Friday, September 18, 2015

The Negotiator

Tom and I are both really over sitting at the table at each meal and spoon feeding Olivia her food. The fact that she’s perfectly capable of feeding herself, of dipping a spoon (or fork *gasp*) into a plate or bowl of food and then lifting that utensil to her mouth with very little spillage is part of our frustration. We know she can do but she doesn’t WANT to do it. She wants to be babied.

I try to remind myself that this is an ongoing process and we can’t undo almost nine years of habit in two or three days. Tom needs to be reminded of this even more than I do. He’s decided it’s time for her to feed herself and he gets very frustrated when she pushes back. Yeah, I wonder where she gets her stubbornness.

She wants to know WHY she has to feed herself. My response is, “Because you’re a big girl.”

Tom replies, “Because you can!” (Yes, the exclamation point is spoken.)

She shouts back at him, “But I don’t want to!”

Ha. They’re fun to be around at 6:30 in the morning. Poor Lyss. At least I can drown them out with my hair dryer. Lyssie has to sit at the same table, attempting to eat her Cheerios while they try to shout each other into submission.

Earlier this week, Liv decided she wants to have a party for her classmates at our house. She doesn’t want this to be a birthday party, she wants a ‘just because’ party. She wants to have cupcakes, play Twister, give them a tour of our house and yard and maybe play pretend and dress-up.

She’s just sure that if all the kids from her class are in our house, she’ll talk to them.

I’d love to give her that chance. We started planning this party. She is in the process of designing the invitations. Yes, she’s quite the party-zilla. She wants to control every aspect of this party.

Tom heard us discussing party plans and decided to use the party as a motivator for Liv. He told her that if she starts feeding herself even one meal a day without a fuss, without complaint, she can go ahead with her party plans.

She tried to negotiate this point. “I have a better plan,” she told him. “We will have this party and then, when I’m a teenager or maybe a grown up, then I will feed myself all my meals.”


I interjected at this point, “Well, sure, that sounds great…for you. But lucky for me and Daddy, you are not the parent here and you don’t get to make the rules. You’re big enough and able to feed yourself so it’s time to start doing that.”

She started to argue her point and I reminded her that this was not a negotiation.

She huffed and puffed and sighed and then took a bite of twice baked potato using her very own hand to lift the spoon to her mouth.

This is very much going to be a work in progress. She cried yesterday morning as Tom urged her to eat her Rice Krispies. She fussed last night when I prompted her to eat her tomato soup (and in my defense, it was in one of those bowls with a built in straw, there was no heavy lifting to be done.)

But we’ll get there. Honestly, I keep reminding Tom that this is our fault. She’s been feeding herself at my mom’s house since she was four. We have just done it out of habit and the fact that it’s less messy when we feed her. But I’m willing to clean a few messes to let this girl learn a bit more independence. Now, if she would just embrace that independence herself we’d be well on our way.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Wouldn't she feed herself if she is hungry? As in, feed yourself or go hungry? Kind of the "cry yourself to sleep" version of eating? Sounds harsh but removes the negotiation. You could also tell her that if she doesn't start feeding herself, she'll have to eat by herself. Yikes. Just keep reminding her that you aren't punishing her. You love her and want her to be the best she can be.

Good luck!