Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mean Mommy

I am a mean Mommy.

I am a fed up Mommy.  Yesterday, I got completely fed up with K telling me that she didn't like whatever I was making for dinner, immediately after hearing what I am making for dinner.  It doesn't matter what it is, she says she doesn't like it. "What are we having for dinner?" "Blah blah." "I don't like/I hate blah blah."  Without fail.  Every day.  Even things that she actually loves, and things she has never tried.  I could say that we are having ice cream for dinner and she would probably automatically respond that she doesn't like it.

Yesterday I broke.  I told her that the next time she said something negative about dinner when I tell her what is for dinner, she wouldn't get to eat.  Anything. So, tonight, when K asked me what was for dinner, I said, "We're going to have hot tuna sandwiches but I think we're going to have them cold today because it is so hot outside."  She immediately replied (almost before I finished talking), "I don't like hot OR cold tuna sandwiches." So, she bought herself no dinner for the evening.  She had a glass of milk while we ate dinner and then continued on with her bedtime routine.  It was a little bit of a problem right at dinner when she was hungry and then realized she wasn't going to get to eat anything.  Then, she seemed to accept it.  Now, she is in bed, but had a rough time about 20 minutes ago because she couldn't go to sleep because she is hungry.

So, was it a dramatic response?  Yes.  Jim and I struggle so much with discipline and guiding K to becoming a pleasant and productive member of society.  My big question with any disciplinary action I am taking as a parent is, does the consequence match the infraction?  In this case, I think yes.  The infraction is rudeness.  We have talked to her about being rude with her comments about what I have made for dinner.  K is a very verbal child in many ways and, in some ways, suffers from diarrhea of the mouth as a result.  She talks, just for the sake of talking.  If a commentator on TV says, "Julia Smith is there in the pink suit in lane 4." Katie repeats, "That's Julia Smith in lane 4.  She's wearing a pink suit.  Did you know she's wearing a pink suit Mom? Smith. Shmith. Shmit.  Her name is Julie Shmit.  Shmit is in lane 4.  I'm rooting for her."  I kid you not, this could easily be a word for word transcription of a miniscule part of a conversation with my daughter.

As a result of her highly verbal nature, she struggles with self control, which leads to rudeness and back to my point.  Although we have talked about how it is rude to say negative things about the food, that hasn't mad much impact.  She can't seem to keep the comments from spilling out anyway.  We are hoping, with this new consequence, that it will be memorable enough to tame her tongue somewhat.  I would hate for her to go to someone else's house, be told what's for dinner and respond with her automatic, "I hate that."  Now, you must understand that Katie doesn't get an alternate meal when she doesn't like dinner.  She eats what we have, I am not a short order cook.  I usually try to have a side dish that she likes (carrots or grapes or something like that) that she can fill up on as long as she eats a little of what ever we are having.  I will also allow her to eat a yogurt, if she has already had some of what we ate.  Mostly, this works well and she eats fairly balanced meals and tries many different foods.  And even likes them.

It's the rudeness.  I hope that this new consequence will impress itself upon her enough to change her attitude.  I can't stand rudeness, it is a pet peeve of mine, especially after teaching middle and high school.  My child will not be THAT CHILD that other parents are slightly appalled at when she comes over to play.

Side note: She had lunch AND a snack at 4:30 AND a glass of milk instead of dinner so she wasn't going to starve.  In case the internet police come after me...

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