Another weekend, another chance to torture small children with vegetables. This weekend’s secret weapon for making eating better fun was fondue.
The first course was cheese. Z hates cheese. We had bread, apples, and cauliflower to dip. She ate some of the apples but no cheese. That’s ok. She’s been crazily ambivalent about apples. One week she says she wants to eat apples and the next she says that she won’t ever eat anything apple flavored. So eating apples was an improvement. There was some screaming about the proximity of cheese to her. She needs to learn to deal.
After that we had veggie broth to cook snow peas, peppers, green beans, carrots, cheese tortellini, and shrimp (for the SO). There was more half hearted screaming about how scary it was to put the veggies in the broth since she didn’t know what it was. We started talking about saving the chocolate fondue until after she went to bed and then she got motivated to try things. The big deal was that we got her to try to tortellini with some tomato sauce. She has always refused pasta. I’m sure her Italian grandmother is spinning in her grave every time she declares pasta to be icky. But she liked the tortellini. Since she tried new stuff she got to have some dessert.
Today for lunch we had veggie stir fry over rice. She likes rice so she had a bowl of plain brown rice with some raw veggies around the edge of the bowl. She was disturbed about “dunking” the veggies in the rice. She ate the rice and then her father was brilliant. She is in a Tinkerbell phase. He told her that she needed to eat carrots to improve her eyesight so she could spot hawks that might eat fairies. That made her eat all her carrots. Then he told her that green beans help your vocal cords so she can yell out warnings after she spots the hawks. Lying liar but it was effective. Finishing her rice was going to help her be strong enough to fight off hawks. It is teamwork – I make the food and he cons her into eating it!
Since I’ve been home I’ve been catching up on shows I missed. One of them was Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. After watching Z eat french fries all week I was ready to fight to get her to eat some decent food. I just had to convince her father not to give in. He’s great at standing up to her but he’ll give her something bad to eat if she is hungry a few hours later if she skips the healthy dinner which ruins that whole thing.
We had the throwdown last night. She had asked if we could roast marshmallows. I told her that we could if she ate a good dinner. She agreed but I knew she didn’t mean it.
I made Caribbean Corn Bread which any kid should love since it is moist and sweet. She walked through the kitchen while I was cooking and asked what I was making. I said bread. She said that she wouldn’t eat that. I watched this kid chow down on restaurant bread all week. She just wouldn’t eat it because it was homemade. That’s equal to dirty and icky in her mind. She started going through the refrigerator to see what she could eat for dinner. I told her she was eating what was put on the table. She obviously didn’t believe me.
I also made orzo stuffed peppers for the SO and me and a salad. I put cut up cucumbers, baby carrots, grapes, and green beans on a plate so everyone could decorate their own salad. I’ve seen her eat lettuce and she likes green beans. So she had options that she is known to like.
When her father told her that yes she was eating with us she went ballistic. Blood curdling screams started. You’d have thought we were sawing off her arm to have for dinner. She called me every name that a six year old knows. I was also a “bad cooker” and a “mean cooker.” Through the whole tantrum the SO and I calmly ate our dinner and discussed our day. It was funny. She was across the table screaming and crying and trailing mucus in a most unappetizing way while we did a parody of high tea. “How was your day darling?” “Oh just smashing, and you?” For some reason she doesn’t find us nearly as amusing as we find ourselves.
Every few minutes she’d scream, “Fine! I’ll eat the stupid food!” Then she would proceed not to eat it. She’d throw green beans across the table. Her father told her to stop that the first time. After that she’d pantomime doing throwing food and then look at her father out of the corner of her eye to see if she was getting a rise out of him. She wasn’t. “So my dear, after dinner do you think we should commence to beating the child?” “Lovely idea. Is your pepper alright?”
At first she claimed the green beans were too hot. Then she finally ate a few because she was getting nowhere with her tantrum. By this time she declared that they were too cold. Can’t imagine why. She ate all the green beans in a huff. Then he suggested she try a carrot. She ate them all. He asked if she liked grapes. She said that she tried them a long time ago and didn’t like them. He told her to bite one in half and taste the juice. She made all kinds of faces but did it. Then he told her to eat the other half because it would hurt the grape’s feelings if she didn’t. For some reason that worked. Then she sheepishly ate all the grapes. You could tell that she didn’t want to admit that she liked them but she wanted them. We didn’t comment. Afterwards he told her that he was proud of her and sent her on her way. He asked me if that really just happened that she ate a whole plate of vegetables. I said yes. Amazing what happens when you can convince people not to give in to temper tantrums.
