One evening last week after I’d fed everyone else, I realized that the dinner I’d made them didn’t appeal to me at all. So I sat down to a bowl of Cheerios.
Olivia was still sitting at the table and glanced over at me. Her eyes widened and she gasped, “You’re having Cheerios for DINNER?!?”
She couldn’t believe it. It was as if her world was suddenly inside out. The very idea that someone could have what was usually a breakfast food at dinner stunned and intrigued her.
I simply nodded and continued eating my Cheerios.
She asked if she could have some. She’d eaten all of fifteen minutes before but I figured what the heck. I got her a bowl of Cheerios and put it in front of her. She finished her Cheerios snack before I managed to finish my Cheerios dinner and asked for more.
She ended up eating two and a half bowls of Cheerios that night, gleeful the entire time that she was eating Cheerios when it was not morning. The fun and novelty of it amazed and delighted her.
Last night’s dinner, lasagna, garlic bread and green beans, was another, less delightful adventure.
Olivia decided about five bites in that her lasagna and garlic bread tasted yucky. She wanted to only finish her beans. Which, okay, whatever.
Except her dad (he will remain nameless in this post) is of the, “FINISH YOUR DINNER OR THE WORLD WILL END.” Variety. I tend to think he’s a bit melodramatic and stern in his adherence to this rule but I try not to contradict him in front of the girls. You know, united front and all that. If she’d waited ten minutes to declare her dinner ‘yucky’ I’d have tossed it with nary a comment.
Sadly, he was sitting across from her at the table when she made the yucky declaration and so I had to sit there and ‘argue’ with her about whether or not she was eating her dinner.
And there I was, all pretending to be so very patient and loving. Seriously, it was kind of awesome.
She’d say, “I’m not eating that.”
And I’d reply, “Okay, you don’t have to eat it right now but later, when you want strawberry shortcake, I’ll warm this up for you then.”
“But I don’t want you to warm it up then, I want you to throw it away and give me strawberry shortcake.”
“No, that’s not how this is going to work. If you want the dessert later, you have to eat more of your dinner. You can either eat it now or later, it doesn’t matter to me.”
She took a deep breath and asked in exasperation, “Why are we even arguing about this?”
I turned to Alyssa and grinned, “I’m doing such a good job of pretending to be patient, aren’t I?”
Alyssa stifled a laugh.
I replied to Olivia, “I don’t know why you’re arguing. I’m just telling you how it’s going to be.”
And in the end, she did eat a few more bites of her dinner before I let her have the strawberry shortcake.
This was just one more example of how I sometimes fake being an excellent mother. Someday, I’ll have faked it enough to make it.