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January 08, 2004

Ganging Agley

Ngnat has been dawdling over dinner, coming up with excuse after excuse and activity after activity in a herculean effort to prevent a morsel of food from entering her mouth.

Last night, after witnessing an artful and inspired 10 minute display of peach, cheese and cornbread arranging, I put my foot down, or so I thought.

"Ngnat," I said, severely. "Do you want to go back to sitting in the baby chair?"

Her face lit up. "Yes, daddy. That's a great idea!"

Not really the reaction I had in mind. In any case, the high chair was currently occupied by Scotty M.

Back and fill, back and fill. "Okay then," I told her. "You go upstairs and sit on your bed until I set it up."

Ngnat ran up the stairs, still blissfully unaware that she was being punished.

"What are you going to do now, Einstein?" The wife asked, an inordinate amount of glee in her tone.

"I have no idea."

We eventually remembered the existence of Ngnat's old booster seat, abandoned by her months ago and stored in the attic against future need. Once it was reattached to the chair, I called Ngnat back to the table, strapped her in, and explained to her that "This is the baby chair. You have to sit in the baby chair until you learn to eat like a big girl. When you learn to eat like a big girl, then you can sit in the big girl chair. But until you learn to eat like a big girl, you are going to eat your meals in the baby chair," attempting by sheer word count to convey to her the idea that sitting in the baby chair was not a pleasurable diversion from the daily routine.

And I failed, miserably. "Thank you, Daddy!" Ngnat brightly replied.

I looked at the wife. Her eyes danced with parental schadenfreude.

"This punishment isn't going very well," I muttered.

She cheerily agreed. "Not at all!"

Damned if she wasn't in an upbeat mood for the rest of night, too.

Posted by Bigwig at January 8, 2004 11:29 AM | TrackBack
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Yes, but did she eat?

Actually, it's a GREAT sign. Remember, that she will not starve to death. She will eat when she's really hungry and then all your attempts to get her to eat will seem silly. She's exercising her preferences and desires. That's good. She's showing some individuality. You know that will have to be tempered with some responsibility, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.

All kids go through that. Their taste buds change, their bodies go through periods of growth and non-growth. When she needs to eat, she will, without fuss.

Remember, someday she'll be 18. She'll be potty trained, eat a balanced diet, and sleep through the night without wetting her bed or waking up because of storms or nighmares. It will all happen on her timetable. Then, you'll wish she'd spend just one night happily sitting in the baby chair, delighting in the pleasure of your company, eavesdropping on the dinner table conversation without comment, that is extended by rearranging a peach for 10 minutes.

Posted by: Mrs. du Toit at January 8, 2004 12:05 PM

...Or you could just yell a lot and shovel the food into her mouth against her will. Who cares about the potential for eating disorders and emotional damage ??? You worked very hard and paid good money for that peach !!!!!

SW would really like that approach...

Posted by: Andy at January 8, 2004 02:15 PM

Next she will want to get in the crib with (or instead of) Scotty M.


I remember that my first mother-in-law tricked her older son by "shopping for a bed for the new baby." It was a twin. And of course, since it belonged to the "new baby" he wanted it. Having to abandon his old crib so the baby could have someplace was the "price". No flies on *her*.

God help you.

Posted by: meg at January 8, 2004 07:13 PM

Yep, methinks this is a little bit of sibling rivalry bubbling up. Scotty's getting too cute and getting more attention than she can deal with. Touche.

Posted by: yomamma at January 8, 2004 07:44 PM
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