If Robbie’s life was a reality show (which, E!, I’m a self-proclaimed riot so if you’ve got a slot available, I’ve got headshots), this would be the follow-up episode where we’d pan over to all of us playing Candyland at the table laughing and snorting milk from our noses because we are the happiest family on the planet.
The out-takes would look more something like this:
About every 13 days Robbie decides that eating is too hard. Which, seriously, when you factor in that he only started a few months ago, and now we’ve upped the ante by having him hold his own spoon, he’s not wrong. It IS hard. You never see paintings of nobility eating their own grapes with a spoon, do you? And in this case, Robbie is King and we are the indentured servants spoon-feeding him feasts of french toast and pot pie. If you aren’t a ravenous, warm-blooded American devouring your food while audibly groaning your approval, you’re the other 1% for whom eating is just a task. Like putting underwear on, which Robbie finds equally mundane.
We’ve had a few stretches of refusal but overall, things have gone remarkably well the past few weeks. He is now willing to eat a few things consistently on his own (pudding, banana oatmeal, chicken pot pie) and takes a few bites of everything else. He also voluntarily asked for banana oatmeal the other day outside of his scheduled meal. Asking for food outside of meals is not that unusual, actually eating said food is. He typically asks for things like sandwiches with cheese sticks and chocolate frosting, burritos with “a little corn sprinkled on there” and potatoes, and a medley of other combinations that he’s convinced would be delicious. But on this particular occasion, he took his bowl of oatmeal to the couch, sat down with his cousins and began to eat. I would even venture to say that on top of the social approval and normalcy of the activity, he actually enjoyed the eating part.
He is also testing his threenager negotiation skills during meals. During one instance he decided he was going to make up his own rules. “So mom, here’s the rules. You’re going to fill this water bottle with ice-cold water. Then I’m going to pour myself a drink from the water bottle into my cup. Got it?” “Robbie, I’m not doing that. Just drink your water the way you usually do.” “Mom, mom, mom. I understand you’re frustrated. I’m just telling you the rules.”
He also occasionally pulls a trick from the Super Why handbook (a PBS kids show where storybook characters rely on a group of scholastic super heros to help change their story by rewriting a few words). “Mom, I just can’t drink my milk. You don’t undersand. It’s part of my story. I can’t change it.” On a good day he will go on to repeat the show’s mantra, “With the power to read, I can change this story!” On a bad day, his scholastic skills are lacking and instead we are forced into a battle of wills. Sometimes he goes radio silent, while other times he lets loose little one-line zingers that I think must mean something especially poignant in his head.
“Mom, you just got to let kids be kids.” –adapted from the Chuck-E-Cheese commerical
“UGH, fine. Let’s just always do it mom’s way.” –adapted from life
And my personal favorite, “Mom, lets not argue. I really wish we could just have a good day.” –who knows where this came from. I don’t know anyone personally who has repeated this every single day since their kid could talk back…when was that like, 6 months?
So anyway, things are trucking along. We haven’t made as much progress with his chewing but we’ll get there. I’m really happy with where we’ve come and look forward to a life of negotiation and bribery. Of course I’m speaking with regard to the people whom Robbie will have sold Andy to. But that’s our life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Sike. Not the part about it being our life, though. That’s real talk.