Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Ziti Incident

Bryce has certainly been asserting his desire for control lately which I know is a normal two year old behavior. But why does it have to be so messy?

We had baked ziti last night for dinner - something he usually eats without question. When we put it down in front of him, the first thing he asked was for no sauce. Now, when we have spaghetti, we always give them the option of no sauce, which he has recently adopted since Caroline has always chosen naked pasta. So I told him, no, that all pasta has sauce on it tonight and he needed to taste it before he passed judgement. He insisted he didn't like it and pushed it away.

So we all sit down and eat - Caroline is eating away and commenting that it's tasty while Bryce sits and drinks his milk and refuses to eat the ziti. Jay and I are engaging the kids in conversation, as usual, and Bryce keeps insisting he doesn't like the ziti even though he has not tasted it. So the 3 of us finish our food and Bryce still hasn't taken a single bite and I remind him that if he doesn't at least taste the food, he isn't eligible for any other food in the evening. I also tell him that tasting it is a requirement if he wants to get down before bathtime and Jay straps him into his booster to be sure he can't get out. Of course that makes him royally angry and I go ahead and put the tray of the booster seat on to prevent his attempts at twisting around. (I was very thankful later on, that I had done this!)

I go about cleaning up dinner while Jason and Caroline play together in the playroom. Bryce continues to cry and is starting to cough and get REALLY worked up about not wanting to eat and wanting to get down. And then, all of a sudden, SPLAT!!!!! He throws up! Ugh. Now this is where I am glad about the tray since it contained a large part of his expulsion. My first thought is wondering if he's still sick, but then I realize the only thing he threw up was the milk he'd been drinking and if he'd been sick, all that he'd eaten in the afternoon would have come up too. Also, on several occassions prior to this, when he's been this upset, I've thought he might throw up. So really, it shouldn't be that surprising that he got upset enough to actually barf this time. And I know people with kids who do this on a regular basis.....

So Jason takes him upstairs for a bath with the understanding that it is bedtime afterward. At 7pm, Caroline and I go up and Bryce is getting into bed and I read him a book while Caroline gets bathed. At this point, Bryce has reverted back to his Dr. Jekyll mode and is as sweet as can be. He asks why he's going to bed already and I tell him it's because he didn't eat his dinner and because he threw a huge fit. He says he's hungry and I tell him that the only thing he's allowed to eat is the ziti. So he consents, goes downstairs, and proceeds to eat 1 1/2 helpings of the stuff without ANY prompting. Not only does he eat it well, he eats it completely with his fork and without making a mess at all. He goes upstairs, brushes his teeth for the 2nd time and he's his usual self. Because he ended up eating what he was supposed to, I felt like we had "won" but why did it take so much to get him to eat it? Just proof that when a 2 1/2 year old makes up his mind to eat or not eat something, it's going to be quite a battle to get him to understand that mommy and daddy are the bosses. I'm just glad he didn't have to go to bed on a completely empty tummy - even though I feel it's important for them to realize they can't eat whatever they want, I do feel bad if they choose not to eat.

Onto the next battle, I suppose.


Anonymous said...

It sounds as if, when calm, Bryce was able to process the event at the table along with your limit setting. He knew he was still hungry and he only had one option and so he needed to do. I think you guys did a good job. Bravo!
Maybe if there's a next time:-) he'll think a little bit or you'll have to go through the same routine. But he'll get it.

BJ said...

We have had a similar experience. It is so hard because I felt bad considering putting her to bed without food, but we felt we needed to put our foot down. In the end our event ended much as yours. She calmed down and was willing to eat her dinner.