We seem to have hit another phase of parenting: the battle of the wills.
Yesterday evening our plan was to get together with some friends and walk down to an ice cream shop together. But, as we were wrapping up dinner and getting ready to go, Lila refused to eat her broccoli. It was just one really little piece. I even cut the stem short for her. She wouldn’t eat it.
“Lila, you have to eat that broccoli before you can have any ice cream.” We had made the fateful step. You can’t take something like that back.
To make a long story short, a solid hour later we had met up with our friends and walked to the ice cream shop, and Lila still had a wet piece of broccoli in her mouth.
“Swallow your broccoli, honey,” had become a mantra. “Eat your broccoli or you can’t have any ice cream.”
Lila was taking it quite well. Every so often she would point at someone else’s dessert, and we would answer with our mantra. She would then look around, unphazed. She danced, looked at birds, and played with Josh, the young son a couple we were with.
On the walk back, she rode on my shoulders and sang her own version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” through her mouth full of broccoli.
Finally she showed us her empty mouth when I took her down from my shoulders. We cheered that she had eaten the broccoli. I hoped she would forget about the ice cream.
When we were getting ready to get back in the van, she said to me quietly, “May I have ice cream, please?” Very polite, like we had taught her.
I kneeled down and looked into her eyes. “Honey, it’s too late for ice cream. If you had finished your broccoli at the ice cream shop, you could have had some. We are not there anymore, so it is too late to get ice cream, okay”
“Okay daddy.” Her eyes started to get a little watery. I could see that was trying not be upset. I pulled her into a hug.
“I’m sad that you can’t have ice cream.”