Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Epic Battle

Last night was an epic battle of wills: The seasoned vet vs the rookie. Age vs youth. Experience vs determination. Who won? Read on for the full story...

My kids are good eaters, most of the time. Kaylee will try anything once, and if she doesn't like it she'll tell you. Brady will look at something and decide he doesn't like it. Instantly. Before smelling, tasting or even touching it. Even so, they both like salad. And for that I am thankful.

Last night I grilled chicken (yes, I skillfully operated a Weber grill all by myself) and served salad and grilled asparagus as well. Kaylee at it all and then some. Brady complained about the entire meal as soon as he saw it on the table.

Battle #1: Asparagus. My ONLY requirement is that they TRY something, just one bite, and if they don't like it OK. But they have to try it. Brady says, and I quote: I will NOT eat ANY. I repeated again to him the rule and his options, either eat one piece or eat a pile of them. Incidentally Kaylee was rooting for me to win because she wanted seconds of the asparagus. Brady, she says, just eat ONE. That's all you have to do. Nice cheerleading there, big sis. After about 5 minutes of me putting one on his plate, him taking it off, me putting it back on, him taking it off, me putting it back on, him taking it....well you get the idea, I won. He actually ate it. And, guess what? Liked it. ARGH!

Battle #2: Chicken. While only a minor skirmish, please understand that it IS about the fight, not just the war. If I let my guard down for one second he'll eat me alive like a grizzly bear and his prey. Brady wanted a whole piece, which was a big ass piece of chicken, one that even I couldn't finish on my own. I convinced him that I would cut it in half and make bite sized pieces and after he ate ALL his dinner he could have seconds. This took all of about 2 minutes and it was over.

But wait, there's more....

BATTLE #3, the battle of all battles, the cream of the crop, the cherry on top, the big daddy of them all: SECONDS OF SALAD............. As I mentioned, Bready does like his salad, so he asked for seconds, which I happily served up. Mind you he is VERY clear that he doesn't want mushrooms so I carefully select each piece of lettuce to put on his plate. Near the end of the meal he decided that he was done and left the table. We ask them to ask to be excused (you know, to give the appearance to visitors that our children are actually polite) so when they just get up, you know it isn't going to be easy getting them back.

Once he sat back down and I explained to him that since he asked for seconds of salad that he needed to eat it so it didn't go to waste, he promptly said "I will not eat it." If you've met me, you know that any sort of defiance like that doesn't go well, and as shown in battle #1, I will not relent until I win. So, I made myself comfy. I explained that he could sit there all night long, and I with him, until he ate the three bites left of salad on his plate.

Many people, at this point in my story, will think "is it really worth doing battle over some droopy expiring salad with a four year old?" to which I will answer every time and twice on Sunday that yes, with this particular four year old that not only is it worth doing battle, it is a matter of teenage year survival that I not give in. Give the kid an inch and he'll take my minivan for a joyride with a six pack of beer and a learner's permit just because he can.

The rest of the details of the story are not really worth giving other than to tell you that about 30 minutes in, with me returning Brady to the chair in front of his food a thousand times, I finally told him I would just get a glass of wine and a book and wait all night with him. Finally, at that point, it was starting to get dark so I went into the kitchen, poured myself a GIANT GLASS of red wine, and grabbed a novel that I had just gotten through the first few pages. I sat back down, cracked open the book took a long, delicious sip of my wine and looked over at my son.

Suddenly, he was ready to deal. It was like magic. I was the interrogator, and I finally broke him. But, when it comes to battle, it isn't always about the win, but about giving a little to the other side so they at least have some dignity left and that they feel like you've done them a favor, not the other way around. He wanted to eat 2 of the 3 pieces of lettuce left and I chose the two largest. He ate them, quickly, then asked what was for dessert.


Anonymous said...

Amy, I love this! Keep it up!

Abbey said...

Awesome! I have a four-year-old that I go to battle with as well at EVERY meal, however she only eats teaspoonfuls at a time, and I'm always plagued that I'll take her to the doctor at her next visit and they'll ask me if I realize she's malnourished....

Anonymous said...

Great parenting! I love your reasoning about battling now will save you from the teenage years. It could evry well work that way. You are an awesome mother (and I mean that in a good way!)