Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Poultry Pudding

I met some friends for lunch today at the mall and went through my usual mall routine: 

  • Pick up Chic-Fil-A for the kids

  • Push the stroller through a sea of tables and people to find a table big enough to hold a half dozen kids and four adults

  • Get out the kids’ food, drinks and condiments (there are always condiments)

  • Make the obligatory finally-ready-to-eat bathroom trip

  • Wait my turn to get my food (the Mamas take turns)

  • Eat

  • Nag my son to eat his food

  • Eat

  • Bribe my son so that he eats his food

  • Eat

  • Break up a fight between my son and Katherine

  • Eat

  • Break up a fight between my son and Camden

  • Threaten my son within an inch of his life in order to get him to eat

  • Wipe ketchup off my daughter’s new shirt

  • Eat

This is the normal sequence of events at the mall. I know the mall may not seem like the best
place for kids but it has a free indoor playground that the kids and I frequent
when the weather is questionable. Today
things took a turn for the worse when my son refused to swallow his chicken

This has happened before but it was a long time ago and I
had forgotten how utterly absurd and frustrating it is. I told him that he could not have an
ice-cream cone until he ate his last chicken nugget and he obediently put the
whole nugget into his mouth where it stayed for at least 15 minutes (this is
NOT an exaggeration). By the time the
other kids were finishing up their ice cream, my son had a mouthful of chicken
paste and a melting dish of ice cream in front of him.

He chewed that chicken until it was poultry pudding but he
would not swallow it. My response was
the same as any reasonable parent’s would be: anger. My pulse was racing. I felt
sick to my stomach every time he spoke and bits of chicken pudding would
shoot out of his mouth and land on the table or my lap. My friends were dry heaving just watching
him and I had to fight the urge to grab him by his ears and yell, “Just swallow the damn
chicken!” This was obviously not an
option so I waited, reminding him intermittently about his melting ice cream. It got down to the wire and he asked me for
a drink. After a couple sips the drama was over. The chicken paste was gone. I gave my son his ice cream and my blood pressure started to
normalize. I took my napkin and wiped
the fallout chicken bits from my son’s whining off of my lap and went on with my
day, privately wondering if there were any other 4-year-old nut cases out there
who held meat in their mouths for extended period of time for no particular


  1. As we were ordering the ice cream, I noticed the giant chipmunk-like bulge in his cheek which you informed me was an ENTIRE chicken nugget. I never dreamed that 15 (NOT an exaggeration) minutes later it would still be there. I must say I was quite bewildered...but I only began to dry heave when I imagined having that goopy nugget in my own mouth. And even though the site of the chicken paste in his mouth was pretty repulsive, I simply HAD to look. What's up with that?

  2. Trying doing the opposite and saying I bet you can't leave it there all day. That way it won't seem as appealing to do it. He is only doing it to get some sort of reaction from you. He knows it drives you crazy so if you act like it does not bother you and say things like that is amazing you can hold a chicken nugget in your mouth for that long! I wish I could do that! He will then realize it is not the reaction he was going for and he will start laughing. It might turn into a game for a few min. but then as a reward so to speak keep encouraging and say when you swallow that you get this ice cream, but not don't say it as a demand. Make the ice cream the reward for keeping the nugget in for so long. I have found if you do the opposite behavior of what they expect things go more your way. Good luck and I would have been dry heaving as well!

  3. Jacquelyn-
    I'm dry heaving just reading your comment. Yuck.

  4. Melinda-
    This advice is so you! You always take an approach I've never thought of. Maybe I'll try that next time but I'm just crossing my fingers that there won't be a next time!