This is it; I have to start a blog about parenting. I have no choice. My daughter is the ripe age of 10, and it’s already happening: The red face, the conniving, the manipulating, the screaming, the hair pulling, the bathroom hogging, the refusing to eat. And those were my choices just this morning.
I just need to laugh at it. And know that I’m not alone. That among the stupid decisions I make, I am a steady person in her life and we are going to make it through this.
OK. Story time:
I have a picky eater. She calls herself a “Vegetarian” but she doesn’t eat vegetables, so I frequently refer to her as a “Candytarian.” But that’s a whole ‘nother blog. The point is that she controls what she eats and she always has. We decided a long time ago that this wasn’t a hill to die on. However, besides trying to get her to shower, it’s the biggest issue right now.
Me: “What are you going to eat for dinner?” (Don’t mistake the question for catering. Her options are limited: 1.) Learn to cook or 2.) Eat what mom makes.)
Candytarian: (Shoulder-shrug of a girl scorned by abject poverty.) “I dunno.”
Me: (I take a bun out of the freezer and began to instruct her on how to make her own stuff.) “Ok, so I just took this bun out of the freezer, and now I’m going to put it in the microwave for 12 seconds. Then I’m going to cut it in half with this knife. Then, we lay the cheese on. Then we turn the oven on broil and…”
Candy: “BROIL!!! BROIL???? I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT!!!!”
Me: “Like I was saying, you press the “BROIL” button right here and then press “START…”
Candy: “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!!! I CAN’T DO THIS!! Like, how do I even know how long to put this in the oven for? THIS IS TOO HARD!!!”
Me: (Imagining that I’m dealing with a three-year-old is the only way I can stay calm at times. I explain to her that you have to leave the door open and stand by the oven and watch it until it “looks like you want to eat it.” )
Candy: (Tired of dealing with insolent slaves, she walks away.)
Me: “Come back here and watch your cheese melt.” (While we wait, I pass her an oven mitt to put on her hand.)
Candy: (Flinging the oven mitt, it falls onto the floor.) “THIS IS TOO BIG! LOOK, IT JUST FALLS RIGHT OFF OF ME!”
Me: “Well, you have two options. You can choose to burn your hand off OR you can wear the oven mitt.”
Candy: “Burn my HAND OFF?!! (Snort.) OH REALLY……………..”
Me: “Well, maybe not. But you could burn your hand badly enough that you beg me to CUT IT OFF. You could do that if you wanted. I guess.”
At this point I don’t know whose eyes were rolled further back into whose head because neither of us could see each other.
When the cheese was bubbly, she faked a panic attack. Getting no sympathy from me. I forced, YES FORCED her to take the plate out of the oven on her own with gigantic oven mitts. Seriously. She had done NOTHING up to this point to prepare her own meal, except chastize me and say that she doesn’t even like hot bubbly cheese on buns. It was her turn to do something.
With my encouragement she pulled out the oven rack. Removed the plate. Put it on the stove. Success! Good job, Candy. I was proud. We made it.
Not quite. Continuing with basic panic attack protocol (In no way am I making fun of genuine panic attacks here. I realize they are indeed real, however, but my daughter is only perfecting her dramatic interpretation of a real one). She GASPED. She PANTED. It was as though she had just spent 30 minutes in a sauna and, unzipped her sweater, flinging it on the floor, she ran away to ‘COOL OFF!’ yelling, “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH I’m SO HOT!!!!!!!!”
She returned about two minutes later to eat her buns with a scowl on her face.