Then we had to hold up our end of the bargain and roast marshmallows and do s’mores. I of course had to eat some to show solidarity. I would have been wrong not to.
(Now on to way too much information – Z’s mother has been giving her laxatives since she has zero fiber in her diet and is always constipated. As I was typing this post this morning Z came running to me in a panic saying that she has diarrhea. I think her body is rebelling from the totally unknown onslaught of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. I told her that she’d live.)
After she went to bed the SO wanted to watch the episodes of Food Revolution that I’d been telling him about. We got about 1/4 of the way through when he paused it and gave me this.
It is really hard to get a good picture of it. He asked me if I was surprised. I knew he was picking it up soon but I answered that if absolutely never expected to get it in the middle of watching Jamie Oliver on the computer. But since he’s been proposing to me on a fairly regular basis for the last two years I guess it is ok. We aren’t actually planning on getting married but getting sparkly things is always good! Then we went back to watching the show. We’re such romantics.
I have a new mantra. I say it over and over in hopes of changing the world. Try it with me.
“We do not chase kitties!”
It is true that kitties are small and furry and they run in such satisfying ways. But if you catch a kitty then they slap you on the nose with their sharp parts and hiss at you.
I’ve been working with Riley on bravery. He’s decreased his hiding. Now he sits in the open but on tables that make it hard for the dog to reach him. This morning she found him out in the open. She doesn’t want to hurt him but she wants to touch him. Today he didn’t run from her. I reached over and grabbed her collar and repeated the mantra. Riley came strolling over. He walked closely past her. She could have touched him but he knew I wouldn’t let her. He gave her a look that clearly said, “Dog” in a tone that was superior and dismissive at the same time. He punctuated it with a tail flick that showed his distain. Then he sashayed out of the room in slow motion without looking back like he knew that no lowly mutt was a threat to him. I noticed that he ran up the stairs though just in case I let her go!
Powder, on the other hand, is still freaked. She spends most of her time on the armoire when Freckles is in the house. Last night when we came home she was outside and panicked when she saw the dog. She ran up a tree that is easy to get up but very hard to climb down. She was stuck up there for a while. Riley sat on an outside chair and watched her try to figure out how to get down. Entertained him to no end.
The real test comes tonight though. Z is meeting the dog. This kid’s life was changed by the movie BOLT. She went from being a girly girl who only wore dresses to wearing jeans like Penny. She got a Penny haircut. She wants a dog with super powers. (The whole point of the movie is that the dog does not have super powers but she doesn’t care.) She’s been asking for a dog ever since. At the time Snowball was still alive and I pointed this out. Sure, Snowball at that point was an invalid who hardly moved but Z was still afraid of her. That’s the sticking point. For all her dog dreams, she’s afraid of dogs and won’t admit it.
She likes to look at them but if they come up to her she screams. We were walking through the farmer’s market once and I pointed out a pretty poodle. She asked if we could buy it. I said no, that it had a person. During this it walked past us. It never even looked at Z but she buried her head in my side until it passed. She’s afraid of the cats touching her but she’ll carry on long conversations with Powder. But she’ll run up to the horse in the pasture and kiss her on the nose. It makes no sense. The only thing I can think of is that the horse isn’t jumping up and down but neither is the cat. Anyway this should be interesting.
My plan is to have Z go with us to the dog park tomorrow and then to the pet store to help find Freckles some toys. Hopefully she’ll feel involved and not be too upset that the dog doesn’t have super powers! Maybe she’ll even play with her.
So I was pretty proud of myself for running for 20 minutes straight. Two days later I was scheduled to go back to intervals. 5 minute run, 3 minute walk, 8 minute run, 3 minute walk, 5 minute run. No problem, right?
I started out and at 2 minutes 30 seconds I was dying. I’m not sure why. I was panting like I had run a marathon and couldn’t make my legs go. I rested for a bit and then finished out the five minutes. I switched to a flat trail and tried to go on but got 4 minutes through the 8 minute interval and gave up.
I’m not sure what it was but it wiped me out. I calculated that in the last 48 hours I’ve been asleep for 22 hours. Today I finally came around. I went out to redo the day’s workout. I was able to do it. I wasn’t feeling as good as I thought I should be but I was able to get through it. I’m really glad that this didn’t happen on the 20 minute day or I’d think that I’d never be able to run.
Also today I worked on teaching Z to ride a bike without training wheels. She’s doing pretty well except for getting started.
