I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat…
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!
-Dr. Seuss (paraphrased)
It’s all so fun and rhymey in Dr. Seuss’ version. But yesterday we lived our own version at the dinner table. It wasn’t ham though, nor eggs, nor was it green, it was roast pork. It was new to our table, at least new in recent history.
“I don’t like that,” were the first words my son uttered on arriving at the dinner table.
“You haven’t tried it before, how do you know you don’t like it?” I questioned while unsubtly exchanging eye rolls with Dad. My son is nothing if not completely predictable when it comes to trying new foods. If I had a penny for every time he said it, I’d have all the pennies. ALL of them.
“It’s yucky. I don’t like it,” was my son’s emphatic response.
And with those words, the straw, the final straw, slowly drifted down onto the camel’s back. CRACK!
“YOU WILL NOT LEAVE THE TABLE UNTIL YOU HAVE TAKEN AT LEAST ONE BITE OF THAT PORK! IF YOU DO NOT EAT THE PORK YOU WILL SIT HERE UNTIL IT’S TIME TO GO TO BED. YOU WILL NOT PLAY, YOU WILL NOT WATCH TV, YOU WILL NOT HAVE FUN. YOU WILL SIT HERE ALL EVENING AND THEN YOU WILL GO TO BED.”
It is important to set clear expectations and behaviour guidelines for your children. It is also important to be clear and consistent in setting and carrying out the consequences.
The rest of us enjoyed our meal while the boy sulked and squirmed. Then dad took little sister downstairs to play while I cleaned up the kitchen and made lunches for daycare. The boy continued to sulk and squirm.
I poured a drink, grabbed a book and sat down at the table. The boy continued to sulk and squirm and then also began to whine. I got up to get the whining medication and a spoon and set them on the table. The whining stopped but the sulking and squirming continued.
I got up again, time for a refill. The boy began screaming at the top of his lungs, over and over again, “It’s not fair! It’s not fair! It’s not fair!”
Because teaching my child to try new foods is clearly the height of unfairness in the world.
I stayed in the kitchen because the noise at the table was a bit much. When it stopped, I returned to find my son naked, still strapped in his booster seat at the table. Completely bare-assed naked.
I started laughing. I think my drink had started to work. Also, it’s hard not to laugh at a naked angry child strapped in a booster seat.
Son, I will let you be,
If you try it, pretty please.
You may like it, you will see.
Try it and you may, I say.
Try it and then you can play.
“Just one bite?”
“Yes. Just one.”
He screwed up his face, closed his eyes, opened his mouth and I popped in the fork full of pork as quick as a wink.
“If you spit it out, you will have to eat your spit-up plus another bite!”
Mommy mommy, did you see,
I think I like it, yay for me!
You can put it in my lunch,
And I will have some more to munch.
My naked little boy finished his food and went downstairs to play. I was left at the table, drink in hand, wondering, if I had won then why was I still feeling so infuriated!