Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Cold Spaghetti

As the holiday season quickly approaches, I find myself
perusing the endless supply of toy catalogs that appear in my mailbox each
week. I search for things that might
appeal to my children feeling, despite my cynicism, a little giddy about
Christmas morning. Christmas has taken
on a whole new meaning since my son became old enough to understand it. There is a great deal of anticipation and
excitement that adds so much to the allure of the holiday season. I cannot wait to see his face on Christmas
morning and all I want to do is make his every wish come true. And then I have a night like tonight that
gives me a skull-shaking bitch slap back to reality.

SpaghettiLong story short, I made spaghetti for
dinner. We sat down and my son looked at his food disapprovingly and
said, “I want something else” in a very demanding voice. I had already prepared myself for this
inevitable scenario and decided that I was up for battle tonight. My son would eat his spaghetti. After all, he always ended up eating it
after being coaxed into the first bite by his Father or myself. He would put the spaghetti in his mouth with
a look of horror that almost immediately changed to surprised pleasure when he
dug his teeth into the pasta. He likes
spaghetti. He just refuses to eat it.

I told him calmly that we would happily provide him with
other food items but that he must eat his spaghetti first. We have coddled him entirely too much where
food is concerned and we usually end up preparing him an entirely different
meal from the one that I cook for the rest of the family. It is absolutely absurd but I created this
monster. I have to deal with the
consequences. My son sat at the table
staring at his food without making any effort to eat while the rest of us ate
and discussed our day.  He asked for a piece of garlic bread (a favorite of his). I told him that I would save a piece for him
but that he must first eat his spaghetti. Now, before you pass judgment, understand that the bowl that my son’s
spaghetti was in was the size of a small ramekin. The spaghetti that I insisted that he eat was the equivalent of
three average-sized adult bites. I was
not asking for much. He was stoic and
resolute and absolutely refused to eat.

I decided to ignore his behavior and put the piece of garlic
bread in a Ziploc baggie. I told him
that I would save it for when he was ready to eat his spaghetti. He decided to take a different approach and
told me that he was not capable of getting bites on his fork and needed
help. This stems from the fact that, on
spaghetti nights, his father tends to use all means necessary to get my son to
eat, including actually spooning the food into his mouth. I disapprove of this wholeheartedly and it
came back to bite us tonight. My son
insisted that he could not be expected to eat the spaghetti when he could not
get any on his fork. I told him that he
was a big boy and that we would not be feeding him. I reminded him that he could eat applesauce with utensils and
that spaghetti was a breeze in comparison. He continued to insist that someone help him get the spaghetti from the
bowl to his mouth. We continued to
refuse. It did not go well.

My son spent a great deal of time in his room tonight. He threw fit after fit, room wrecking,
screaming, jumping, and throwing things. He desperately wanted that garlic bread and I desperately wanted him to
have it but, after nearly two hours, he was not giving in. His bedtime rolled around and I poured him a
glass of whole milk and got him ready for bed. In the end, I lost the battle. My son did not eat his spaghetti.  He lost
his battle too, though. That garlic bread is
sitting in a Ziploc bag on top of the refrigerator calling my name. I’m stressed out and frazzled and dreaming
about how good it will taste with a glass of red wine. Yum.


  1. This too shall pass. . .stand your ground - but I think you already know it won't be easy. When he gets hungry and realizes you aren't going to give in, he'll eat. Try to pay as little attention to him as possible during meals when he refuses to eat, which will take away some of the fuel for the fire he wants to burn.
    It will be worth it in the end when you can all enjoy the same meal in peace, or when you can go to a restaurant and actually find something on the menu he'll eat. . . and he'll be healthier for it too.
    Now. . .any advice as to how I can get Maggie to get her face wet in the pool or the tub without screaming like she's on fire?

  2. may I recommend the Tall Horse Red Zinfindel, it's quite spicy & would go great with garlic bread
    and to Aunt Becky have you tried using goggles so she can see under the water? i used to put toys in the tub and make my little one search for them, now at 5 he can swim like a fish

  3. Aunt Becky-
    I know it will pass but I don't know that it will before Thanksgiving so you may be in for a treat :)
    As far as the water in the face thing, I can't help you. We have the very same problem with my son. Jodie made a good suggestion, though. Have you tried goggles?

