Monday, February 25, 2013

Green Eggs and Ham (Mealtime with Toddlers)

Like I mentioned yesterday, we're in a heavy "read to me" phase right now. Madison is fascinated with reading. She wants her phonics DVD and her sight word DVD. She brings me books all day long asking "you read this to me?"

The DVDs are Preschool Prep if anyone is wondering, and I definitely recommend them. No, I get no kickback from them. I personally want to tear my hair out watching them. But they are undoubtedly effective and very appealing to Madison. And hey, if she's going to watch TV, I like that she requests educational stuff.

We've been reading a lot of Dr. Seuss. The rhythm and rhyme is the hook. Not surprising that Madison is a big fan.

By the way, Dr. Seuss is NOT good for the "what's that" phase, which we are also in. 

"What's that mommy?"

"Ummm....a knox".

"What's a knox?"


Anyway, this book is the clear favorite.  We read it a minimum of three times a day. Madison likes that she can recognize some words, and remembers the story well enough to "read" it with me.

Since I'm reading it more often, I can almost do it on autopilot, which allows my mind to wander.

This book IS mealtime with toddlers.

Think about it. They are sitting there, happy, and someone comes up with a meal.  Yes, they might be hungry. But on their own terms.

Then, whatever the meal is, they don't like it.  Whether they've eaten it a million times, or never tried it, they know they don't like it.  So the answer is NO.

Ok, Madison! Time for lunch! We're having grilled cheese!

No, I don't want to have lunch.

Well Sam has read the Love and Logic books, and he knows what to do. You can have them HERE or THERE.  Give choices.  Empower the contrarian.  You are happy with whatever they decide, because you still win.

Do you want your grilled cheese in triangles or rectangles? Do you want it with grapes or strawberries? Do you want milk or water?

And the guy (is that Mr. Knox?) behaves just like a toddler (or at least my toddler). I choose neither.  I don't like them.

No, I don't want to have triangles and I don't want to have rectangles and I don't want grapes and I don't want strawberries.

So Sam continues in this fashion, getting increasingly desperate. A house? A train? With a mouse? In the rain?

Madison, do you want to have a PICNIC lunch? Do you want to eat lunch with Reagan and Mommy?

And the arguing continues until both parties are exhausted, when Sam finally says,

"You do not like them. So you say. Try them, try them, and you may. Try them and you may, I say".

Madison, you are sitting at the table. Here we go. I believe you. Grilled cheese is awful. But take ONE LITTLE bite, so you have something in your stomach for nap time.

And like magic, Mr. Knox (I'm going to say that's him) loves the offering. He is thrilled to eat this dinner everywhere!

What a great idea!  Thank you!

Wow! Grilled cheese! It's delicious! Thank you Mommy!

What do you want to bet that Sam repeats this scenario at least once a day?

Because we do.

Disclaimer: Madison is actually a pretty good and adventurous eater, as is Reagan.  I'm knocking on wood as I say this, but I'm not really looking for meal ideas or advice.  It's not so much the food as it is the act of stopping the play activity to sit and eat lunch. And lunch is right before nap, so it is PRIME TIME for arguing and emotional tears.

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