Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Maddie Makes A Sandwich

Recently Maddie’s been rather indifferent about food – and by “food” I mean anything but dessert. There is absolutely no ennui in her attitude towards sugar. But for regular meals, she’ll take all morning to decide what she wants for breakfast – half a bowl of cereal – then procrastinate for an hour over lunch, then eat a decent dinner (perhaps because she doesn’t get to choose that meal). This has left me saying, “What do you want for lunch, Maddie?” over and over again, only getting an answer from her right after I’ve sat down and put my feet up to eat my own lunch.

So a few days ago, I finally said, “Maddie, if you do not tell me what you want for lunch in the next five minutes, I will not make anything for you. If you are hungry, you will need to provide for yourself. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I heard from behind a book.

Okay then.
Fifteen minutes later as I was in the midst of a very nice ham sandwich, Maddie said, “Ok, I guess I’ll have a ham sandwich.”

I looked at my sandwich, containing the last two slices of ham. I looked at her expectant puppy face, staring at my lunch. And I held my ground.

“Maddie, it’s too late to have me make you anything. It’s been much longer than five minutes and I will not be fixing you any food until dinner.”

Maddie sat down . She stared at me in disbelief.

And then she crumpled into tears.

Maddie sobbed and sobbed, the heartbreaking cry of a child who has just found out that her parents will not always be there for her. Bewildered, wounded, she sobbed for twenty minutes. Maddie begged, pleaded, cajoled, every verb she could employ. To her credit, she never yelled or got nasty – just couldn’t believe Mommy said “no”.

“But I don’t know how to make anything myself! I’m just a kid! You know that!” she kept saying.

“Baby, if you want to make a lunch, I will happily talk you through it. But I will not make it for you.”

The sobs eventually subsided and her stomach finally forced her to acquiesce to my conditions. The following ten minutes sounded something like this:

“Go to the cupboard and get out the bread.”

“I can’t see the bread!”

“It’s on the shelf right at eye-level, on the right.”

“It’s stuck!”

“Use two hands to get it down.”

“Where’s everything else?”

“Open the refrigerator. Pull out the cheese drawer. Take out the cheddar slices.”

“I can’t find them! They’re not in here!”

“Look through the drawer. Lift out the gouda and the parmesan and you’ll see it.”

“Oh. There it is.”

And so on.

We talked through getting out the mayo and the ham, finding a knife, spreading the mayo, placing the cheese and a piece of ham donated from my sandwich – every single freakin’ step. And the whole time, I stayed patient and encouraging.

Yes, I am patting myself on the back.

As Maddie continued to work on her sandwich, you could see her attitude change from sullen to proud, reluctant to proprietary. I instructed her on how I put on mustard, and she said, “I prefer it this way – you always use too much on my sandwich.”

Okay then.

Maddie finally cut her sandwich – with help from me – and sat down to eat it, by then beaming from ear to ear with a sense of accomplishment. And then when Daddy came into the room after lunch Maddie said, feigned nonchalance oozing from her pores, “Daddy, what did you have for lunch? I just made myself a sandwich.”

I praised her loudly, encouraging her a lot and building her up. Maddie had crossed another milestone on the road to self-sufficiency and you could see how aware she was of what she’d done, and how completely she’d forgiven me for drawing that line. And two great things came out of this:

The next time I said, “You need to tell me in the next five minutes or you’ll fix your own meal,” she answered immediately. That was great.

But then yesterday, after she’d requested a smoothie for lunch and I’d blended up several fruits and some almond milk and she’d gulped it down, she got up, strolled towards the cupboard, and got out the loaf of bread.

“I think,” she said casually, “that I’ll make myself a sandwich. Just a half a sandwich. I’m still feeling a bit hungry.” She smiled at me.

“I can do it myself. Don’t get up.”

Make a child a sandwich and she’ll eat for a meal. Teach her to make her own sandwich, and you’ll get to sit down a lot longer at lunch time. It’s a beautiful thing.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.