July 12, 2010 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

Last night I got an unpleasant taste of the teenage years. Not from Bella who is nearing her tenth year, although we are on the lookout for signs, but from Echo, who is three. Um, crap.

One of my daily battles is to get food into Echo. Her tastes are unpredictable and in general she seemingly lives on air. There are occasions in which she surprises us, eating a whole plate of smoked salmon sashimi, or thirty-five ribs, but even following up these events with more offerings of straight-up protein doesn’t work. Last night I loaded up three or four bowls of some guaranteed favorites and she wasn’t interested. It wasn’t that she wasn’t hungry, she couldn’t be bothered. Why?

Her friends were waiting for her.

Two other naked toddlers temptingly played outside, naked bums dancing in the grass. I even tried wrestling her while I plied her with my adult knowledge of bodily needs and experience of nighttime hunger, but to no avail. At one point Salome, also three, came to retrieve Echo from the battle zone kitchen and the two of them grabbed a couple of toys to bring outside. The toys were “inside toys” and I asked them to leave those inside so they would stay usable and safe, but they, in teenager solidarity, casually looked over their shoulders and decided to walk out anyway.

I threw the kitchen towel at Echo’s retreating butt.

Finally I stopped fighting it, counseling myself that perhaps Echo knows her bodily needs better than I do, and swimming upstream in such a strong current was only wearing me out not getting any food into my child’s body. And later I collected Echo from her play which had wound up in the bathtub next door. Arriving to see her in goggles, alone in the neighbor’s bathtub, while a different, tender, Papa kept watch was just too endearing for words and reminded me that sure, a village setting might make for more play than eating, but it also creates scenes like communal bath time, and that might be a worthy exchange.

So we headed to bed, content toddler and happy mama, and THEN…..

Mama! I’m just too hungry to sleep. My belly is just too empty. I already drank all your mama milk and I’m still hungry. I want to get up.

After much grumbling, a bedside delivery of string cheese, several lectures that included This is why I was trying to get you to eat. Maybe next time you should finish your dinner…, more nursing sessions, back massages, and still: I’m hungry Mama!… I basically went ballistic.

I was so mad, tired, and frustrated. I stormed around complaining to Nathan and trying to dredge up any amount of self-empathy that would afford me even an ounce of tenderness. I managed to squeeze out the bare minimum required to pull Echo out of bed without hurting her arm and scramble some eggs without steam coming out of my ears. We fell back into bed and she was asleep in milliseconds.

And this morning? So far no signs of teen-hood on the horizon.

I love you in the morning Mama. I have something in my body… and it’s for you. LOVE! … Mama, how do you cross a skunk with a fast roly poly? ... Chop falls!

Yep. That’s a three-year old, through and through.

Entry filed under: life lessons, parenting principles. Tags: .

river god one eye open

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