Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One big sigh....

I wake up to Mr. T coming in and telling me to get up. “How about a ‘good morning’ babe?” I reply. As I get up I notice Miss E’s face – scowl. My heart sinks a little. It’s going to be one of those mornings.

I put a smile on my face and say "Alright guys, what do you want for breakfast? Oatmeal, eggs or toast with peanut butter?"

"I want yogurt." Miss E replies

"Well sweetie we are out of yogurt, we ate the rest of it yesterday. So do you want eggs or oatmeal or toast with peanut butter?"

"I want yogurt". She says again.

"I know babe, I want you to have yogurt too, but we don’t have any. What of the other things do you want?" This is me keeping my cool and still talking in a neutral tone.

"Then I’m not having breakfast" she says. And with that, the gauntlet is thrown.

I respond with a “well, that is not a choice this morning”

And I get another “I’m not going to eat anything.”

Oh Miss E, I think, you know me so well. You know that any other meal I would just say “fine.” If you want to skip lunch or dinner, well so be it. But you know breakfast is not optional, especially on a Wednesday when you have a 6 hour school day ahead of you. I can’t send you to school with no breakfast. 

At the same time, I don’t want to offer her cereal or something else she would probably eat because those are not school morning breakfasts. The kids know they have to have some protein before school – period. No exceptions and if I make an exception this time she will know there is wiggle room here and I will never hear the end of it. 

I sigh, tell her that it is unacceptable and that she should head to her room and shut the door until she makes a different choice.

This is answered with a “I won’t go to my room. I’m not going to eat breakfast and I won’t go to my room.”

Inwardly I sigh again. Here we go. I really don’t want to do this this morning, I hate doing it at all but here we are. Line in the sand drawn. I know from experience that I need to find a side position if I am going to get out of this one. She will never eat what I have offered her (give in) and I won’t let her go to school without breakfast nor is she skipping school. I stop offering her the toast (her most likely choice) and continue offering the eggs and oatmeal knowing she will say no.

After about 10 minutes of back and forth, she heads to her room and gets dressed. I fix breakfast for Mr. T and eat my own.

After I’m done and she comes out, I offer her the toast. Since it’s been a reserved option we haven't been battling over it so therefore it becomes an acceptable choice for her. She says yes but ONLY if it has peanut butter and honey on it. Done.

About 10 minutes into her eating this, Peter gets home from work. I don’t tell him about the breakfast battle. (Uhh.. side note here.. him getting off shift and coming home right in the middle of the morning chaos routine is not the best plan.)

Then it’s on to her ear infection medicine. She doesn’t want to take it, it tastes bad. I agree, it does taste bad but tell her she has to take it. I explain the whole thing about having to start over and how she only has three days left. I offer her m&m’s and chocolate milk to wash the taste out of her mouth. I offer a trip to the toy store or book store after she has finished the whole course of antibiotics and nothing entices her.

Peter, who has less patience for this kind of thing than I do, starts snapping at me. “We should just make her take it and not give into this” Like I am somehow making it OK for her not to take it. I want to snap back “and how EXACTLY should we force a 6 year old to take her medicine?” but I don’t. I take a deep breath and turn away.  This is our hugest parenting difference and the cause of most of the fights in our house. He has less patience for the "talk through the problem" approach and I don't see the practicality of any other way. I mean really, how are we supposed to force a 6 year old to take her medicine? Hold her down and pour it down her throat?

She left for school not having taken her medicine.  I have now argued with my daughter and my husband this morning. It’s 9:30 and I leave for the dentist to get a cavity filled.

Sigh. Sigh and one more sigh. 

On another note, Peter and Mr. T took a field trip today with his preschool class to a local Nature area. Mr. T was SO EXCITED about this trip. It was freezing out but they saw animal tracks, looked at some birds and and saw this gooey pink covered pond. Mr. T always has a smile in his heart and somedays, not always by a long shot, but some days it seems like he is the only one in the family who does. I really really love and value that about him. 

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