Today, Bethel decided she really wanted fishy crackers before eating her sandwich. Now, in our house, our rule is that we eat the healthy stuff first, and then we eat the “junk food” (chips, crackers, and even fruit fit this category. I include fruit because they’ll fill up on fruit if I feed them fruit first. I do sometimes serve fruit with the meal, but only if I know they’ve been getting ample amounts of other vegetables, grains, and proteins.)
Anyway, with the younger kids (Bethel now, and David when he was younger), we don’t make them eat the whole sandwich or serving before giving the junk food. This is too overwhelming for this age. So, it’s a give and take pattern. Eat some sandwich, Daddy will give you two fish crackers, eat more sandwich, Daddy will give you two more fish crackers, and so on.
Today, Bethel wouldn’t take even a bite of sandwich. She normally eats voraciously (more than her older brother at this time), so we knew she wasn’t simply not hungry. Some would make this an obedience issue– tell her to eat a bite, and if she doesn’t it’s disobedience so you spank. We simply tell her if she wants fishy crackers, she has to eat a bite of sandwich. I still have to win the battle, but I don’t have to spank to win it. She quickly gets the connection between the lack of crackers and the one piece of sandwich sitting in front of her. And her desire for control and her own way is more powerful than her hunger, for awhile. How many spankings would I have to give her before she “gives in”? How long would this take? I’m fighting the same battle some would with spanking. Eventually, she’s irrational, so Lee removes her from her highchair and goes on with life, playing with her and occasionally offering the bite of sandwich. She refuses for about an hour before finally eating the bite, receiving a few crackers, and then eating the rest of the sandwich and crackers. The battle was won.
p.s. I don’t think she’s feeling well. She’s woken up twice unhappy (not typical for her), and been quite clingy. We gave her some Motrin (in case she’s cutting a molar or two) and gave her some extra fluids, and will give her extra peaches at dinner (in case she’s constipated– she had a hard stool today). We’ll see how she is in the morning. 🙂