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Dinnertime drama February 16, 2010

Posted by Erin F. Wasinger in Being a mama, It's how we roll, Kind of unreasonable.

Dave and I have a plan on raising this kid. We’ve got rules we want to enforce, we’ve got a method. It’s just putting that into practice we have some trouble with.

Alice has been testing us — because toddlers are evil, and this is what they do — which leaves Dave and I gaping at each other like idiots, loudly whispering over Alice’s head “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO”, and “ME EITHER BUT MAN I FEEL LIKE GIGGLING!”, and “I KNOW! ME TOO!”

Last night, for instance, was one of those occasions where holding our shit together was nearly impossible. Alice goes through moods where she doesn’t want to eat dinner unless she’s sitting on one of our laps. Harmless enough when she had that double ear infection, right? Well. Only now she’s healthy; she just prefers my shrinking lap space over her more practical booster chair, because my bulging midsection offers the opportunity for her to hold pears up to my belly “for the baby” (no I didn’t teach her that; yes, it’s cute, but only the first three times and never afterwards when my shirt is splotched with wet pear marks).

Last night, we decided to be Mean Mom and Dad: “No, you have to sit in your chair if you want to eat.” Oooh, hear our intentions? Oh yeah, we meant that.

Oh. MAN — this was like that one time when … No, it’s even worse — She couldn’t even THINK of a time when we were being MORE UNFAIR. Oh! Drama! Wailing! Thrashing about on the floor, streams of tears running down her red face — there was no putting her in the chair, no talking her down from the ledge she worked her way toward. If she was the tweeting kind, this would end with a “#worstdayever” tag — I mean, you really have no idea how UNFAIR her parents are, OMG.

We tried the silly thing: “Where’s Alice?” we asked, looking everywhere around her chair. “Man, she should be in this chair.” Nothing. “Mr. Big’s going to get in your chair, then!” Let him, she cried, flinging her head onto my lap.

We were cool, calm and collected while issuing our demand. It was this giving of the middle finger to our ultimatum that sent our eyes wandering toward the nearest exit.

Wait, we looked at each other, that was a “no”? Really? Should we ask again? Still no? Really? But … but it’s food ..? This went on long enough for us to both eat and play the Ignoring You card, long enough for her dinner to get that weird glazed-over look, long enough for me to put it back in the fridge.

But, really, we asked: How long do we let this go on? Is there a point where you have to let them win? See, at one end was our rational “do not back down” mentality; at the other was the pony we’d have to buy her if we gave in to this now. Ponies make lousy pets; I wasn’t giving in this early.

But, really? Really? I wasn’t even sure she’s developmentally able to understand that she just chose STARVATION.

About 45 minutes and some bad (as in good) “America’s Funniest Videos” later she was up for a few bites. But we may have just scarred her. I’m still not convinced she got the point. I’m not sure we did.



1. klhp - February 17, 2010

I’m glad that it’s not just our house that is a haven for fits and throwing-myself-on-the-ground-I-don’t-car-how-close-I-am-to-the-corner-of-the-coffee-table moments. I guess I don’t need to tell you it doesn’t get better at 21 months. 🙂

The books always say, “Choose your battles,” but how many battles? Which ones are the most important (other that the Don’t Die ones)? I don’t know. I do know that wooden play food make excellent weapons. Does that score me any points in the Parenting Dept.?

Good luck. Here’s hoping that turning two isn’t really as bad as everyone says! Cheers!

2. erinfrances - February 17, 2010

That’s what I want to know! How many of these battles can I let go and still have her not turn into a psychopath? There’s got to be a bar graph out there somewhere to illustrate this. 🙂

3. Nicole - February 18, 2010

I say HOLD OUT on this one! Mads went through the lap-stage as it shall be called. Except her lap-neediness was in restaurants. Finally we told her she had to sit in the seat and wailing ensued in the restaurant, but it hasn’t happened since. Stay tough dudes!

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