I saw this little sign on Pinterest today, and damn it was so fitting for my evening I laughed out loud…
And I’ll tell ya, if Henry decides to pull another stunt like he did tonight, that boy just might be lying out in the yard in the near future.
Here’s how it went down…
We’re still having the occasional dinner battle with the kids (and I’ll throw Cadence in there too because there are nights her dramatic sighs over what she doesn’t want to eat for dinner nearly drown out her brother’s). Henry’s dinner protest antics are far less subtle. He fidgets, spins around on the bench, turns around to look out the window for his neighbor friends, recites movie scenes, asks to go pee, asks to go get a glass of water, tries to lie down on the bench, tries to touch the food on Cadence’s plate, asks what he should take a bite of next, spins around on the bench again, recites more movie lines, asks to go poop, and on, and on, and on.
I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just done. I refuse to sit there with him for hours while he dawdles and complains, so generally Stevie and I and Cadence will all sit around and chat for a little while, but eventually get up from the table when we’re finished if we notice Henry putting on the brakes and trying to push our buttons. Then Stevie and I clean up the kitchen while Cadence heads upstairs to shower and get ready for bed.
Most days, once his audience has left the room, Henry will finish his dinner and life will go on. But tonight…well, I don’t know what sort of bright idea he thought he had, but he stayed in the dining room for 20 minutes or so after the rest of us finished. Suddenly I see him get up from the table and take his empty plate to the kitchen. I told him good job for finishing and he gave me sly smile. He still had a big bite of hamburger in his mouth, so I told him chew it up and finish while I went to let Electra out of her kennel.
It took a minute for me to realize what I was seeing when I walked into the dining room. Apparently in that 20 minutes alone at the table, Henry hadn’t actually finished his dinner. Instead, he’d spent the time tossing small bite-sized bits of food all over the table and in roughly a 4-foot perimeter around it.
No wonder Electra was barking and clawing to get out of her kennel. She’d been sitting there the whole time watching Henry throw bits of food on the ground.
When I turned around, he was standing right behind me, like he was waiting for my reaction.
I bent down, looked him straight in the eye and told him he better get his ass back in that room and clean up every single bit of food he’d thrown. And I must have sounded pretty serious, because I didn’t even have to add an “or else I’ll…” to the end of that statement.
It took him about 5 minutes to clean up, and then I took him straight up to get ready for bed. He cried a little and apologized. By that point, I think he was even a little embarrassed by his own antics. We had a nice chat about unacceptable behavior and the fact that he’s going to have to earn back all of his iPad, tv, and game privileges by eating dinner like a civilized human and not throwing tantrums.
He didn’t even protest. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.