It started small, a little give here; a nursery sofa there, some allowances, some compromise... and then suddenly I woke up to realise that the spud has been getting away with murder.
He's been sleeping on the nursery futon, eating his tea on the sofa in front of the TV; demanding constant cheese toasties, icecream and bottles of milk and... well the list is pretty long.
We've managed to get him back to his own bed, cut the bottles of milk out during the day and begun to wean him off the TV however he still wouldn't eat anything that wasn't a cheese toastie and refused to sit at the table. Following a friend of mine telling me she had 'broken' her toddler with a two-hour standoff over dinner (which has worked wonders), we had our own standoff.
It was pretty hairy.
First I brought him a healthy dinner and offered it to him on the sofa. He picked it up, carried it into the kitchen, put it on the counter, announced he was 'finished' and demanded a biscuit.
I carried it back and put it on the table. He did the same. I carried it back and then put him into his chair at the table. He tried to get down. I picked him back up. He pushed himself and his chair away from the table. I pulled him in. He pushed back. I pulled in. I threatened to slap his hand if he did it again. He did it. I, god help me, slapped his hand. He did it again. So did I. He put his poor little hands over his face, rocked back and forth and moaned and moaned. Just at the point that I thought I'd done him some serious mental damage, he took his hands away and started on his next attack which was to pointedly ignore both me and his dinner. He sat with his body facing the table but his head twisted as far into the room as his neck would allow and his eyes screwed shut. I brushed some ketchup onto his lips (I'm not a real ogre, there was some ketchup involved...). He screamed, wiped his lips and then spent several minutes dramatically brushing all signs of ketchup from his tongue. He loves ketchup.
This had taken us the best part of 20 minutes and at this point I thought that skyping my parents would be a good idea; not for sympathy, no no no, this for them was the height of comedy; but for some advice perhaps - they had, after all, parented me.
The spud ignored them too, turning his head the other way just in case we hadn't noticed him ignoring us. He tried closing his eyes; putting his hands over his eyes; putting his hands over his mouth; closing his eyes AND putting his hands over his mouth - I tried reasoning with him, arguing with him and pushing tasty morsels into his mouth whenever it was open. Nada.
Half an hour into our stand off, out of total frustration I made a massive airplane/train tunnel-here-comes-the-food manoevre and, as he complained, I just laughed at him. Two giggles later he ate practically the whole damn thing - by himself, with his fork.
I guess laughter is the best medicine after all. I guess we just have to see if it worked now; I'm planning something without ketchup tomorrow, wish me well...