  4. Jodie-
    I'll have to try Tall Horse. It sounds yummy.
    Great suggestion on the goggles. I may have to try that too because fear of water can be added to my son's laundry list of issues.

  5. Here are a few suggestions I have for you seeing as how you just pretty much wrote a story about some evenings at out house. 1. cook it with different noodles and call it something else ( we like shockaroni 2. call the noodles snakes or worms and see if the will eat them that way 3. add cheese or parmassen (sp)4. beat him ;)
    Paul has done the spooning into our perfectly capable 4 yr olds mouth also. If they are hungry enough they will eat. Garrett went to bed the other night with no food because he kept lalegagging and did not finish it. He of couse had a royal meltdown and dad wanted to give in, but I held firm. I had given him a million chances and I had warned him of what would happen if he did not choose to eat now. He made that decision and he had to live with it. The next night he did not do it! Anyway good luck and trust me you are not alone.

  6. Melinda has some good ideas, especially #4, I can't wait for Thanksgiving!! (I currently have 2 houses, and you don't have the address of one of them) Believe it or not, you ARE smarter, bigger AND tougher than they are, stick together and learn to sleep with one eye open and you can take 'em, I know you can!! Picking your battles is a good move, but gosh it sure gets hard figuing out which battle to mobilize for and when to retreat. anyway.... bring him on, we're ready and if it gets to tough for us..... just lock the door when you leave

  7. Patrick had nothing...NOTHING...for dinner tonight and then had a major meltdown begging for some candy. He was hanging from the refrigerator door wailing for probably 30 minutes (the candy-filled pumpkins are on top of the fridge). We just continued to eat and ignored him. I have this rule I try to follow that I only say "no" once and then just ignore repeat requests. Of course, I can only take it so long and then Patrick ends up in his room in time-out. But he is one stubborn little guy and comes right out of time-out to start the whole ordeal again. Time-out is NOT effective for him I am finding out. Not sure what the answer for him is going to be, but I'm totally up for the fight. Right now I'm leaning toward Melinda's #4. Anyway, I have no answers to this problem...I can only tell you that I feel your pain.

  8. Melinda-
    Great ideas. # 4 cracked me up. That's how I feel most nights :)

  9. Papa Dale-
    Here's my idea: since you don't have a panic room, we can use the garage as the time-out place while we stay at your house. A nice, cold midwestern November night should teach him a good lesson, don't you think?

  10. Jacquelyn-
    It is nice to hear that you can relate. Why is food such an issue in our houses? If we could just sit and eat like normal people, our lives would be so much less stressful.
    Here's a solution for Patch: throw away the Halloween candy. If it isn't there, he can't cry about it.

  11. Wow - I am so glad to hear that other parents are actually experiencing the same ridiculous scenarios that we witness daily at our house. Every meal is a battle with Ella as well. Spaghetti happens to be one of the only things she'll eat fairly easily, so guess what we have for dinner almost every other night...But it has to be a certain kind of noodle and sauce, plus completely covered in parmesan cheese. Our latest challenge is getting dressed every morning. Ella will only wear dresses, it can't even be a skirt. Oh, and did I mention that the dress has to "spin"? She receives beautiful clothes as gifts from family and friends every month which go untouched in the closet. What kind of wine was recommended earlier?? Oh, I forgot about the pregnancy thing...Ahhhhhhhhhh!

  12. Yes, I know this routine all too well. I talked w/ my dad about it. He feels that Trey should be of the age to understand more, he recommended trying this- telling him that this is it, once you leave the kitchen table, no more food till the next meal. I really don't like this, but I like you have been at my wits end and don't like him to go hungrey. So, we have tried and it works most times.
    Just last night I tried "pasta with sauce" (I usually use the Hodgsons veggie spirals) out again. For a while he went gaga over it- one of his favs, then he wouldn't touch it for more than 6+ months. So, a while back I bought some cool spirals (the veggie kind too) and some of Newman's own sauce, shredded some ched. cheese too. I mentioned I wanted some and was going to cook some for Ben and I. I also, usually have some parm. for him to sprinkle himself, but had the shredded cheddar which he put some on himself and loved. ANYWAY- he ate it and ate the leftovers for lunch today.
    Oh, another thing I have been doing is sprinkling ground flax in my pancakes, anything that it will mix well with. Tonight will be interestin thought, not sure what to fix yet.