me feel like a mean mommy, but seriously- they do nothing to me all day but test boundaries! I’m starting to think child spacing has less to do with the mother’s physical health and more to do with not having multiple toddlers. Heaven help mothers of multiples.
He did the same thing to me at the grocery store the other day. The boundaries were set- I expected a trip with no tantrums, if he agreed and behaved, he would get a reward. The reward he chose was hot wheels cars.
We get to the check out counter and I was placing the cars on the belt when he started wailing and screaming to have them. Nope. I took them off the belt and placed them back on the shelf and explained why. Screaming is a fit. Fits don’t merit rewards. Nor does laying on your sister’s face in the shopping cart.
The woman behind me in line cut her eyes downward and tried not to notice the now full-blown tantrum happening.
Some people may wonder why I didn’t just let him have the cars. We were almost done with the trip, what’s 4 minutes concession if it keeps him happy?
I’ll tell you.
Partial obedience is disobedience.
Delayed obedience is disobedience.
It’s my job to teach him boundaries of personal behavior, responsibility, and self control.
My kids aren’t magically going to get these lessons in bigger issues in the future if they aren’t learned now.
Actions have consequences.
Did he learn that lesson?
I hope so… I certainly replayed it over and over in my mind.
But in the time it’s taken me to write this post, he decided to eat his dinner.
And he even thought it was yummy!
And now the bread (or new car, diploma, or relationship, or marriage) or will taste that much better.