The SO had to get a MRI this morning so I was on kid duty. I ran her ragged. First I made her help clean up the house. Then we went and dropped off recycling. A quick trip to the library was after that. She wanted books on dogs. She’s obsessed with getting a dog. The problem is that she’s scared of dogs. She was even scared of Snowball. She’d scream whenever Snowball looked at her. But we got some dog books and a few DVDs.
After that we went to the Farmer’s Market and picked up corn for dinner. There was a standard poodle there so I pointed it out as the type of dog we were considering getting eventually. She pressed herself against me as it passed by but said that she wanted it. I think she thinks dogs are like stuffed animals who won’t look at you or touch you. She screams when the cats touch her. How is she going to handle a dog?
We headed out to see Prize. Surprisingly, Z isn’t scared of horses. She got to sit on the old arthritic Haflinger in the pasture. The horse wasn’t having it until I showed her that I had treats in my pocket then she consented to be haltered and let the kid sit on her as long as the treats kept coming!
After that there was playing on the playground. We’ve done this all in three hours. I don’t know about her but I’m tired!
We need to work on her rudeness. She told me this morning that her father was really fat. He’s not. He’s really muscular and looks big. I told her that it wasn’t true and that it was a very, very mean thing to say. She just laughed. Then she was walking around saying, “I’m rich!” I asked if she had a job. She said she was rich at her mom’s house. I said that she was poor. Her mom has a job. Her dad has a job. I have a job. She isn’t rich. She’s living off of us.
She also will explain me to everyone she meets. “Hi. This is my dad’s friend Heather. She lives with us now.” I’m just glad she didn’t say it to the Amish people at the farmer’s market.
I have an idea for an extra level of Hell. Take an overtired, overstimulated five year old and put her in the car for a four hour drive. At first she lulls you by falling asleep but she wakes up nasty.
Let her start demanding food. When you remind her of her refusal to eat the restaurant meal she ordered (and that was a condition of getting a snack) let her start smacking the driver on the head with her blankie. Then when you catch the blanket and pull it away from her, let the shrieking begin. When she comes up for air explain that if she promises to not use blankie as a weapon she can have him back. She has to consider this for a while while intermittently shreiking and tell you how much she hates you all. You aren’t all that fond of her at that point either but wish the noise would stop. Luckily you have a blankie to cuddle to muffle the noise.
Eventually she decides to agree to not beating people in order to get blankie back. Spend the rest of the trip listening to occasional speeches about how much better her mommy is that her mean and nasty daddy. Mean and nasty daddy is happy to be delivering her to mommy since the child has been such a joy. In fact I overheard him talking to another parent at fireworks when Z was being mouthy and running back and forth between him and my parents. “Yeah, that’s my last biological child. I’m thinking of adopting. I’m hoping to pick out a nicer kid.” Not a parent in listening range contradicted that statement.
I’m vacationing with the SO and Z at my parents’ house. It was supposed to include beach time but it is cold and dreary. So my parents, Z, and I went to the zoo. It was the first time I’ve taken her anywhere without the SO. She did pretty well. She got a bit mouthy a few times but came back under control soon.
I got back from Montreal late Saturday night after Z was in bed. The next morning she was full of questions about where I had been. Turns out that I was in a bit of trouble with her for being out of town “because you’re part of my family now” and therefore it is my job to be home when she is there. I was a bit surprised to hear that from the same kid who has repeatedly told me that I’m stupid and need to leave. I’ve worn her down!
She did have a mini-fit that morning. It was sort of cute since it was such a shadow of what used to be normal for her pre-medication. I was upstairs and I heard, “NO!! Stop! I hate that song!” Then she came running upstairs and threw herself against the bed dramatically. Her father was playing music she hated on YouTube. Since I’ve also retreated upstairs in the face of his musical tastes I sympathized with her feelings if not the method of expression. I asked her what song she wanted to hear. She hiccuped out, “Old McDonald.” So I told her that she should go downstairs and sing five verses at the top of her lungs. She giggled and agreed. Her volume was good but it turns out that she doesn’t really know the words except for Old McDonald had a farm EIEIO. Then she came running upstairs again to report that he didn’t seem to notice. Oh, well, it was a good revenge plan even if the execution was a bit weak.
It is the end of week 4 of my Body for Life Challenge. I didn’t see any big changes this week on par with fitting into smaller pants last week. I also spent part of the weekend with my parents so the whole food program went out the window. I only missed one workout though with the traveling and made my mother do cardio with me one day.
We went out to a small amusement park and I got to be the person designated to ride with the small kid. That person is listed on every sign as a “responsible person”. Sometimes you take the affirmations any where you find it.
