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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Mexican Fiesta with a Side of Tongue

My beautiful, sweet, little boy, the one who smothers me with hugs and kisses, the sensitive individual who cries at sad music and tells me he loves me more than all the potato chips in the Utz factory...stuck his tongue out at me.  A six-year old sticking out their tongue, well, that's just the equivalent of being given the finger, as far as I'm concerned.  It's the ultimate kindergarten salute of disrespect, and boy was I mad. 


It all went down on Mexican Fiesta night. As I am the spindoctor of supper, the diva of dinner diversion,  I created this splashy slogan as a creative marketing ploy to encourage bean eating.  The dinner usually consists of blue corn tortilla chips, corn, black beans  brown rice, and a green vegetable of choice. I keep strict surveillance on the chips, though.  After all, a few are okay... a whole bag spells disaster.  Please don't ask me how I know this. I just do. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


As I'm rushing to get Mexican Fiesta on the table, my son keeps asking me for different things, like a disgruntled customer.  Now, my husband had just read him the riot act a few days prior about treating mommy like a waitress...yes, we see how effective that was.  So, I reiterated the fact that, "Mommy is not here to serve like a waitress, and moreover, if you treated a waitress in a restaurant like the way you are treating mommy right now, well, I wouldn't be surprised if she dumped the food all over your head!"  Clearly, not my best moment, but I was tired and mad.  I turned away to get something out of the fridge when my daughter shouted out in tattle tale glee, "Mom, he just stuck his tongue out at you!"  Seriously?


A million things ran through my head at that moment as I gave my "precious" six-year old the scary eye.
  • When did my baby get to be a brat?
  • As a stay-home mom who is struggling to find herself and lives in limbo on a daily basis, the one fall back I had was that my kids thought I was awesome...and now, my delicate house of mommy cards has been compromised.
  • The brownies that I didn't need but ate anyway two hours before are sitting in my stomach like a lead balloon.
  • I'm never going to be a bikini model...this thought was precipitated by the thought before.
  • How was I going to discipline this child without a complete melt down because frankly I just wasn't up for it.
I could have chosen the path of least resistance, but I knew that this scene would rear its ugly head again if I just swept it under the carpet.  So, I told them both that I preferred not to eat with them at that moment (truthfully, this was a convenient approach since I didn't feel so well from my brownie fallout). When I returned to the kitchen 15 minutes later, I told Ari that he could read books quietly by himself at bedtime ...without me. This really hit home and the meltdown I wanted to originally avoid ensued at a code red level.  I calmly told him, that I was upset with his behavior, my feelings were hurt, etc...and I wasn't ready to spend time with him yet.


So, now the older sister gets in the mix.  Ever ready to be the savior, she swoops in and declares like a tween Wonderwoman..."Don't worry honey, I'll read  to you!"
 "NAH-UH!!!!!" I said.  "You were the one who ratted him out in the first place!"
 "Well he can't get away with stuff like that!" She countered.
 "Okay, so reading to him after I've given him a consequence is helping him NOT to get away with stuff like that, how?" 

 Silence....I can see her wheels turning.


"Well, I feel bad for him.  He has so many issues with food, and allergies and eczema, I just don't want him to be this upset."


Here is the crux of my sordid tale, the kernel of truth. We know that children who suffer from food allergies, physical or emotional ailments, learning disabilites, etc... tend to struggle more than the norm and it breaks our hearts on a regular basis.  More often than not, we tend to feel sorry for them and ultimately let them get away with more.  However, it only comes back to bite us in the end. Sure, I echoed my daughter's sentiments, but I needed to hold my ground, stick to my principles and deal with the aftermath.   When I tucked him in,  I reiterated why I was mad, told him I loved him and snuggled in his bed for a few minutes.  I was totally exhausted at that point and by the end of it, I really wanted more brownies, but I held firm with a grapefruit instead. 

Ol-e.

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