Monday, July 20, 2009

Tic Tacs for breakfast

If I really had a child of my own, this is where my Not My Child post would go. Since she is not mine and I can place blame on others, I will. So Dan has been out of town since last Monday touring the mountains of Colorado/Utah with his 4 wheeling-freak-friends. (did I type that?) I HAD the house and my life to myself until last night when I picked up PB from her mom. We went to Dan’s aunt and uncle’s house for free dinner and hit the jackpot when we arrived to a homemade peach cobbler going into the oven. They were grilling chicken and fresh veggies for dinner and I was super excited.
To give you a bit of backdrop on this blog, we (I mean, I here) have been having issues with getting Bella to eat. As a baby (I hear) she would eat anything and even when Dan and I met 1 and ½ years ago she was a solid eater. Over the past few months we have had MAJOR food issues. It has worsened since has been with us for the summer. I guess she eats a lot of mac n cheese, noodles with butter and whatever she wants when she is not with us. It makes it hard to put sauce on her noodles or get her to eat anything other than the sides she likes. We did the whole sit at the table until you are finished and that doesn’t work. She resorted to my old tactic of throwing up, which in my defense I handled better than my mom ever did. If you throw it up, it doesn’t count…just like reality TV making you eat bugs and stuff. We have also tried boxing it up and making her eat if for lunch and dinner the next day until it is gone. That works if you stick to it…dad tends to forget. So Dan, even before vacation, has been working a lot and this has been mostly my problem to deal with. We have had many nights of straight to your bath and to bed. I don’t have kids. I don’t know how to deal with someone else’s child acting like a demon. If she were mine, I would sit down and talk to her (Dan says I should whip her) so that is what I did. We talked a few weeks ago and things were better for a few days but then she wasn’t with us for a while and we were back to square one when she got back.
So now you are up to speed. Anyhow, Dan’s family is very aware of the food issues so they were not surprised when she started to turn her nose up immediately. I gave the child a very small portion of chicken, 3 slices of potato and 3 pieces of zucchini. We were all finished eating as she was pushing her food around her plate. I told her she could eat her food or we would pack up, go home, take a bath and go to bed. She knew I was serious and did finally give in and eat MOST of her food. If it is brown (burnt), speckley (seasoned) or different (unfamiliar) she will not eat it. I really think her curiosity about peach cobbler is what made her finish. So we bust out desert, which Little Miss Picky doesn’t eat. As we are cleaning up, Bella comes around asking for candy. Now, I had to threaten to take you home to get you to eat dinner and you didn’t eat desert, what makes you think you can have candy? Big no to that.
Food is not our only issue lately at the dinner table. When I met Dan, PB was a very well mannered little girl. Somewhere along the way, she has regressed. She used to say excuse me, please, thank you, yes sir and no sir. We got none of that anymore. She was chewing with her mouth open and talking with food falling out. She has a new horrible habit of putting her feet on the chair at dinner and if she doesn’t have shoes on she picks her toes. Now if you know me at all, or read my quirk blog you can imagine how much this makes me want to vomit. I asked her at dinner where she had lost her manner to and she just got that wounded puppy face, which means she knows she’s wrong.
So by the time we get home it is late, she takes her bath and comes down ready for bed. I am not prepared to deal with this behavior for one more minute, let alone the rest of summer so we chatted. She made some excuses and tried to manipulate but in the end she said she forgot her manners because no one reminds her and no one cares. Everyone always has other stuff going on and never watches her anyway. The child is craving discipline. Any mom’s having a light bulb? We are very consistant with her behavior at our house, unfortunately there is no telling what happens outside of our influence. That means that our influence has to be stronger…with less time to do it in. We decided we will make a chart of rules and chores for home and also a portable copy that she can keep with her. This was her idea and I really like it. She even suggested making it a rule that you eat all of your food (or you die, which I think we will omit). We didn’t discuss rewards because I don’t want her to do it simply because she feels like she will get something (but she will). Hopefully in the end she is just a well-rounded kid.
So fast forward to this morning; my worst nightmare is coming true. I am responsible for getting her to the babysitter and myself to work with no assistance. For all of you moms out there, let me remind you that you started with them in your womb as a daily reminder. Then you had to feed them every 2 hours and do everything for them. I got myself a walking, talking little 7 year old mini-me and it is not comfortable sometimes. I will compare it to 4 inch pumps that are 1/2 size too small. Just doesn’t quite feel right. I still forget to hold her hand when we cross the street. She reminds me, “Toni…hold my hand”. So this little bundle of joy comes bounding down the stairs in the clothes I laid out for her (thank God) and in all honesty and sincerity at 6:15 in the morning says to me, “Can I have some tic tacs” as she shakes her little container. The Phyllis (my mother) in me wanted to blow up but I remained calm and sent her back to her room reminding her that she had no had breakfast. As we settle into the car for our drive the conversation went something like this:

Me: So, PB, which one of your parents feeds you tic tacs for breakfast?

PB: Ummmmm, neither…(she is smart and I do think she knew where we were headed)

Me: Why would you ask me for tic tacs for breakfast if you know your parents would not let you? (This is my fault, I take total responsibility) Do you think I am dumb and I don’t know the rules?

PB: Yes

Me: So you think I am too dumb to know that you don’t get tic tacs for breakfast?

PB: No, no, I mean you are so smart…you know I can’t have them

Me: Do you know that you can’t have tic tacs for breakfast?

PB: Yes, I do

Me: Then why did you ask if you could have them?

PB: (classic response of a 7 year old) I don’t know

Me: Well, it really hurts my feelings that you think you can get away with things with me that your mom and dad won’t let you do. It disappoints me that you are trying to trick me. Do you know how upset your mom and dad would be if they knew I let you have tic tacs for breakfast?

PB: I’m sorry, Toni. I won’t ask you for things that mommy and daddy don’t let me do anymore.

Me: Ok, but no candy today at Tina’s because you asked for it for breakfast.

PB: Ok, that’s fair.

Now, I am not sure if that is entirely true but it was a good talk. Tonight we are getting poster board to make our rules/chores list and shopping for camping crap for Girl Scout Camp on Wednesday. Dan finally returns tomorrow night sometime and I can’t wait. I think he will be proud of my progress. Happy Monday to all!


  1. Wow...Toni, I think you are an amazing mommy, er, I mean pseudo-stepmommy to PB. You are doing a great job. Really.

  2. Wow, this really is fantastic! You have such patience, and you are treating her as a person giving her reasons for her behavior so she is learning rather than just doing what she is told. Pat yourself on the back sister, you are doing a fabulous job!

  3. I am so proud of you Toni.... You are handling this fantastically! Bella is very lucky to have you:)

  4. Thanks for the kudos girls. I thought I had a breakthrough until last night when I had to threaten to hit her to get her to put her clothes away the 3rd time I asked her! Also, I realized this morning that she does not wipe her butt at our house. Apparently she doesn't do any of the things she knows she should do at our house. She admitted to me that she doesn't think she should have to. Dad is going to be involved in this next talk. It is time to crack the whip. She knows what she needs to do, she just isn't doing it. I do so appreciate your words of encouragement! Love you girls;-)

  5. Girl- its hard to untrain 7 years in one summer... butt wiping???? its 3 times and then if clean you can move on and must sign the abc's while hand washing... but my child only does that because thats always been the way... you may have to start with the basics and add hygiene to her chart... kudos to you for your patience and love... you might not be her mother, but you may be her momma... remember what people other than your parents taught you and imagine the rough shape you may have been at 7- love her, set boundaries, follow through, give her a safe place to fall and a rule to follow. chin up girl- great job!