9.01.2009

The Devil Wears Hanna Andersson

If I ever wondered what I was like as a child, I need not look any further than across the dining room table at my beautiful brown eyed four year old daughter. Temperament and all.

Sheridan, Sher, Sher Bear, or Bunny as she's affectionately called is a very spirited, (or "spicy" as her preschool teacher in Israel liked to call her) child. She is full of life. She has more energy than two kids put together. She is truly a piece of work. When we announced we were pregnant with Grady, a girlfriend of mine sent a congratulatory message and asked me if I always knew that Sheridan was born a middle child. Take it one step further by looking up the meaning of her name... which is "Wild Man"... and you've got yourself a handful.

I've learned over time that one can NEVER trust when a room with Sheridan is quiet, for you can always guarantee that when she's bored she's up to something.... usually involving scissors, Kleenex, paper, and markers. One time, about two years ago I needed ten minutes to finish sewing a dress so I asked her to go downstairs to play in the playroom. Soon after she was back upstairs... naked. And why was Sheridan naked? Because she decided she didn't want to watch TV anymore, opting instead to color her nether regions with green marker ... "to make it look pretty."

One thing you can always count on with Sheridan is that she's funny. She does things, intentionally or not, that make people laugh... sometimes with her, sometimes at her. Sheridan has this infectious cackling laugh...a staccato-like giggle that's both full of life and mischief. When she does this look out, for as both my parents and Matt's will agree that nothing good comes out of it. Sheridan is also fearless. Of everything. Shots? No problem. She walks into the office, she looks straight at the doctor, she slaps her leg and tells him to give it to her "right there." Snakes? It's usually the first exhibit she wants to see whenever we go to the pet store or zoo. The swing can't go high enough, the Razor scooter fast enough, or pools deep enough for her to dive in and swim to the bottom.

Then it should have caught me by no surprise when the battle of wills came to a head last evening. Lately Sheridan's been complaining about dinner. Regardless of what I make, she will repeatedly tell me that she doesn't like it, she refuses to eat it, and she just wants to go to bed. Sometimes she'll whine over her favorite foods or after she's asked for a specific meal. Many times I give in, not wanting to deal with her shenanigans because I'm fed up with her antics or I'm too busy with the baby.

Not last night. Maybe it was the tireless hours of grating the cheese, sauteing the vegetables, making the sauce, and layering the lasagna that gave me the strength to enforce our "try everything" policy. Maybe it was because I just had enough of her stubbornness and wanted to ensure she eat a healthy dinner. Whatever it was, I was armed and ready to fight the battle, and more importantly, to win the war.

All I asked her to do was eat two bites of lasagna. That's it. Can you believe the audacity of me? She protested. She cried. She moaned. She arched her back like I used to do as a child and through clenched teeth she screamed. She complained. We heard every excuse known to man... the food was cold, she was cold, the pasta was disgusting, she didn't have enough napkins, her legs hurt, the lighting was bad, she doesn't like meat, she doesn't like vegetables, she's too full from the bread. While she ranted, I stoically sat there, repeatedly telling her she needed to take two bites.

Riley went to bed.

Grady went to bed.

Still Sheridan sat at the table, refusing to take a bite. One hour passed. Then two. Then three. I pulled out my iPhone and surfed the internet. I posted a status update on Facebook and had tons of people sending their support. I refused to cave.

At first, Matt and I tried the good cop, bad cop routine... which quickly turned into the bad cop, bad cop shtick... and after four long hours turned into the really bad cop, really really bad cop drill. At 10:30 pm, after all but water boarding (redact) giving her a stern lecture, Matt went to bed. But after this much time devoted to standing my ground, I couldn't give in, I had to stick it out until she caved. She was tired, I was pooped, we both stared at each other waiting to see who was going to blink.

After 4 hours and 55 minutes she ate two bites of lasagna. Game. Set. Match.

Next up? Tuna. Wish me luck.

29 comments:

Naomi said...

oh Tuna ... good luck with THAT!

I'm proud of you for sticking to your guns ... atta girl!

Naomi said...

oh Tuna ... good luck with THAT!

I'm proud of you for sticking to your guns ... atta girl!

Naomi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Broski said...

Dude, that is f***ing hysterical. You got that from mom, didn't you? She used to make me sit at the table on numerous occasions for hours because I refused to eat her cooking. As a fellow middle child, I'd like to give props to my niece for putting up a respectable 5 hour fight. However, good work to you sis for standing firm!

Mom24 said...

