I’m getting the stare down. The dirty look that screams, “Kiss my ass” that my 5-year-old has mastered. Oh he’s good. He’s real good. unfortunately for him, I’ve had more practice. and so I stare right back. Mine saying, “Go ahead and try me. I got allllll night, buddy.”
This is our new dinner ritual. Some families pray. Some families chat about their day. My family mind-fucks.
Tonight it’s over Chinese Pork Chops and Rice. My son refuses to even try them. And he comes with a full, but predictable arson.
“They look gross.”
“They ARE gross.”
“They smell bad.”
“My belly hurts.”
“I’m too tired to eat.”
He even bribes.
“I’ll make you a deal, Mom. How about I eat this later on, but right now I go play.”
And he flatters
“Wow Mom, you’re really pretty today. Can I go now?”
He cries and whines and grates on my nerves. I’m sad to say that after a while it starts working. I’m trying to get other stuff done and it’s hard to do with him constantly bugging me. We both know I’m close to the edge, but then he says, “I’m just going to keep bugging you until you let me get up!”
Oooooh, rookie mistake, my friend. Rejuvenated, I pour some extra rice on his plate and throw on my Ipod.
Ungrateful little monster-0
Another hour slips by, and I realize he’s forcing me into a tight spot. He still has to clean his room and take a bath before bed, so I’m faced with the ultimate dinner showdown question…
Should I make him sit there and finish his meal, even if it takes ALL night? Or should I put it away and make him finish it later?
I go with the latter.
As I’m wrapping his dinner up with foil, he’s smirking at me. I know he thinks he’s won. I warn him, “And you’re not getting anything else to eat tonight until this dinner is gone.”
He shrugs and trots off to his room to play with his Hot Wheels. Arrogant little fucker! Secretly though I’m proud of it. Not so secretly, I can’t wait to crush his delusion! I just bide my time.
After his room is cleaned and his bath is finished, we head to the living room for a little family ignoring time in front of the t.v. This is usually when he asks for a snack. I just wait…
He never asks and the show is almost over!
Time to set the bait. In the kitchen I play with the cookie jar lid. It’s a glass jar that makes a very specific clinking sound. That’s all it takes.
“Oooh! Ooooh! Can I have a cookie, Mom, pleeeeeeaaaaaase?”
I blast him with, “did you finish your supper?”
I hear his brain scream, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge.”
He hangs his head in defeat, “Will you heat it up for me?”
Nothing compares to the sight of your child finishing his dinner. Especially when you know he’s hating every single bite of it. I don’t feel bad about this because I know one day he’ll get to do it to his own child. He came to war and he lost, and he will be shamed, but the lesson he learned…the tradition he will carry on, is invaluable.
It’s the circle of life, people…and it ain’t pretty.