Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How the Teddy Graham Won (and Other Toddler Tomfoolery)

We’ve had a couple breakfast battles lately. The boys used to love oatmeal but they haven’t for the past couple months. A few weeks ago we told them they couldn’t go to the store with Brian if they didn’t eat their oatmeal. It was a struggle for awhile but Clark finally took some bites because he wanted to go shopping. Calvin didn’t. So Brian and Clark went to the store. For over two hours Cal refused to take a single bite of the oatmeal with the fresh peaches they loved eating plain. He didn’t sit at the table the whole time, but I wouldn’t let him eat or drink anything else and I told him he couldn’t watch their favorite video series Signing Time. I warmed it up when he said he was ready to take a bite and he’d turn away. Whatever. Finally he took a bite and (of course) loved it and polished off the whole bowl in a couple minutes. I gave myself a mental high five.

Monday it happened again. I cut up banana in little pieces in Cal’s oatmeal and strawberries for Clark. Refused to take a bite. Yep. We were planning to go listen to Mr. Knick Knack at town center with their friends and so I foolishly(?) boxed myself in and told them we weren’t going to see Mr. Knick Knack unless they took just one bite of oatmeal. An hour passed. I sat there at the table with them for over an hour as they refused to take a single bite. I tried to be calm. I sipped my coffee. I read a cookbook. We talked about the weather. I took deep breaths. I was in it to win it even though I didn’t want to be. They moaned, they wailed, they laughed, they changed the subject. Finally Clark acknowledged defeat and humbly took a bite. Shocker, he then took a bunch of bites because EVERYONE KNOWS OATMEAL WITH MILK AND STRAWBERRIES IS DELICIOUS. Arg. He elicited loud praise from me, and even Cal said, “Sharky did a great job!” but he refused to take a bite of his. What to do? Clark wanted to see Mr. Knick Knack, and as much as I wanted to leave Calvin at home in his chair with his nose in oatmeal, I had to take him too. I packed up the oatmeal and a spoon.

Oatmeal Standoff, mid squirms
When we got there I ran into a friend who usually has snacks and told her not to give Cal any until he ate his oatmeal bite. However, I didn’t get the message to another friend in time and he had climbed up in her lap and had a couple Teddy Grahams before I could turn around. HORRORS! I didn’t let him eat anymore and whipped out my tiny container of oatmeal and a spoon. He of course refused. In the blink of an eye she dug a Teddy Graham into the oatmeal and served up a nice pile of it on the cracker to Cal. Of course he ate it. Who wouldn’t eat it served by a pretty lady who had not been raging a battle of wills with you for the last couple hours, and on a Teddy Graham?

So that is how Cal can beat me even when he’s not actually beating me.

Yesterday morning it was eggs and bacon and bananas. First of all the charming part: when I took the raw bacon out of the wrapper and held up two pieces to show the boys, Calvin said, “like a butterfly!” It did look a little like a butterfly because the strips were pretty wide and I was holding them up from one end and parallel to each other. That’s where the charm ran out. They ate their bacon fine. They had to be coaxed to eat bites of their eggs by being promised another bite of bacon. I left the room for a tenth of a second and when I came back all the eggs and bananas were on the floor and the little boogers were giggling. As I stormed toward them, Clark piped up, “How about a little Jimmy Buffet?” Small brain explosion. Instead I dragged the garbage can over to the table and made them get down and pick up the carnage. Of course that was nearly impossible because they kept changing the subject and wanting to look in the garbage can and talk about the banana peel and the old coffee grounds and Jimmy Buffet. Finally, after I had managed to get them to pick up a few of the bigger chunks, my friend Gen came over to go for a walk and when I turned around she was picking up the eggs.

Egg carnage
Good thing I have helpful friends or else I would not know the power of a Teddy Graham and would have a house covered in eggs. I'm not sure it's worth fighting battles over food...but it feels like I need to.

I’m praying for a better breakfast day this morning. I could always go the easy route and march them across the street to the bagel shop. But the free-bagel-upon-purchase-of-a-beverage coupon has run out so it’s less tempting. Ice cream? Teddy Grahams? Mimosas?


  1. I don't know how you do it Dawn. You are amazing. I totally get it that you have to follow on the promise when one twin performs but the other does not. It's tough! I love how you brought the oatmeal to Mr. Knicks Knack. : ) that's dedication. You are great. I learn so much from your example. The least I can do is help you clean up eggs.

  2. Thanks! I learn from you too. We twin moms have to share all our secrets or our kids would really be in trouble. :)

  3. I feel like the unknowing Teddy Graham Siren in this tale. Ha,ha, ha! I had assumed since you were there they had both eaten some, I didn't mean to interfere in your battle, however, I'd like to be seen as an expert in Conflict Resolution with both parties walking away (somewhat) happy...ha, ha, ha...


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