Thursday, April 19, 2012

#random: The Tantrum

"That's icky and I will not eat it," she emphasises the last few words with a stamping of her feet. What drama. I sigh and search through the mental tricks I will need to employ to coerce my spawn into eating what I have provided. When I was her age, I loved pureed asparagus - kids these days ...

I cannot help thinking that I must be a bad father; that I have somehow failed as a parent; that I have somehow spoiled my child to a point where she acts up at the slightest provocation. I have a new-found respect for my parents as I realise now that I was a hell-raiser. I thought I was just having fun but now I realise I wasn't the picture of cuteness and adulation that I once believed.

I think back to the time when I decided to paint the walls with the spaghetti I didn't want to finish. I was having fun, smearing the walls and making a collage that my parents were sure to appreciate ... which reminds me: it's probably wise to keep the food out of reach in case my daughter decides to follow in my footsteps.

I try the Jedi mind trick: "You know you like asparagus - it's yummy." Her mind does not budge - the force is strong with this one. I start making choo-choo noises and transform the plastic spoon into a carriage holding its precious cargo that is (hopefully) destined for her firmly-closed mouth. No luck - it appears she doesn't like trains and has no intention of becoming a depot. I employ rainbow ponies, frolicking in the meadows and chowing down on the delicious taste of pureed asparagus. "You want to be a rainbow pony, don't you?" I am drawing at straws ...

How the mighty have fallen: forced to play out my existence with sound effects and rainbow ponies. I remember a time when I controlled my destiny but now I am brought to my knees by my own creation. It seems fitting that I would be beaten by the new version of me. Every parent wants their child to be more successful but only if they're not working against their willpower. I make airplane noises. My child is strong-willed and my will begins to break. "Alright. Have it your way."  I leave the room, trying to think of a way to get her to eat.

Mr Buggles, her bear - maybe I can coerce him into helping me in my plight. She loves that bear and takes it everywhere she goes ... that might be the trick. I start building a story where Mr Buggles is reluctant to eat the food. He cautiously tastes it and then realises he loves it. He cannot get enough of it so much so that my daughter needs to fight for a chance to share in her Asparagus puree. Perfect.

I return to the kitchen and look at my daughter. She doesn't see me although I do see, to my surprise, that she is eating her food. She is eating it with her hands, submerging her pudgy little sausages into the thick slurry and then slurping it up. I am in two minds: whether to walk over and feed her with the spoon or just let her make a mess of herself. She notices me, looks up and says, "Mr Buggles!" She keeps eating while reaching out with an asparagus-covered hand.

Your services will not be required, Mr Buggles.