No dinner, no dessert!

I have mentioned this before before, but dinnertime is almost always a war zone.  It is nearly impossible to make a meal that everyone tolerates enough to put more than one bite in their mouths enjoys.  One kid won’t eat rice.  One kids hats potatoes (all potatoes, including french fries).  One kid hates pork (but she will eat it, if she has to).  One adult hates vegetables.  I have good allergies and despise lemon chicken.  Somehow, this is everyone’s favorite meal (but mine!!).  Come on people, its like the one thing I hate! I am not a picky eater!  I will eat anything that won’t kill me.  Even that damned disgusting lemon chicken!  And you guys have to love the only thing that I hate.  I suffer through it because you guys all love it.

The long standing rule has been, if you don’t eat your dinner, you won’t get dessert or snacks later.  We always serve small portions and try to make sure that each kid gets what they like.  We don’t put rice or potatoes on the plates of the kids that don’t like those foods.  Personally, I think this is very close to running a short order kitchen.  But, I don’t feel right about forcing a kid to eat what they hate.  Maybe if I was more of a Nazi about it, we wouldn’t have so many problems with meal times and getting kids to eat.

This past Sunday, The Tyrant decided that she must once again test the rules.  I think she does this from times to time, just to keep us on our toes.  First, she decided that she didn’t want to have “chicken subs.”  They are a favorite amongst the tribe, except for the Tyrant who will not try them, on occasion.  They are just chicken and melted cheese on a toasted sub bun.  They are simple but good and filling.  So, I kept a piece of chicken whole for her and served it without the cheese or bun.  Next, she decided, for whatever reason, that forks and knives just cramped her style.  She wanted to eat with her hands.  She put her feet up on her chair and her knees were between the table and the rest of her body.  This was a disaster waiting to happen.

The Mother Hen pointed out that she was eating with her hands.  So, she sighed and threw her food back on the plate. “Forget it, I am not eating!,” the Tyrant declared.  The Show grinned, “Good, more dessert for me!”  The Tyrant started to cry.  Bear and I looked at her and simultaneously stated, “No dinner, no dessert.”  So, she went back to eating, with her hands.  Bear shakes his head, “Use your fork.”  She disdainfully piks it up and glares at the food on her plate as she stabs at it with the hated utensil.  “Stupid chicken,” the Tyrant mumbled under her breath.  The Mother Hen and the Show who are familiar with the game, wisely stayed out of it.  Any time that they add commentary, the situation only gets a hundred times worse.

After taking three more bites, The Tyrant declared that she is finished with more than half of her food left on her plate.  “You can be done, but don’t ask for treats or snacks later, because you won’t be getting any.” I told her.  She looked at me with a shocked look on her face, like I had just told her where babies really come from.  “But, that’s not fair!” she said and crossed her arms before she began to pout.  “If you are going to pout, go to your room, we are not watching it,” I said to her.  She huffed and stomped her foot.  The Mother Hen and the Show hit the deck.  They knew this was going to end badly.  Bear looked at her and said, “No, don’t go to your room, stay here while the rest of us have dessert.”  The entire time we had dessert ever everyone was extremely quiet.  The Tyrant even managed to cry silently while her sisters had dessert.  As we got up from the table, the Tyrant looked at us and said, “I am eating dinner tomorrow.”

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7 Responses to “No dinner, no dessert!”

  1. halfasgoodasyou

    Ack. We’re in the midst of food wars too but ours are the toddler kind where the kid refuses to eat food AND throws it on the floor. I don’t know which is better, the whining of older kids or the toddlerness. I like your rules though, I don’t want to turn out to be a short order cook!

  2. Sprite's Keeper

    It’s still better than my house. My daughter just throws her plate over the tray and looks at us to make sure we heard it.

  3. Jamie

    We have the same type of battles and the same rule, although it seems to have improved things….. I think this is a universal kid thing…. I think….

  4. HeatherPride

    Oh, I just LOVE dinner time!! Isn’t it so enjoyable to come together with your family at the end of the day, to have your cooking criticized and a bunch of drama thrown in for kicks??

    I feel ya.

  5. Tricia

    I’ve not yet figured out why children and food turn into power struggles. It seems almost universal that kids do this, mine included, and I’m still searching for ways to diffuse it too.

  6. Medea

    It is universal, isn’t it? At our house the kids determine what we eat and periodically one of them will declare the other’s preference:

    ‘You know he doesn’t like broccoli! Why do you keep giving him broccoli?!’

    As though we had just presented them with something poisonous. Funny thing is, the party in question was slowly but definitely eating the broccoli *before* this comment was made.

    What I don’t understand is, that if they’re so keen to ensure food they don’t like doesn’t come within 6 feet of them, how come they never think of whether or not *I* like what they’re making us eat?

    I wish I could pout better.

  7. wickedwitchfromthenorth

    I feel your pain. This is a daily occurrence in our household. Our darling princess usually accompanies her complaints with yelling, and nasty remarks. The thing is eventually she does finally agree to eat most of her dinner (so she can get dessert), so I don’t understand why we have to waste so much of our lives going thru this drama. I’m told they grow out of this eventually. That day can’t come soon enough for me.

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