Friday, August 17, 2007

It happens - 1

As the "Terrible twos" hit around 22m, kutti boy morphed from a gentle (he still is in a lot of ways), no crying, calm baby to this demanding, I stand by my opinion no matter what, scream loudly and I will get what I want child! The switch was both fascinating and exasperating for me. On the one hand I felt like standing back and witnessing my child change from a cuddly sweet baby and take that step into being his own person and express his independence and strong opinions. On the other hand, I just longed for that little child who would never yell or cry, who would/could only at best reject what I give him but not demand in absolute terms exactly what he wanted and wanted NOW!
The new little person in him brought out the impatient side of me. Especially during meal times. I found myself yelling and even getting physical with him - holding both his hands tight so he cannot push the spoon back and shove the spoonful of food into his mouth as he arches his back and faces up while sitting in the high chair.
"You have to eat your mum mum"
"Come on Kanna please don't fight me Kanna, please eat Kanna"
Stand off.
We look at each other in silence for a few moments.
"Let's read the Big book (as he calls Clifford's school house book) and we can eat then".
He sits calmly while I open the book and ask him "hey, where's the Unicorn?"
He points to the U flap and opens it.
I smartly try to now bring the spoon close to his mouth and he is no little fool - he darts away from the spoon and in a cool tone says "No!"
I look at him sternly.
Tension mounts.
"Please don't fight me have to eat now".
That's it. Flare up.
"Are you going to eat now or do you want me to give you a whack now?!".
The yelling match has begun.
I lose it. I hold his hands and now really thrust the spoonful of food in.
Crying ensues.
It's a lost cause. I ask him what he wants.
"Ok, we will have yogurt once you eat your mum mum"
I am ready to cry myself. I look at my mom who is just as annoyed and says "Rendu odhe kudu dee" (give him two!). (if I actually did that she would come and whack me).
Depending on his mood he will suddenly relent - having tasted the first spoonful of food and realizing that he is in fact hungry - will continue to eat and finish the meal without further battling me. But on some days I have to relent and give him yogurt and oatmeal and get it over with.

Last night was one of those battle nights. But it left me feeling miserable. I titled this post "It happens -1" because such incidents keep happening and will continue to happen. The ones that leave you feeling guilty and wrench your heart at night when your child is fast asleep and takes a deep breath and snuggles close to you as you run your finger through his hair.

Kutti boy has taken a fancy to drinking water directly from the Gatorade (which he loves to drink) bottle from which I often drink cold water. Yesterday he kept asking me for more and more water and I didn't keep track of exactly how many times he had me or my mother give him small amounts in that bottle. We have had guests staying with us for a week and the house had been a mad house with three little boys running around trying to expend all their energy. In the middle of this, I lost track of how much water kutti boy was drinking. I gave him his 8oz of milk in the evening and as always at dinner time I started feeding him. It was late and I didn't have the energy or the time to battle him just in case and I decided to give him the easy yogurt meal. He took a few spoonfuls of it and suddenly it turned to battle time again. I lost it. Amidst the noise in the house I just did not have the patience to plead with him. I always manage to give him his meal - something - if not dal rice, at least something that he likes. But his refusal to eat anything made me anxious. Partly also because my husband had told me he would come way past midnight from work because of a deadline. I was worried if Kutti boy went to bed hungry he may wake up and cry and that might wake up the guests as well as baby girl. In my anxiety I fought him real hard. Shoved the food down his throat. He spat it right back. He cried - not in retaliation but more in a manner of someone trapped and feeling helpless. I could not bear it and finally gave up. It is when he also didn't fully drink his night time milk which he normally finishes that I realized that he felt bloated from all that fluid intake. I imagined myself being forced to eat food when my stomach was loaded with a ton of water. I felt so sorry for my little baby who I had fought so hard trying to feed him when he absolutely did not want it. I had let the chaos in the house cloud my understanding of why he was refusing food. Later that night when he went to bed I spent all the time (until my husband got back from work) sleeping right next to his toddler bed (I usually sleep on the side of the crib where baby gir l sleeps) and said a thousand apologies to him even though he had no clue about it.
This morning he woke up and had his morning milk and as always put his little fingers on my cheek and said "Konchi" (meaning petting fondly). My independent little two year old is still a baby after all. No apologies needed Mamma!


SS said...

Hi, I wish parenting were simpler, don't you? :) Am facing similar battles with Ab and just wanted to say, I hear you!
Btw,I did the Indian writing tag last week.

noon said...

SS - thanks. Sorry I meant to comment - I read your writing tag so quickly and logged out as I had to go - I didn't get to it later. It's close to 1.00 am now...unless I give up on sleep somehow it gets so busy - feel bad that I have not commented yet after having tagged you!
And about this comment - yes wish so much parenting were simpler. Read Tharini's lovely post.

Moppet's Mom said...

Ah, these kids. They put your heart through a wringer, don't they? :-)

~nm said...

Ohh boy! I know these days! But if he's been a good eater before, I think this is just a phase that will go away.

But I can totally understand your angst and the guilt for scolding Kuttiboy! We all go though this guilt after we have scolded them..right? :D

Be happy and post some pics of the little one!!!

Tharini said...

