Oh tonight. Tonight. Tonight. Can tonight suck it, please?
Let me preface this with stating the obvious, for the random reader who might Google something about Tony Romo and end up on this blog. I LOVE MY KIDS. I LOVE being a mom. I've always wanted kids and as much as I sometimes miss sleeping in and time alone and having more money and those sorts of fun things, I've never NOT loved being the mom to my wonderful little blonde muffins. Blahdy blahdy blah....
Ok, so are we clear? Because SOMETIMES no matter how much I love motherhood and love my kids, I lose my cool. And lately I've run up against a little something called The Toddler, who it would seem is now capable of outfoxing me from time to time. Enter, tonight.
We're working on trying to eat better and save money, so dinner at home has become the routine rather than the rarity it used to be. Seriously...we used to go out to eat more often than we ate at home. Hi, self, still wondering why you're fat and poor? Now part of the reason we went out so often is because Darrick and I have vastly different food preferences. He loves beef and spicy foods. The last bite of beef I had was 12 years ago in Japan (I was famous during pregnancy for saying, "No I won't be eating my placenta. I don't even eat STEAK.") and Pei Wei's Kung Pao meal makes my tongue so hot it itches. Thus, going out became easier than staying in because instead of US making 2 meals, we each just ordered what we like.
Well, throw a picky toddler into the mix...one who doesn't even like to eat for the most part...and now we're making 3 meals most of the time. It sucks, but we deal.
So tonight I got home to discover that Darrick was heating up some stromboli my mom made him (chock FULL of beef) and Luca and I were on our own for dinner. I had some bagels I brought home from work and she wanted to try one, so I set out to make her an open face turkey melt in the toaster oven. Potato bagel...turkey...cheese...melty. Sounded like a recipe for success to me.
I sit her down in her highchair, and she tells me it's too hard to chew. I go over with a knife and cut ut into bite-size pieces.
Now she doesn't like the bagel. Fine...it's new to her and probably hard to eat. I go over and peel the cheesy turkey off the top so she can focus on that part and skip the bagel.
15 minutes later and not a single bite consumed, she's begging to be let down. I try to barter by telling her if she eats the turkey we can go get ice cream. No dice. We can have some melon? Not swayed. We can color and play Play Doh WHILE eating ice cream and melon and watching Elmo? Not sold.
Frustrated but trying to play it cool, I decide to play hard ball.
"Luca, you have two choices. You can eat your turkey and then we can play and have some ice cream. Or you can go to bed right now."
"Luca wants to go to bed."
this was not the plan.
did she?...she did, didn't she?...shit...my 2 year old just called my bluff.
Remember that talk before, about adoring my kids? Well, I also work outside the home. Which means I have ALL THIS ADORATION which has to be bestowed upon them in the morning before work and in our few evening hours together. The few hours which Luca just put the kibosh on by calling my bluff and choosing bed over dinner.
So, shit. Now I have to put her to bed. Right? Right. I send her to get her jammies and a nighttime diaper, all the while expecting she'll snap out of it and change her mind. No such luck. She is compliant about getting ready for bed. She dutifully kisses her Daddy goodnight, does not put up a fight when I tell her no bedtime books, and gets right into bed and under the covers. The clock on the wall reads 6:15. Her regular bedtime is 8:30, sometimes 9.
We left her door open so she could hear us downstairs. I told her that she could change her mind and come back down and we could play SO LONG AS she ate her dinner. "Ok mama. Night night Mama. I love you Mama." she replied.
Downstairs I went, where Darrick and I spent 15 minutes loudly 'playing Play Doh' and singing her favorite songs, expecting her to come bounding down the stairs any second, having realized the error of her ways and willing to eat dinner so she could play.
After 15 minutes, I finally looked up at the hallway outside her room and saw her standing there, sheepishly smiling. I invited her back down with the condition she had to eat her dinner. She agreed.
Grabbing the plate off the table, I broke the turkey into smaller pieces for her, but she immediately began trying to avoid eating, so I decided I needed to be firm. This was going to require me to get down in the trenches.
I sat down by her little table, pulled her onto my lap, and began feeding her pieces of meat and cheese by hand. Little by little, she was eating her dinner, and without complaint. When just 2 or 3 pieces were left, she started to resist a bit. "Mama, Luca don't like this turkey." Thinking this was just an excuse to avoid eating, I ignored it and kept feeding her. The last piece I put into her mouth was spit out into her hand. Thinking she was just being stubborn, I chided her and made her eat it.
Just then, Darrick decided we needed some ice cream, so he pulled it out of the freezer and called Luca into the kitchen. And just as she stepped onto her little stepping stool to watch him serve the ice cream, she gagged and up came ALL THE TURKEY AND CHEESE. I must take a moment to praise my husband's lightening-fast hands which managed to reach out and catch most of it before it landed on the floor.
You know what feels shitty? Forcing your kid who says she doesn't want her food to eat, only to have her puke it up a few minutes later. And even shittier? As I cleaned her off and carried her over the the couch to tuck a blanket over her, she looked at me, tilted her head to the side and raised the centers of her brows at me (just as I do when teaching someone a lesson...), pointed at me and said, "See Mama? I told you Luca don't like the turkey."