Monday, July 13, 2009

Pushing the envelope

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...

15 comments:

jenny said...

Oh bless your heart! This takes stamina to have a standoff with your child, doesn't it?!

I have to do this quite often with Middle-- she is the picky eater of the bunch. She used to eat scrambled eggs like there was no tomorrow, and now she won't touch them. My only requirement is she eats the same number of bites as her age:: 5. Usually that works, but this morning? meh. I ended up sending her to her room.

Good for you for standing your ground with the Spud. They gotta learn who is Boss! :o)

xo

Mum said...

I don't think we were that useless, he improved enormously after you made him laugh and he acknowleged that we were there. Hope you had fun today!...

Love you, Mum

cactus petunia said...

Wow. I just dog-sat a stubborn beagle for two weeks, and I thought THAT was a challenge...could the spud be part beagle?

Although the beagle never refused his dinner, I never did get him to stop chasing the cats!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

We know the scene well in this household. At least you got to giggling at the end. That, in my book, ranks as a total success!

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh good gawds...I am shattered just reading this. Good luck for today.

Carol said...

Blimey, well done for getting him to eat his dinner!!! Perhaps I should try that method with my husband...he reckons that if something is green then it's not meant to be eaten!!

C x

SandyCalico said...

Well done! Laughter is the best medicine, as is ketchup!

Metropolitan Mum said...

I have an award over for you at mine, because you always make me laugh :-D
http://www.metropolitanmum.co.uk/2009/07/once-again-–-it’s-award-time/

Maternal Tales said...

Oh golly - I think perhaps it's time we had a standup too (we're still at the beginning bit - eating in front of the tv). Oops...Don't fancy what you've just been through though so I think i might just be a crap Mother for a bit longer..you know... play it by ear and see how it goes!!

jaguarish said...

The trouble with a slippery slope is that you don't know you're on it until it's much too laaa-aa-a-a-te... (falling scream sound)

Who's the Mummy? said...

Oh dear - I can relate to the slippery slope. As I watched Flea eating her crisps on the sofa in front of the TV last night, I remember it was only a year ago that she'd never eaten crisps, never watched TV and was only fed at the table.

These days, she eats whatever she can fetch for herself, and frequently eats in the car (blog post pending on that one!)

Well done on breaking the standoff though!

Michelle said...

Well done, Sparx! And good luck with your next adventure.

cartside said...

well done for having laughter to spare after this stand off!
Laughter works best for us too, especially if in a stale mate.

Although I've no qualms about the "no dinner then" method. Usually, as soon as I say that, she'll start eating it.

Helen + ilana = Hi said...

I can just vision the skyped anonymouses barely contained laughter. At 13 & 15 the Hairs still eat at the table........ my memories of 2 & 4 are still too vivid to let down my guard!

WV= cousi as in Why do I have to eat that? Cousi said so!

Maternal Tales said...

Award for you at mine lady x