Friday, January 14, 2011


I feel a little sorry for Mr W.  I've made the realization that the mental and emotional energy that I use for finding a mate has a cost, and that cost is that I tend to sort of go on autopilot with the kid sometimes.  Sure, I do all the day-to-day stuff that I'm supposed to; I'm certainly not ignoring him.  However, at those times it feels like I'm not putting energy into pushing him a little bit to do new things and get more out of school, which he sees as such a drag. Now that I've gotten off the online dating, while keeping optimistic and dialing down my urgency, the kid has practically my full attention.

I also acutely felt his absence when he was with his dad for the last few days, when Congresswoman Giffords was shot, and that sweet little girl, the same age as Mr W, died.  Those events shook me up a little, and I was sad that I'm only with Mr W for half of his time.  So I wanted to feel like I'm making the most of the time that I do have with him.  Thus, I instituted sweeping changes to the evening meal protocols, which was met with outrage, OUTRAGE, I tell you, from Mr W, the very person I'm trying to nurture.

I told him that, from tonight on forward, and indefinitely, I want his help fixing his dinner, and I wanted to eat together at the table.  That's it.  You see, I fix two different meals almost all the time when I have him.  I know, I know, this is one area of parenting where I have failed miserably, but I fix him his starch-vegetable-yogurt-chocolate milk, and then I have something else, usually pulled from the freezer that I've made ahead.  It works, but it gets old.  Especially when he can be helping a little on his end.

The first night, he threw an actual tantrum, which was difficult, and took a lot of effort because he was hungry.  He literally stomped across the floor to show his displeasure, and had to go to his room and cool off.  Once we were both at the table, we..... talked a bit.  I happened to have a National Geographic on the table (yeah, that's how we roll at my house), and showed him pictures of Egyptian mummies scientists are doing DNA studies on.  I told him about getting the airline vouchers as compensation for our canceled flight, and we talked about where we could go this summer.

The second night of the new routine was met with initial refusal but then he came around and helped.  He also offered to bring in the milk that had been delivered on the porch.  It'll get easier, and although I answered his questions as to why I was punishing him like this, I ultimately had to say, "Look, you don't have to be OK with this, but you know my intention is not to punish you, but for us to talk more."  "Hmmph".  But he's coming along and I think this will be a good change for us.



  1. Well, of course, Mr. W. is outraged! He got just exactly what he wanted for dinner and didn't have to do a thing to get it. (Sounds good to me!)

    Your idea of engaging him in the preparation of dinner and the two of you having actual conversation during dinner is such a great idea in my book. And I'll bet dollars to donuts that as soon as he gets used to it (remember, change, even for the good, is uncomfortable for all of us), it will be a tradition that he'll remember and treasure well into adulthood.

    Gotta give you a lot of credit, Lady, for continually giving thought to better parenting. Two gold stars on your chart!

  2. Do not feel guilty!

    You are a complete human being with needs beyond what parenting fulfills! Yes, do engage him in meal prep and other tasks around the house. But never discount the fact that you are there, that just your presence in his life is valuable. We all have distractions, the ability to be present in the moment makes life so much more meaningful.

  3. Keep at it, Linda. Remain calm against his storm; teach the kid the joy of cooking and sharing a meal together and the social celebration from food.


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.