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Food Wars Episode IV – The Parents Fight Back

13 November 2005

I’ll skip the apologies for not posting — I’ve been trying to participate in NaNoWriMo, but my word count is way low and I’m not certain I’ll finish in time, however I’m going to keep trying and pushing through, because hey, I like this book I’m writing, and someday I’ll actually finish it. Didn’t I say I was gonna skip the apology? Anyhow…
So, Eli was away for the weekend visiting his cousin Jonah (and his cousin Zinnie, and Aunt Keri and Uncle Dave, but really, it’s all about the Jonah), and today we picked him up after spending the day with all said participants in Old-town Sacramento. It was kitchy, and fun, went to the train museum, etc. All-in-all, a decent day. Then, we drive home in crazy sunday-after-a-three-day-weekend traffic, and finally get home around 6:30 or so. We make dinner, and Julie and I both agree, I don’t want to fight, let’s just give the kid Mac & Cheese, but let’s get him to try our food first. So, we sit Eli down and he tries A BITE of our dinner, after much protesting and so he earned his prize of his favorite meal, macaroni and cheese… except, now he picks at it, moves it around, complains that it’s the wrong kind, and then finally takes a bite only to spit it right back out into his bowl. This gets my blood boiling, and I ask him what is the matter. He says his m & c has ‘specks’ in it. Now, those of you who have been following the episodes of FOOD WARS may recognize this term from previous battles, where Eli has imagined miniscule particles of nous that cannot be seen or detected save by his superior eyes and tongue. He told me that he wanted a different kind of m & c, to which I flatly refused. I also told him that if he did not eat his m & c, I would not be making him any m & c into the foreseeable future. He, of course, refused, and so I had to send him, in tears, to bed without supper and with the knowledge that he’d lost his m & c privileges (from me, at least — I left a loophole for Julie or others to give him m & c). I talked with him about the whole thing, how I loved him, but I was disappointed and upset by his behavior, etc. etc. He felt bad, I felt bad, and off to bed he went.
It still digs at me to know I sent my boy off to bed without food, but if he were truly hungry, he would have eaten. We provide plenty of opportunities for the boy to eat, and there’s no reason to feel any guilt, and yet — he’s my little boy, and I really hate to not give him what he wants. But, as a parent, I have an obligation to get him to eat more than starch, and beyond that, I need to balance this war of wills, because that’s what it’s become.
It’s a hard line, but I’ve decided that from here on in, Eli’s old enough to eat what the family eats for dinner, period. It’s gonna be hard, he’s gonna have tantrums for days, but eventually… finally… he’ll get over it, and he’ll start to just eat what’s for dinner. He needs to incorporate vegetables into his meal, and non-processed meats. Furthermore, he needs to understand that we are having meals as a family, and that we’re not catering to his special needs and desires. I’ll do my best to make meals that are agreeable to him, and to provide less-seasoned portions of anything that might be too spicy or exotic for him, but I’m done with the separate menu, and with giving him 5 or 6 choices. It’s just like getting Isaac to sleep through the night, the boundaries have to be set, and we have to send a clear and consistent message.
I’m not looking forward to the coming week. Ugh.

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