A Battle of Wills... But Who Won?

Z is up to her old tricks again. We had a really rough day. Bless her heart, she is all freaked out about her dad being gone and chooses to show it by being a little terror for me. The fact that I know what is behind the behavior does not make it a.) any more fun to deal with; or b.) any more acceptable.

Upon her return from school this afternoon, Z had her treat as she usually does. But after snarfing down some Easter candy, she comes to me and says she is still hungry. She sees the pretzels that I had out for Q's morning snack and demands that I give her some. I tell her that she can have some after nap time, but that she had eaten her whole meal at school and her treat at home so she didn't need anything right this minute.

You would have thought I told her I was never going to feed her again. There was screaming and ugliness and refusals to do as she was told culminating in getting carried to her room (literally kicking and screaming) for an early nap.

But that isn't the battle the title is talking about. No, that would be dinner. My policy is that I make one meal for everyone and the kids can choose to eat it or not, but there will be no treats if you chose not to eat any healthy food. There are no requirements about clean plates, but I expect most of the plate to be gone. This said, tonight's dinner was very kid friendly: fish sticks, mashed potatoes, peas, and sliced strawberries. All favorites.

I started to put a little of everything on her plate, and right away Z starts telling me she doesn't want any peas. She loves peas. I told her that was fine, but not to expect dessert. She decided to have peas. She wolfed down her strawberries and started asking if she could have dessert. I asked if she had eaten most of her food and she said no. She took two bites of a fish stick and asked again if she could have dessert. She asked after every bite until I started clearing my place. I told her each time that if she was full, she should stop eating. The ice cream would be there tomorrow.

By the time Q and I were finished, Z had eaten approximately four peas and half a teaspoon of potatoes. Clearly, she was not interested in her dinner. She had eaten a sizable snack after her nap, so she was probably pretty full. I asked her if she wasn't going to get dessert anyway, would she eat what was on her plate? After a brief screaming interlude, she declared herself still hungry and continued to eat.

About this time, Q's diaper had a catastrophic failure and I was completely consumed in cleaning him up, leaving Z at the table. This one was a six-wiper, so I spent quite a bit of time getting him undressed while depositing the least amount of grossness on his person in the process, cleaning up the bio-hazard, re-diapering and wrangling his semi-naked self into pajamas.

Z came in mid-wrangle, her eyes triumphant. "I finished most of my food!" And she had. She had choked down an entire plate of food that she didn't want in order to get a tiny scoop of ice cream on a cone.

I was torn. Clearly, she had followed the letter of the law, if not the intent. In the end, rules are rules. She got her ice cream. But no syrup.


  1. *shakes head* You're right. The rule WAS followed.

  2. ok you get teh mom medal!!!

  3. My son NEVER eats ever. We also bribe him and hav to unfortunately follow the rules we used to bribe him with LOL

  4. Friggin technicalities! They'll screw you every time! Sounds like you have a smart one like I have, be careful!

  5. hi rae ann,
    i'm sorry but i actually smiled while reading this... thanks for the "memories!" just know that someday you will miss dinners like that!

  6. Your Z and my Diva could be twins! I go through this everyday with her. My husband keeps saying "scrambled eggs" when she pulls her attitude.

    The Diva acts like she's four going on fourteen. It's about to kill me. And, unlike your Z, there is no reason for this attitude from her. It's just her.

    I was warned that kids take everything literally. Your daughter, like mine, seems to take this to the extreme. We both have very smart children. I think the attitude might be the trade off for that. Nothing comes for free, right? LOL


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