Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Great Potato Debate of 2010

The battle wages on ... This morning we made a fresh baked potato for Teenybop in spite of her assurance that she wasn't hungry and wasn't going to get hungry until lunch. We instructed her to wait at the table while the family had breakfast ... cereal for Piglet and I, and left-over twice-baked potatoes for Private Ryan (they are his favorite, he would eat them for every meal I think), and Teenybop had her potato mashed and fixed and placed in front of her. The look of shock on her face  was almost funny ... if it weren't so sad that it had really come to this. But at this point, neither of us has any choice but to stand our ground; if she gives in, she loses her fight for independence, and if I give in I risk losing the authority I will desperately need while I am parenting alone this summer without Private Ryan here to be my team-mate because Teenybop is a snowball child. If she get away with this one battle (even though she eats them anywhere else) I will never regain my ground with her and feeding her this summer will be a constant battle.

She ate about half the potato over the course of the morning with much whining and complaining ... but she ate half of it. She will have one more chance to finish it before Piglet birthday party, or she will not be allowed to eat cake and may not be allowed to participate at all. This is heartbreaking for me to have to come down so hard on her as and I sit here typing I am not in the mood to party. I am sad that this family day has gone this far downhill, and I am sad that such a little thing pulled from the dirt can become such a big deal in so short a time.

The good news? She is learning about hunger. We talked a big about poor children and families, people who eat dirt and bugs, anything to get something in their hungry bellies. She has an understanding now of what it is really like to feel hunger, though it is still a very mild understanding. The potato is almost gone so I am betting she will really really enjoy her cake and her dinner later ...

I will also wait a while before I serve potatoes again in a setting where she will be expected to eat them (dinner time, mostly. I can finish what I have for lunches while she is in school) to give time for the memory of The Great Potato Debate to fade ... but potatoes are a staple in our home and that isn't likely to change.

I can only hope that we find a way around this because I do love my daughter with all my heart and more than my own life ... enough to exert myself in the little things in order to achieve obedience where it really counts. Because the point of this for her is the potato. For me it is a whole other thing ... if she will make a stand on so little a thing, what next? I need her obedience because when we are in a parking lot and she blatantly refuses to look for cars (which is common with her), it matters. When I ask her to move or do something for whatever reason, it could be a little reason or a big one. Either way and especially if it is a big thing or a matter of safety, she needs to be listening because it matters.

Perhaps losing this battle will give us some more time before the next one comes along, but I swear my six year old becomes more and more teenaged each day. She is very precocious, very mature ... very determined. But she is still only six years old, and I am still her mother.

For those of you reading, what would you do? What did your parents do? And in the grand scheme, did it really matter?