Dinner Time Shenanigans

Walking in the door from a long day at work, pre-K in tow. Drop my bag, her backpack, my empty travel coffee mug, unload about 56 empty grody Tupperware containers from said bags into previously clean and empty sink. Shoes off, jackets off. Entryway littered with all of our stuff.

Clock says 6:10. My mission sounds simple, but will almost certainly end up in mayhem and unnecessary bullshit. But I am ready. I have some leftovers that she likes, stored in easy-to-heat containers. Options are reasonably healthy, so we should both be relatively happy and this should all go smoothly. We discussed what she would like for dinner on the way home. I offered choices. She made decisions. Can I get an amen? AMEN.

So, we’re spilling in the door with all of our stuff, laughing, singing, I’m subtly reminding her of what she agreed to have for dinner, and DAMN, doesn’t that sound good, CP? We’ll listen to Kids Songs and round the bases, sliding right into bath time and bedtime with a high-five and a HALLELUJAH.

Steamed broccoli comes out of the microwave and eggs on the stovetop are done right as she’s finishing up her almond, apple, and slice of provolone appetizer. We’re still chatting and singing. And then. Here. We. Effing. Go. “I don’t like eggs anymore.” And then I’m having a discussion about eggs and our agreement in the car and aren’t eggs delicious? And we discuss that for a while. It’s 6:30. About 1/34 of her dinner has been ingested. Cool. We still have time. More talking (her), food is getting colder, she does not like her cold food.

Eyes locked on that stove timer.
Eyes locked on that stove timer.

You may know this story. This story involves:

**Discussions about gratitude: Some people have no food and you know that really hungry feeling you get, CP? Some people get that, but even worse and they don’t have delicious food to eat like you do.

**Bribery: If you eat 7 more bites of eggs and all of your broccoli, then you can have dessert / show / extra playtime before bed / etc.

**Ridiculous games such as “green bean races”. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The downside is that it has resulted in some near choking due to the fact that she is very competitive and does not like to lose at GBRs.

**Tears: Usually her, sometimes me. FYI, it’s now 7:25.

**Time outs: Not a recommended tactic, serves little purpose but to lose more time that could be used to plead with her to JUST TAKE ANOTHER BITE. Please.

**Setting the stove timer: I like this one. But it also means that you need to create an “or else”, which usually includes a loss of whatever was offered up to gain in the bribery category.

Ultimately, I end up doing things like feeding her, shoving food into that pie hole because, let’s be honest, it’s open 94% of her waking hours. I also end up hearing things like, “I’m full, but I’m hungry for candy.”

And for the record, I can totally get down with the idea of letting her call it quits when she feels that she is done and not forcing food on her. I really do understand this concept, but it’s so tough to hear a 3.5 year old cry about being SOOOOOOO HUNGRY at 8:45pm. So in the meantime, I muddle through dinner time shenanigans and have flashbacks of a 7 year old me gagging on French cut string beans, picking microscopic chopped onions out meatloaf, and whining while I attempt to bargain my way out of finishing my dinner.

*Update: I feel terrible about writing this because she kicked butt at eating dinner tonight. Oh well. It very well might be relevant again tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “Dinner Time Shenanigans

  1. Hahaha, I can remember being a kid and shoving peas down the hollow table leg – there was a little hole at the top of the leg / bottom of the table surface that was just big enough to shove peas down there. My mother one day was like, “What is that AWFUL smell??” And I pleaded ignorance. This is all payback for the shenanigans we played as kids!!!! 😉


  2. Yup! Pretty much describes my life with my 7 and 3 year old. I found having her (7 year old) help me plan the week’s dinner menu on Sunday night as well as always including at least one component that she loves, has helped. Fridays were always their favorite, breakfast at dinner, a reward for trying new foods during the week. It took a while, but we have finally gotten to a place where she trusts my planning, Friday doesn’t have to be a reward anymore, and the shenanigans happen infrequently. Hang in!


  3. I hate that we know exactly what you are talking about. Evelyn physically shudders and gags when we feed her something terrible like chicken and rice or soup. God forbid.


  4. everything everything everything. Can I just re-post this on my timeslot on Thursday, because you literally typed my usual week night tango with Jake. Olivia isn’t hip to his tricks juuuust yet, but I give her a few months and then i’ll be trying diversionary tactics for both. OMG PLEASE JUST EAT THIS FOOD SO THAT I DON’T END UP EATING MY DINNER AND EATING YOURS AS MY TV TIME SNACK!


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