Tonight I made mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, apple slices and Easy Chicken Nuggets. The woman who wrote the recipe promised these things would be similar to, but even better than the restaurant chicken nuggets. I have to say they looked like the real deal and because I made them myself, there were no creepy white or purple stringy things in them. My husband said they were awesome.
Both boys refused to eat anything but the apple slices initially. Luke pouted and pushed his plate away and Noah went into negotiator mode. But despite his best attempts, I did not give in.
“But Mom, I want new food.”
“This is new food, Noah.”
“No, Mom. I want oatmeal and raisins.”
“No, Noah. I am not making another dinner for anyone tonight. You may eat this or nothing.”
“But, Mom I am starving.”
“Good! So eat this dinner and you won’t be starving.”
“No, Mom. I am not starving for this food.”
“Then you must not be starving.”
You get the idea. Circles for hours. Luke had a melt down. He cried and shrieked wrapping himself around my leg begging me for other food while I nursed Gracie. I had to hide my face to keep from laughing at first but then his hysterics started to get to me and I felt terrible for not giving in. Still, I stayed outwardly strong. Scott didn’t get home until almost 8:00. Thankfully, his mom was over and helped me deal with Grace so that I could focus on cleaning up the kitchen and keeping them out of the fridge and pantry again (Thanks so much, Alison. You are a blessing). I was smarter this time and put their snack foods on the highest shelves so they couldn’t get to them.
At about 6:45, Luke caved asking for the chicken. I reheated two of the chicken nuggets. He stared at them again and pushed them away. I dipped the smallest one in ketchup and said, “One little bite, Lukey? Just try it.”
He opened his lips fractionally and I gently pushed it in. He chewed and a very small smile crept across his face. “Good?” I asked quietly. He nodded still smiling and leaned his head on my arm. I gave him another. And another and another and soon there were only two little pieces left. I wanted to cry tears of joy. He ate them. He liked them. I don’t care that it was meat. It was real food that I had prepared. It was a battle and I’d won. I let him have some grapes as a reward. Still no special treat. That would have required him clearing his plate. But I’ll still take it!
Noah went to bed without dinner. Maybe next time…
I cannot tell you how exhausting it is; how difficult it is, to stay strong and not give in to their crying. Consequently, it makes my heart break for parents who can’t afford to feed their children every day. It makes me determined to raise kids who appreciate what they have and not feel entitled to anything; not even their chicken nuggets. Lately, I have become very aware of the repercussions of giving in to your kids all the time. You create little monsters who think they are above the rules. They won’t respect you on many levels, not just dinner.
Though I am fairly certain I have pulled a muscle in my brain tonight by enforcing my new dinner expectations, I am glad I am doing it now rather than waiting for a bigger issue when it is far too late.