Monday, January 26, 2009

A lecture and an update

You know how, when you get unsolicited advice about parenting you're just supposed to smile and say “Thank you, I'll take that into consideration”? That is really really hard to do a) with a straight face and b) without sounding condescending. If you're lucky you might get one or the other but rarely both

I say this because I had to deal with a lecture from Dad today about YaYa's eating habits and how they were terrible and how when he was a kid they were lucky to have meat and you ate what was served for dinner and you didn't say you thought you'd have mashed potatoes instead. It goes without saying that he walked ten miles to school uphill both ways.

I do agree with him. He is completely right; YaYa has turned into an extremely picky eater in the last two years. I don't need to hear about it, though; I know it. I live it. Once upon a time, when he was little, YaYa ate everything you put in front of him. Including vegetables! Without question! It was like magic. Then, around the time he was twenty months old, it all changed. I was on bedrest with Mr. Man, and since I was a stay at home mom it was kind of difficult to have him at home. (This is according to everyone else. I saw no problem with getting up twice a day to fix a meal. B handled breakfast then and now. I would have figured out how to get him into his crib eventually, I'm sure.) He ended up being taken to different friends and relatives during the day depending on schedules, and then my mom would pick him up from wherever he was and bring him back to our house and put him to bed. It sucked. This is the time when he stopped eating vegetables. Everyone swears they fed him vegetables, but I don't believe most of them. I don't know, maybe they did and the timing is a coincidence. But since then it has been a huge pain to get him to eat vegetables. Until recently he would eat corn, but he's decided that it, too, is terrible. I don't know what sort of standards he is applying to his choices; to me, corn barely qualifies as a vegetable.

Anyway, I don't like the picky-eating thing. But I do have a sort-of plain. My approach to this is three-pronged. First prong: do not freak out. He is four years old and he'll outgrow it. And if he doesn't, well, when he gets older I can make him.

Second prong: keep serving him vegetables even though it seems hopeless. Usually I'll try to make him eat two green beans or two peas or whatever, but his dislike is so strong that he will almost throw up and dinner will take hours. Neither are really the outcome I'm looking for, and honestly that much effort for two green beans is stupid. I can give him a Flinstones vitamin and be better off in the end, nutritionally speaking.

Third prong: hide vegetables in his food. I make brownies with spinach, macaroni and cheese with sweet potatoes and squash, pudding with various pureed fruits, and he drinks V-8 Fusion upon occasion. This summer, assuming we get a garden in, I will be making zucchini bread* and I'm sure he'll eat it. I think he actually had a piece of it before and loved it. Eventually he will figure all this out. At that point I guess he'll have to decide if he wants to stop eating or just eat what I put in front of him. Frankly I'm not sure which way that's going to go. I'm also kind of hoping that if he helps in the garden he'll be more likely to eat something he's helped grow.

Anyway, back to my dad. I've gotten used to the lectures. I don't think it used to be this bad, but then again, he did just move back from out of state a few months ago so maybe I've forgotten. He's always been weird, I can tell you that. Living there makes it worse, of course. My mom told me (after he left the room) that we were driving her crazy. She's always been a worrywart about other family members fighting. (When my brother and sister and I were younger and we couldn't get Mom's attention when she was in her room, we would start fake fighting. She would come right out. I guess we were too lazy to just walk in there. Plus, I admit it, it was kind of fun to mess with her.) I told her that it was nothing to worry about. As far as I'm concerned, he and I both know he's going to continue to lecture and I'm going to continue to ignore him. Problem solved.

My dad says and does a lot of things in front of me and my mom and my sisters because we're women and it pushes our buttons. So once you know that, it's kind of easy to let things slide right off. (Tonight, in addition to the food thing, he was being annoying about the TV. He came out to the kitchen at the end of Cold Case and was introducing me to all the characters. Despite the fact that I watch Cold Case on a regular basis. Despite the fact that I had just watched that episode. But how can I be bothered by him going, “She didn't do it. She's the detective lady. Now, that's her mom's grave. She didn't do it either. She's dead. There's her dad. He's not dead, but he didn't do it. Oh, Jerry Bruckheimer. He didn't do it. He makes NCIS, too.”?)

We move in two weeks. (I think I miscounted last time. Oops. I'm kind of sad about that—if I had been right then there would be only one week left.) Things are really wrapping up over there even though this weekend was quite suckish. I'll blog about that later—whenever I write a blog entry after working with my parents all weekend it ends up being really vitriolic towards them, so I have to write it, let it sit for a few days, then go back and delete it and start over. Efficient I am not.

Anyway, pictures.

Kitchen. Paint! Everywhere there's supposed to be paint! Almost!

The boys have a door!

Boys' room color. This was a good deal—we found the exact color I had picked out in the mistints for $5. A quarter of the gallon was gone, which confuses me. Did the person take it home and paint a wall before realizing it was the wrong color? Did someone spill it? It didn't matter that part of it was gone because it was that really nice super premium paint that only needs one coat.

Walls in the bathroom! It's like living in a mansion!

Our room color. (You can't see it, but we don't have a door. And that's my mom in the picture.) I am not so thrilled about this color; I was going for more of a slate. I should have picked the next darkest shade on the strip. However, I know this room is going to be mostly filled with furniture and have lots of pictures up, so it doesn't bother me enough to repaint it. Or to make my mom repaint it.

*Anecdote that I didn't even experience: I read a blog once where this woman had made cinnamon zucchini bread for her kids. They raved about it and begged for her to tell them the secret ingredient. When she did (zucchini) they all stopped eating the bread mid-slice. She had to convince them that they still liked that bread, even though they knew it was healthy now. They did continue eating it. I don't think my kids would have.

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