Hi....*sigh*....its so easy for me to say been there and done that. BUt that wud just be the tip pf the iceberg. I know how badly you feel about not tuning into him and his exact needs at that time....and it will happen many more times. with all the discpline you can muster, learn from this time and use it to fortify your responses in the future. I am sure we have scope to get better and better at this.

Poppins said...

Oh Noon. I know how you feel. Reading yours and Tharini's posts have made me feel a little scared because I don't think I have the temperament and patience to deal with these kind of things that I can soon expect (and seeing forerunners of) in poppin.

If poppin had been a fussy eater, she would have ended up starving, I have NO patience at all in feeding her. Even now, if she occasionally refuses food, I try for 2-3 mins and then say Podi, don't eat. DH will grab the plate from me and make poppin finish the meal, that's how less patience I have :(

noon said...

MM - sure they do! :)

nm - Well he has never been easy wrt eating. Meaning he won't open his mouth wide and will take an hour to eat lunch. With music and books. This book, that book! Goodness!

Tharini - yes discipline is vital here...mental discipline to control my anger at such moments and really be patient...

Poppins - well I am sure if Poppins were really fussy you would have also changed and become more patient (like me who is not really this* patient normally) for you would have had no choice! But pray she doesn't change. I dont' think she will...

rbdans said...

I can imagine what you are going through. He is too young to articulate and understand if you try and explain him. It will get better with time, but then other mischief's emerge. The good thing is that kutti girl will be a little older by then.
And the part where he was already bloated, that should have been tough on you. But then, its also not so easy to differentiate a normal fussy eating day with a not feeling like eating day. Its a tough call to make.
Reminds of the day I force fed lemon rice into D(she was about 2 years) , who is otherwise a good eater. A little later she started throwing up, did it non-stop for about 3 hours and we finally landed in the ER. Apparently all the fuss was boz she caught a stomach flu :(

BTW, read your post yesterday night, when I came here and read the comment from SS, realised I was tagged too! Honored the tag right away..

Swati said...

All the best :(

Just Like That said...

poor noon. Don't blame yourself too much. It is rather difficult to know when he's fussing and when he's full/genuinely not wanting to eat. Felt sorry for both of you after reading your post. That guilt can be so painful..

That's why you have grandmas around. Lol at grandma asking you to 'randu kudu di' and I totally get her whacking/ making ferocious eyes at you if you went ahead and indulged...

Kodi's Mom said...

oh! I know this a little too well.
food battles have only just begun in our corner. much as I dont want it to be a battle - I want to let him rule the way - but it doesnt work well for us. he doesnt eat enough and stays cranky the rest of the day or wakes up at night.

have faith, this is another challenge. and each day/meal is different. the trick lies in exactly what you said - to not let the day's happenings cloud our judgement. who said being a mother was easy?!

Something to Say said...

Its true, noon. Its takes a village to raise a child - and they expect us mothers to do it single-handedly. And its mostly when one is tired, upset, unwell, busy - that these lil ones choose a moment to put us further to test...
But (deep breath) - this too shall pass (i hope)... keep the faith mommy...big hug to you...

DotMom said...

oh boy. now the real fun starts.. I remember Chip turned into a devil when he was 21 mo

Rohini said...

Isn't it amazing how we blame ourselves so easily? How could you have known that his refusal this time was different from all the other times... we're mothers, not mind-readers...

noon said...

Hi RBdans,

Yes too young to articulate clearly but old enough to fight me hard!
Oh dear stomach bug - that is something I dread really. If I had to deal with something like that now it would be hell.

Swati - Thanks...

JLT - I am glad you enjoyed the bit about my mom and rendu kudu dee - that you got it - she would have whacked me solid had I made him cry even more...

Kodi's mom - well you know some people have it easy for meals - some children are truly good eaters. Lucky moms! Well it is what it is and we have to deal with it!

STS - Thanks. Yes have to keep reminding myself that this too shall pass!

Dotmom - yes 21m - same here...

Rohini - you bet! We really need to become mind readers for these little ones!

the mad momma said...

listen i just read all the food posts and i hear you. i too dont have the patience like poppins mom said and it is such a struggle to shove something down the brat's throat. i have given up now and i feed him whatever he damn well wants. sometimes a hot roti with ghee, sometimes rice fried in ghee with a beaten egg poured into it and mixed well, other times boiled and mashed potatoes with butter, pepper and salt. they arent food for a 2 year old who usually has meals with us, but atleast soemthing goes down and its not junk food. on the other hand, i have noticed that he eats well if we are eating a meal with him. he chats with us and eats from our plates and eats whatever we are eating.

utbtids said...

Oh come on, stomach bloated with water or not, how can water be a nutrition for a baby? That too after all the running around?

May be if you had let him go to bed without feeding him anything and he had woken up in the middle of the night crying from hunger, I am pretty sure that would have made you feel equally bad.

So don't beat yourself over it. I believe there are somethings that you can give in and a few things you have to put your foot down for.

One thing I am trying to enforce on the days Chula skips her food - I let her off with a warning that she will not get anything to eat before her next snack time. If she comes and asks me for something to eat in between, I offer her the food she skipped and I had boxed or her next snack. If she says she wants something like chips or candy, I say no. 'This is the only thing I can offer. You can eat it or you can wait. It is up to you'. It works...sometimes :)