I would like to argue that the crockpot might be the single most amazing invention ever. You throw some random things in a pot, turn it on, and… 8 hours later you have a meal. Also, only one pot to clean.
So, this morning, soon after we finished our blueberry pancakes, I threw a roast, some potatoes and carrots and other random things into a pot, turned it on and announced, “Dinner is done!” I then strutted around the rest of the day, playing with kids, going for a run, playing with kids, getting our Christmas tree, hiding from kids, doing some laundry, playing with kids and watching some football.
Finally, it was time for dinner. I sliced some beef and cubed it for the kids. I threw it into a bowl with broth and carrots and potatoes. We placed it in front of the kids and TheMonk, after taking a look at the culinary masterpiece in front of him, promptly announced, “I’m not hungry!” In case we hadn’t heard the first time, he announced it several more times. “I’m not hungry!”
Swee’Pea, on the other hand, after announcing she wasn’t crazy about potatoes, ate just about everything anyway. She’s a veteran eater who’s savvy enough to know that the quicker you eat the dinner, the quicker you get dessert. She finished right around the same time that TheMonk, realizing brownies were for dessert, decided that maybe he’d give the dinner a try after all. He ate a few carrots and a few bites of beef and then asked if he could be done. We explained he had to eat the last two cubes of beef in his bowl and then he could be done.
So, a few seconds later, I watched as he casually scooped both cubes of beef out of the bowl with his bare had and held them clenched in his chubby little fingers. “I’m done.” he announced.
Um, no. As I explained to him that he had to eat the beef now in his hand, I also explained that it was not okay to lie. He knew he had been busted and his big brown eyes started to well up with tears. He’s a sensitive little guy who hates to let us down and he knew he let us down. But guilt alone didn’t push him over the edge.
Not until his mother said, “I think he should only get half a dessert.” (Meanwhile, his sister, seemingly oblivious to the drama taking place, is happily chowing down on her brownie.) This news from Mommy is more than he can bear.
And he begins to cry. Loudly. Tears stream down his chubby cheeks as he mourns the loss of his parents trust and half a brownie. My heart breaks for him but I know he has to learn this lesson.
Finally, he calms down enough to begin eating his tiny brownie. I come over and remind him that I love him and rub his back while giving his tear-stained cheek a soft kiss. I also remind him that I don’t want him to lie to me again. He rubs his hair against my face and I know he feels badly.
I kiss him again and walk away to let him finish his brownie. And I wonder how this parenting thing keeps getting harder.
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