“I hope tomorrow is going to be better than today!”
Cameron was lying on his bed, covered in his blue and white blanket, sobbing. He’d started off quietly, but when he knew I was there and listening – and Granna was on the phone and could hear – he turned up the volume.
The day had started off difficult, and continued that way. We’d had conflicts over breakfast (he wanted to make it, it was too hot, I poured the milk wrong, he wanted to pick his own spoon), and getting dressed (took 20 min, then he had to go poo, which meant every piece of clothing came off again), and getting shoes on. He had troubles sharing his toys and playing nicely with Grace.
And worst of all, I insisted that he eat the spinach he’d requested for dinner. There were five whole bites of the raw stuff. Just two days ago he and Kate were fighting over who would get to eat the most spinach salad. He pouted. He whined. He cried. He refused. He tried bargaining (Okay, I’ll eat one leaf, but just one! Not all the rest, JUST ONE.) He wanted his dessert right now, didn’t want to eat the spinach. More whining. He was too tired. He’d had a rotten day. I heard myself saying, “Fine. Don’t eat it. But you’re not getting dessert or anything else until you do. I’ll pop it in the fridge and you can eat it when you’re hungry.” I told him he could have it for breakfast. Yep, I went there.
Yeah. Parents draw some pretty stupid battle lines, don’t we?
I kept hearing, “I’m too tired, I’m too tired,” but I know from experience that this is code for, “I don’t want to do whatever it is you’re asking me to do.” I’ve had enough of that. Great, he’s too tired? “Bedtime, then. You can eat your spinach in the morning.”
So when I got off the phone, I headed back to Cameron’s room, to respond to his wishes. “Honey, I hope so too. But I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think it’ll be a great start to the day to have spinach for breakfast. I know you like oatmeal. Spinach and oatmeal don’t go well together, I don’t think, do you?” You guessed it, fresh tears. “So why don’t you just come to the kitchen and eat. Your. Spinach. Five bites. Maybe just four. And it’ll be done and you can go to sleep knowing that tomorrow at least won’t start with a spinach breakfast.”
It worked. And it was just four (large) bites.
My lessons learned:
- Serve salad or veggies first. If he gets pasta and meat they’ll be gobbled up first and he’ll run out of steam.
- Try to have dinner earlier. Hunger and meltdowns go hand in hand.
- He needs more sleep. So do I. Because while I think I managed to handle the evening well, I did NOT handle the morning well at all.
We snuggled in bed once he’d brushed his teeth and I’d read a chapter, and a sad little boy said, “I’m sorry Mama, for all of that.” I said I was sorry too, and hugged him tightly. He asked for a back massage – something he’s just discovered that he likes. He was asleep roughly an hour earlier than normal.
I sure hope tomorrow is a better day, too.