Monday, July 27, 2009

Musical Chairs at Dinner?

It's no secret that my 3-year-old daughter is a challenge for me to parent. It's not that she's bad -- she is not ... in any way, shape or form -- it's just that she's motivated very differently than I am. (Can you tell from the picture what type of a personality we are dealing with here?)

Parenting her requires me to be very creative and PATIENT. It's exhausting and fun at the same time.

As with many children her age, dinnertime is a struggle. Almost every night, she winds up having a meltdown at the table -- just in time for Daddy to get home. "I swear, she wasn't like this all day," I say.

She cries and complains that she doesn't like what's on her plate, or it's too much, or she's too tired. You name it, there's a reason for her meltdown.

I've learned that I have two choices when this happens -- I can beg and plead with her until I get angry and send her to her room, or I can try to shift her energy from negative to positive.

It's easier said than done. Some nights I feel like I have nothing left to give. No creative juices left (because, the same trick never works twice, you know!).

Tonight, as she freaked out while I tried to entice her to eat, I declared that she must be sitting in the "crabby" chair.

"That's it!" I said. "No wonder you are crabby every time you sit down for dinner. You're sitting in the crabby chair!"

"Hey, let's play musical chairs so you don't have to be in the crabby chair anymore!"

"Everybody up!"

At this point, I am met by looks that say, "Are you serious?" from my husband and both children.

"Seriously! Everybody up," I say.

"Wahoo! Do Si Do! Around we go! Move your chair to the person on your right! Come on ya'll! Move those chairs!"

I was the lucky one to get the crabby chair next. After getting back settled down, I proceeded to demonstrate that it was, in fact, the chair that was causing the crabbiness. I made crabby faces and spoke in a crabby voice. I even pretended to throw a fit. The kids were in stitches! My husband must have thought I was crazy!

The bottom line? Alyssa ate her dinner in no time. It was probably a record. Seriously.

Unfortunately, this trick will probably not work again, but it was fun while it lasted!

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