Thursday, November 6, 2008

Conversations with a four year old

Bones came into the kitchen yesterday while I was making supper.

Bones: Mom, can I have a cookie?
Mom: No sweetie, supper is in 15 minutes.
B: Pleeeeeeeze!
M: I said no.
B: How about an apple...can I have an apple?
M: Dinner is in 15 minutes. You can wait.
B: (Making the crying face) Just ONE apple?
M: Sigh! No. You can wait until supper. I don't want you to spoil your appetite.
B: What's an appetite?
M: It's when you feel like eating. If I give you an apple now, you won't feel like eating your supper.
B: Yes, I will!!!
M: No. Wait 15 minutes and then you can eat as much supper as you want, okay?
B: Listen, Mom. I'm going to go pee and while I'm gone you get an apple and cut it up. I'll eat it when I come back and then I'll run around and use it up and then at supper time I'll still have an appetite!
M: I'm not going to talk about this any more! Go pee if you have to go.
B: Do it, Mom!
M: No...go pee.
B: YES...DO IT!!
M: No!

And this carried on for a few minutes until 15 minutes had actually gone by and supper was ready.

You want to know something? My relationship with food is so messed up, that I don't even know if I was being reasonable or not. I know the "experts" say that you should let your children decide when they're hungry and let them eat what they want (provided it's something nutritious) and believe me, this is what's going through my head when I'm telling Bonsie that she can't eat. And I'm feeling this weird irrational guilt for making the poor child go for 15 minutes without food. But I just want her to eat her supper!! Is that so bad?

I'm terrified of passing my food crazy on to her and Berio. I don't want them to grow up and have to fight this stupid battle! I want their bodies to be healthy and fit and their minds and hearts to be free and happy. We haven't banned any food from their plates. They get treats (sometimes too many, if my husband has anything to say about it!) but they also love their fruits and veggies. They're probably not as active as they should be...simply because I'm not as active as I should be - but I'm working on that. I don't know.

I just hope I don't mess them up too badly! :-)

1 comment:

Juice said...

Any kid can wait 15 minutes for dinner. You are NOT a bad mom. If anything, the problems our kids (and our society) have today are due to our inability to wait for anything!

The only thing you could have improved upon was controlling the conversation. Tell her your decision is final, that she can have an apple after dinner if she is still hungry, and that if she continues to whine she will have to have a time out (or your disciplinary tool of choice). Children need parents to set boundaries! Way to be strong.