Good luck indeed! Tuna, my kids will eat, provided it's fresh tuna, canned tuna plain, or tuna salad. Tuna casserole? They would think they were dying.

Keep us updated, I'm curious who can win the long term war, you definitely won the first battle!

Christy said...

Oh my god I am laughing (WITH YOU - I HOPE!) so hard right now. She is one stubborn girl for sure. I'm amazed that you stood your ground for so long.

I am at my wit's end with my little one too - she loves to throw her food. Deliberately. While staring me in the eye defiantly, and then laughing....since she's only 12 months I let her do it, but wonder when I can/try to make her stop?! ugh!

Can't wait to hear how the tuna goes!!

Jen said...

Awesome. Good for you! I hope that soon she learns that she has met her match!

Sara said...

That's awesome Jill! So glad to hear you won that, even after 5 hours.

OHmommy said...

I had the same battle with my middle child least year. It took her 4 hours. Grrrr....

When she was born, only a couple of days old, my bro told me she looked like one feisty middle child. Boy was he right!

Heidi said...

Wow. that girl has stamina! Way to hold your ground though. Thank goodness mine eats hers after only a wimper. I use to just hide mine in my napkin, but I sat there a few hours myself when I was a kid.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

GEESH! I thought my boy was bad. She puts him to shame big time.
We've had the lasagna fight (I lost he went to bed without dinner).

But you made it. Score one for moms everywhere :)

Karen said...

Good for you for sticking to it! I probably would have caved...

Kat said...

I don't think I could have dealt with five hours of sitting there. I think I would have caved and sent her off to bed with nothing. You could always pull a Mommy Dearest and send her off to bed...and then serve the same lasagna for breakfast the next day :-)

Shannon said...

"the lighting was bad"

LOL, that's one excuse I've never heard of! Hilarious!

I can't believe she sat there for 5 hours. Whoa.

But I've been through this battle, too. I've now told my girls (and really, it's the youngest that's the problem) that if they don't eat dinner, fine... but they don't get anything else for the rest of the night. No snack... nothing 'til breakfast the next morning. Most of the time it works, but there are still times where I have to cajole her into eating a few bites!

Lollyblogger said...

I am laughing out loud over this. I can so see Sheridan sitting there, and you sitting there, with identical looks on your faces.

BTW- I used this story tonight to coax Annie into eating her meatloaf. Brilliant!

Owens Family Adventures said...

Okay, I'm laughing out loud as well!! Also?? I am bowing before you and repeating that I am not worthy....Great win!!!

Now good luck with the whole tuna giggle
dawn

Robin said...

Hot damn! Wanna come to my house and try to get Maya to eat? Doesn't have to be lasagna, pretty much any actual pasta sauce would suffice. Or for that matter anything with meat. Or any vegetable that isn't a raw baby carrot. Or...

And the green nether regions? I am seriously cackling over here.

American in Norway said...

Ha ha.. I was thinking the same as Kat... Mommy dearest... serve it every morning until she eats it...
Way to go standing your ground!

C.C. said...

I don't know...bad lighting ruins my appetite, too.

You go, Jill. That is an epic battle won!

Eve Grey said...

hahaha, that is awesome!!! I have a "Sheridan" but the name is "Max". I begged him to take two bites of an egg salad sandwich the other day. Bribed him with no dessert for a week. This kid eats bread, plain pasta, hot dogs, apples, burgers, and that's it!! We were outside having lunch on the front lawn. He took a bite, started gagging and moaning, ran in circles around the yard & then threw up in the garden. Yup, that's my boy.

Shannon said...

You rock! I need to read this to give me strength every night before dinner. We have the try everything rule but somehow the whining continues every night.

Crystal said...

Oh, Jill, I can totally identify. You are both amazingly strong willed. I of course mean that as a compliment : )

Crystal said...

Oh, Jill, I can totally identify. You are both amazingly strong willed. I of course mean that as a compliment : )

♥ Braja said...

Sorry, I don't get it: whatever happened to a smack and sent to bed without supper??!

♥ Braja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
♥ Braja said...

...but I did have to laugh at "the lighting was bad." That takes some moxy :)))

♥ Braja said...

...but I did have to laugh at "the lighting was bad." That takes some moxy :)))

♥ Braja said...

oh woops, you had two of the same one there....and in explaining that, now you have 3 of me :)))

Lisa said...

that is a stubborn one. My E is stubborn, but I think if my middle & your middle battled, your middle would win :)
PS - Good for you for sticking it out!!!

Blog Designed by: NW Designs