Z did well at her first trip to visit my family. No blood. No screaming/crying/punching fits (by anyone). She had so much fun that she didn’t want to leave. If she tells her mother this then her mother will make the SO’s life a living hell for a while in retaliation.
The SO seemed to do better too. He’s always gotten along with my family but our family dynamics are considered odd by him. We are both more reserved and more goofy (at the same time) than he is used to. He hasn’t always known how to take people and certain people haven’t known how to take him. It was less awkward now.
Snowball went to a friend’s house for the weekend. They had two parties while she was there. She is exhausted. She’s still sleeping to try to recover. The cats are still in super clingy, “You left us all alone in here with only ourselves for company!” mode.
Ok, I need advice from those of you used to quilting around kids. Z is fascinated and wants to help. Since she’s five she is both supremely unhelpful and not physically able to do a lot to help. I don’t want to discourage her because I want her to enjoy crafty stuff and because our relationship is an on again – off again thing. She can’t decide if she should hate me or adore me and so she jumps back and forth. If she wants to sew with me then it means she isn’t biting me. LOL
Here’s stuff we’ve tried:
1. Having other crafts she can do in the room where I’m sewing.
2. Letting her pick which fabrics I use. I’m working on a scrappy mini trip around the world and I’ve let her chose fabrics from the stack I’ve precut.
But this doesn’t always cut it for her. Either she doesn’t think she’s helping enough or I’m working on a different project with the fabrics already decided. Then she wants to play with pins or other unsuitable activities. Does anyone have other suggestions for when I want to quilt something that doesn’t need help?
I did #1 on the 101 Things in 1001 Days list. We went tubing. I think I might have meant tubing on a river but at this point tubing down a hill will just have to work.
We took Z and went to a ski place with tubing runs. I like these because you don’t have to climb back up the hill. That’s the best part of the whole thing for me.
It has been an odd weekend. Z has been nice. That’s a sad commentary on her usual self when good behavior is met with suspicion. The last time we had her there was much kicking, biting, screaming, etc. There were two major meltdowns. She spent most of the weekend planning on ways to get rid of me. I know this because she told me and because she kept saying that I was stupid and needed to go. This weekend she is following me around like a puppy. She wants to do whatever I’m doing – sewing, walking on the treadmill, taking care of the animals.
The kid was being good last night and this morning. Lately spending time with her has made me doubt my lifelong desire to adopt. But she was being decent and even making an effort to be polite.
Then we went to a kids’ museum and that was going good too. We went to see a film there and five minutes before the end she lost it. Screaming and attacking her dad. She got her butt hauled out of there and out of the museum.
We were headed out to the parking lot with a screaming kid and the SO was asking, “if we adopt, can we request a nice kid?”
“There are usually psych evals to read first.”
During the discussions of the next few minutes he asked if she intended to start being nice to me. She responded with an emphatic
“My mommy doesn’t believe in Heather!”
So there you have it folks. I’m imaginary. Quite possibly the product of the SO’s overactive imagination. I must have imagined meeting his ex since she doesn’t believe in me.
I cracked up. I guess I’m available for sidework as a freelance imaginary friend and might possibly work up to Snuffy on Sesame Street level someday if I’m lucky. Now I just have to break it to my mother that she imagined those hours of labor.
Z rode a horse for the first time yesterday. She has never shown an interest before. We took her to see the horses at the barn and decided that if she wasn’t scared she could ride Prize. I would lead and the SO would hold her so it would be safe. I was on my way out to get Prize out of the pasture when she decided to ride a horse who was already saddled up. They led her around and she liked it. Now I have to get her a helmet so she can ride more if she is going to be interested.
The barn owners said that they had groomed Prize some. They seemed to think that I hadn’t brushed her. I explained that I had been there and brushed her but that she is a pig. They didn’t seemed convinced. Then I brought her in. She looked like she hadn’t been groomed in a month. They were shocked! They kept saying, “We brushed her yesterday…” in wonder. Then they noted that it is under freezing and there shouldn’t be any mud to wallow in. But the fact is that the horse was covered in mud – possible or not.
Yesterday I was dealing with a total kid meltdown. The details don’t matter but she was starting to hit and call me names. Then she reached out and tried to bite me. She bit at my waistband. I was wearing sweats so they stretched. She pulled back with them still in her teeth and slammed the back of her head into a doorknob. She was so shocked that it stopped the whole tantrum.
Sometimes the universe steps in and (literally) smacks you upside the head when you are acting up. Call it instant karma.