It’s that never-ending battle to get kids to eat dinner. It’s the pushing food around so they don’t touch, because God forbid the rice fraternizes with the green beans. It’s the slouching over the table, head leaning into the arms, legs kicking the chair legs. And of course, what one child does, the other instantly mimics and follows suit, mirroring the sighs and mutterings. It never gets old…for them!
But as mom and ruler of the table, your mind runs through all the threats and conjoling you can internally create while attempting to avoid any meltdown of any kind. Why is it so difficult to eat? comes the inevitable question as you watch your older kiddos exchange morose glances. All the while the baby seemingly can’t shuffle the food in fast enough and more often than not, completely miss the targeted mouth and slide down a drool-drenched bare chest. You note that there’s even some mashed up dinner at the top of baby’s head and you try not to think about the looming 3rd bath of the day you will more than likely have to give him.
Attention goes back to your other two, as they try every evasive maneuver possible to avoid finishing their plate. Potty, says the 2.5 year old as she slides off her booster seat. You cringe as she sashays by the couch and slides her hand down the side, more likely than not leaving the remnants of what little food she DID consume all over the gray material. The 5 year old whines about how he needs more Ranch on his plate…this would be the 3rd generous squirt, even though it was for the green peppers that were inhaled quite awhile ago.
I probably should give them more leeway; after all, it’s not their fault Mommy decided to change their food intake and now fixes mostly plant-based meals while taking away their believed whole milk and yogurt. But in my defense, the Tangy BBQ Chickpea and Green Bean casserole came from a self-proclaimed kid-friendly cookbook. And the adults and baby in the house all loved it; they should too!
Back to figuring out how to coerce them. I look at the clock. 6:15pm. Well, bedtime was gonna be 7 anyways, which means 7:30-45pm if we’re lucky, so I’ll give them this choice. Ok guys, I say authoritatively, you have a choice (this will clean their plates, I know it!). You can finish your plates or be done and it’ll be bedtime.
Five minutes later, they both announce they are done and are going to bed. I look at their barely touched Chickpea and rice mixture (with Ranch, I even added that to try and bribe them) and silently cursed that I hadn’t been more creative. Seriously, what kid chooses early bed over a few bites of food?
Mom failure? Or mom genius?
As I sit here and enjoy the silent house at 7:45pm, maybe I’m on to something. A parent can only handle so much cajoling throughout the day…and if it ends up with quiet kids in bed before 7pm, I’m going to have to call that a win for the day.
Sometimes, we just have to cut our losses and let the kids call the shots (that are given to them by us, of course), and sit back and absorb the quiet creeks of the house as the wind blows outside. And if I wasn’t 23 weeks pregnant with #4, I’d be nursing my glass of wine all the while! I’ll give myself a treat and go to bed early.