Saturday, December 21, 2013

Battle of the Parsnips

I wish I had more funny or interesting or thought provoking things to say about being a mom recently, but good stories need some tension, and neither being a parent nor my child have been difficult to handle in the past several months. The thing that does become harder is the rest of your life; you have more responsibilities and less time than before being a parent, and learning how to work as a team with your spouse and in all other realms is the hard part. To me, there's a very defined distinction between parenthood being trying and the rest of my life being trying because I am now a mom.

I take that back....
At the time I started writing this post a few weeks ago, Ishmael was being his regular pleasant self. He's toddling along like a pro, can answer some basic questions with yes or no head movements, and if I'm missing any kitchen utensils, I have only to look under his bed. I occasionally find him with his hands in the toilet, grinning wildly, but that's charming in it's own way, right?

Well, we've all had colds for the past week, and on Thursday morning (Dec. 5) when I went to feed him breakfast, he absolutely refused to eat anything. Not even apple pie, which he had been wolfing down the night before. We tried every kind of food we could think of, but he would just cry if we got anything close to his mouth, so in the end I figured he must really not be feeling well, and we let it go. He has plenty of chub stored up to allow a few missed meals. He wouldn't eat lunch either, so when I dropped him off at his Grandma Tucker's when I had to go to work that evening, I told her about the predicament, and when I picked him back up around 6:30, he was happily eating a peanut butter sandwich. I was too relieved that he was eating something to feel too irritated that he wouldn't eat for ME.

Fast forward to Saturday night, and the same thing happened, though he's clearly almost over his cold. I steamed some parsnips, which neither of us had ever eaten, but they're kind of like carrots and are supposed to be healthy. I tasted them, so I knew they were perfectly good. I thought maybe his big lunch was still making him full, so I eventually put him to bed without having eaten dinner. Of course, he woke up around 10:30 and wouldn't fall back asleep, so Jonas got him up and tried to feed him, but he still wouldn't eat. I'm already worried that Ishmael is latching on to this idea that if he wakes up in the night and cries for long enough, we'll get him up and feed him. Didn't we already go through this months ago? But anyway, it's hard to steel yourself against a crying baby who you know has an empty stomach.

Sunday morning, he's still refusing parsnips. This is how it goes: I warm them up in the microwave and put them on his tray. I pick one piece up and put it in front of his mouth. He shakes his head with conviction. I keep holding it there, and he opens his mouth and eats it. Good, progress.

Bite two, no go. I'm positive there is nothing wrong with the parsnips and he doesn't seem to dislike the taste, he just doesn't want to eat them. Well too bad buddy, this is breakfast. I sit down across from him with my best firm-resolve demeanor and eat my yogurt. He starts signing "more" and nodding at my yogurt. Yeah, I don't think so. I try to give him a piece of parsnip again, followed by extreme head shaking and now quivering lip and crocodile tears. When I do manage to get a bite past his lips, he spits it out. If I lower the spoon back to the bowl, the crying immediately evaporates. You, sonny, are earning yourself a blog post right now. I guess we've got to give the people what they want!

At this point, Jonas comes into the kitchen as he's getting ready for work, wondering what all the blubbering is about. I'm sitting back with my yogurt, locked in a war of parsnips. Well actually, just as he walked in, I was letting my guard down and peeling a cutie orange for Ishmael to see if he would eat anything. Sure enough, cuties are delicious this morning. You little weasel. Jonas talks me into a making him take a bite of parsnip between each cutie section. The parsnip "bites" involve smashing little bits of the stuff past his teeth on either side of his grimace, with hot and angry tears mixed in. When I'm finished with my yogurt, I put some parsnip bits in the bottom of the cup, and thus trick him into eating a few bites that way. But before long, the cup has been turned on its head to be used as a tribal drum, and the parsnips are on the floor. The usual. We eventually made it through the whole orange and not a whole lot of parsnip, and I'm left a little befuddled as to why my child has chosen this way in which to display his prowess as leader of the rebel forces.

Of course, he doesn't care that I'm sick either. In fact, me being down is prime time to sit on my hair, slap me in the face, and poke at my eyes. Even when he gets disciplined for slapping me, he cries wildly for about 10 seconds, and then slaps me again. I just love it when I accomplish nothing in 5 days off in a row because all I can do it lay on the floor and try and keep either of us from dying. [image source]

I remind myself frequently that "I should not discipline my child for crying." Sometimes I really want to, though. When it's incessant and needless, especially. I also frequently wish I could just sit Ishmael down and have a rational conversation about why he's really getting on my nerves and how if he just told me what he needed, we could work things out from there. I really struggle to treat him like a baby, sometimes. I don't understand disobedience in children - why is "no" not a good enough answer, and why do we want to do what we're not supposed to way more once we know it's off limits? I might understand if the thing Ishmael wanted was really amazing and I was keeping it from him out of spite, but most of the time, it's just "stop kicking me", "stop crumpling that book page", "stop hammering the china cabinet glass with your fork"... are those things really THAT fun? When I think of my relationship with God in terms of a child and parent, I'm mortified by the fact that I'm so disobedient and thick-skulled and God doesn't beat my bum daily.

Ever since being pregnant with Ishmael, I've been getting weekly emails from about what each week may include as far as various developments. Last week's said something to the affect of, "all children test their parent's will at this age, remember to give yourself time out to recharge your patience." I was SO relieved to read that my child is not the only occasional brat, especially since no one believes me that he has his moments.

I am determined that one day, we shall eat parsnips in peace. 

1 comment:

  1. I love your blogposts. And I know that once we have kids I'll go back and read these to find encouragement that my kid(s) will not be the only ones with a strong will. Love you Karissa.


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