I have been enjoying this summer. Probably as close as I will get to having "Camp CowGranny"! We have been to so many public playgrounds and parks that I have lost count. We have been taking part in the summer reading program through the local library. We have been swimming both at the local pool, and at small creek that allows public access to its swimming hole. Ice skating, dog walking, firefly catching have all had a place. We have made doll clothes and colored in coloring books and sketched freehand, and drawn on the sidewalks with chalk. In digging out the crafting supplies (I can't believe I don't have ANY glue!) I came across the pattern blocks and the magnet building toy. This sparked a whole new indoor play interest.
It seems there have been too few hours to squeeze in everything we wanted to do! On Saturday, we are meeting Becky. The plan is to camp overnight, and do some hiking, before she takes Kimber, Connor, and Alana back to her house. So... we have camping to look forward to this weekend.
All of this fun has been tempered with a few chores. The food still has to get cooked, the laundry done, the dishwasher loaded and unloaded. Floors get swept and mopped, or vacuumed, beds made up. Grass has had to be mowed and the garden watered. For the most part, computer time has been very limited. Not only for the kids, but for myself as well.
I am finding it to be very true that kids not only need boundaries, but they want them. They need to know that there are rules and consequences. They need to know that you absolutely mean what you say, and that you follow through with your word. This has been REALLY hard on ME! One child is fond of stating she doesn't like what I have prepared for a meal, and that she will not eat it. She wants ice cream instead. Sorry. If you don't eat your meal, you do not get treats. Before heading out skating, I was informed that she didn't CARE that she would not be getting ice cream, she was NOT going to eat her (1/4) sandwich. She refused to even taste it. "Skating is hard exercise. You get hungry." "I don't care. I WON'T eat that!" So... it was wrapped up and put away for supper. It was so HARD to not buy her ice cream when I got it for all the other kids. Seemed "mean"... but it was in fact not rewarding her poor decision. Once back home, she was suddenly still "not hungry" when offered her sandwich. (Had she eaten it then, I may of taken her for a cone!) Supper rolled around with pizza. "Pizza is my favorite!" "I am so glad! You can have some as soon as you finish your sandwich." (Which had remained untasted.) Negotiations didn't work. She eventually decided that I really, truly did mean she had to eat her entire (1/4) sandwich. She had to throw her fits and whine and cry in the bedroom, where we could ignore her tantrum. She was free to go play, watch cartoons with Umpaw, whatever. But, nothing else to eat until she ate the sandwich. Once she did, finally eat the sandwich, she was hungry enough she ate 2 (or three?) pieces of pizza, and a big dish of ice cream.
"How did we get her to eat?"
There you go. We didn't give in to a child refusing to eat what is good for her just because she didn't want what was offered. Yes, it was hard on us. Yes, I felt bad at having to be so unbending. But it is something that HAS to be done. I am hoping we have her long enough that she will start eating good foods without the battle. I think she is often surprised that she really DOES like most of what I set before her. Once she actually tries a food, she has come back for more. The "battle" is in getting her to TRY it. We started out with a "two bite" policy... but that had to be set aside. (Two bites of each food, then dessert. ) She was filling up on dessert. Now, if she ONLY eats two bites of her food, she only gets two bites of dessert. If she eats a reasonable portion, she can have a whole dessert.
Back to my topic on needing rules and boundaries... Kids need to know you love them. Even when they are being a pill, and they are testing your limits. You don't love them ONLY when they are being good, you love them all the time. You love them when they are refusing to taste mashed potatoes... "Yes, I can give you a hug and calm you down." (But you still have to eat your potatoes.) Affection is not a way to manipulate someone.