The Girl no longer wants to sit in her high chair for meals, but I still want her to sit in it. If I’ve learned one thing from the boys, it’s that I have to stick to my guns, so I put her bowl of leftover macaroni on her tray and sit her in the chair. She politely declines and initiates an escape attempt. I sit her back down a few times then move to Phase II: placing her on the floor and saying, in a firm voice, If you won’t eat in the chair, you won’t eat. You’re not carrying your dinner around the house. Just like I learned on Super Nanny.
She looks at me in disgust and then does the only thing that would have bothered me, the exact opposite of the response I was trying to illicit: She turns around and walks away. She goes on with her evening on an empty stomach as if to say I don’t need you or your crappy day-old macaroni.
I’m not going to give in because if I do, she will think that she never has to listen to me and she will become a defiant child that turns into an even more defiant teenager, with the end result being a depressed and unproductive adult that lives in my basement. I know this because I’ve already made it to step 2 of this progression with two other children, so she has to sit in the chair because I really don’t want three adult children living in my basement. My max is two.
I also move on with my evening, trying not to think about the fact that she hasn’t eaten which means she probably won’t sleep through the night. I clean up the kitchen which includes throwing away her untouched macaroni. As soon as it hits the trash can, she saunters over, glares at me, and holds up her arms to be returned to her chair for dinner. She’s apparently had a change of heart. I put her in the chair and start looking for another dinner option. Choices are slim. As I said, “A” line was recycled macaroni. I offer her a sandwich or some oatmeal but she just keeps pointing at the empty pink bowl that held her discarded macaroni. Like an idiot, I try to offer her a rational argument:
Well, you didn’t want to sit in your chair during dinner so I threw away your macaroni because I have OCD and I couldn’t stand to leave it sitting on the counter while you roamed the house. Plus it was already semi-rotten, soooo….it’s gone.
Then I remember she’s 1 so I just hand her a cup of chocolate pudding. Surely that will satisfy her. It doesn’t. Eating pudding in the chair was not part of the deal, only macaroni, so I sit her back on the floor. I try the whole “sticking to my guns” thing again and refuse to give her the pudding once she’s out of the chair – for about 30 seconds while she screams like a crazy fool. Then I give up and just hand her the stupid pudding. I don’t even care anymore. You win. But winning isn’t enough for her. She now thinks that perhaps she would prefer to enjoy this pudding outside on the deck in the fresh evening air so she points at the door.
Side. Let’s go.
Whatever. I’ve already been defeated. Does it really matter how badly I lose? So I follow her outside and sit with her on the deck while she finishes her pudding dinner. She even demands that I feed her some of it even though she’s more than capable of feeding herself. As I sit there, feeding her and furtively trying to swat flies before they touch her because it upsets her when they tickle her skin (which she could have avoided by eating inside, in her chair), I realize that I’ve been played. I’m pretty sure that after I took her out of the chair the first time, she just stood by, watching and waiting for me to throw away the macaroni so she could watch me scramble around to prepare a more delicious dinner served in a more appealing setting as punishment for my ignorance. What started out as me laying down the law ended in me feeding this master manipulator chocolate pudding by moonlight. Well played, Punkie.