I’m having dinnertime woes.
Actually I was having dinnertime woes. Then it started to include lunchtime woes, and now it has even extended to breakfast woes.
Woe is me. Three times a day.
And this has nothing to do with the normal mama “what to cook” woes that we all face.
The problem is my wild child, Isaac, who, during mealtime, does everything BUT eat.
Prayers? Check. Poopy jokes? Check. Making funny faces in the wall mirror? Check. Annoying your brother? Check. Staring into space? Check. Eating? Kind of lost in the shuffle.
Now I am not one of those mothers who makes my kids clean their plate. I try to make sure they have 4 things on their plate at night–the main course, a vegetable, some kind of fruit, some kind of bread or cheese. That way I know there are things they definitely like. So the rule is, eat what you want. BUT, you will not get any dessert unless you eat a significant amount of each portion.
Let me just pause here and publicly thank God for Matthew, who is simply a great eater. He actually makes it fun to prepare new meals because he enthusiastically LOVES everything. Meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, pizza, spicy, sweet. He really never complains and I LOVE him for that!!!! Not to mention the fact that he gets down to business and actually EATS while we’re at the table.
But back to Isaac. Here is how bad it has gotten. It’s not just that we all finish our dinner before him—at this point we all even leave the table. I clean the entire kitchen, and he is STILL there. And I tell him, you don’t have to finish! I don’t even care! To which he answers, but I want to! And then continues to play and preen in the mirror.
It must be bad at preschool too, because he is coming home with some of his lunch still in his lunch bag. When I ask why he didn’t finish, he just says because Miss Gena said lunch is over—which means he must be driving her insane too.
Two nights ago, I started implementing “timed meals”. I explained what was going to happen all day and when dinnertime arrived (right after prayers), I set a digital timer for 20 minutes and started it. I told him that whatever was left on his plate when the timer buzzed would be thrown away and if he hadn’t eaten enough for dessert, it was too bad. No second chances.
The first night went well, with about 35 reminders from Jason and me to pay attention and EAT. He finished enough to get dessert–homemake shlock-wet footing (homemade chocolate pudding, and we’re all clear on the fact that homemade means a box of powder and some milk, right?). Last night was not so great. I realized too late that I put too much food on his plate. The timer beeped and he hadn’t even tried his meatballs, so I had him take 2 bites of meatballs then took his plate away.
I don’t know that this is going to be our ultimate solution, and I am open to suggestions.
Does anyone else have a serious dawdler on their hands at mealtimes?