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3.26.2013

STOP WHINING!


Whining and fussing don't sit well with me.  I have some tolerance and understanding of it with very small children.  Some is the narrative parameters of it though.  Obviously whining and fussing is a human reaction to things we don't like, don't want to do, feel overly inconvenienced over, don't get our way over, find too difficult, etc...

I was too tough a parent when my daughter was young.  Like most parents, if I could have a do over I would lighten up a bit over some things.  Hannah would tell you she feared me and was intimidated by me sometimes growing up.  That literally causes me to laugh as I just don't see myself as intimidating, but I have had a few people tell me that as well.  My inward view is out of focus evidently.  She would also tell you that I have shed some of that intensity with age.  Possibly by the time I'm 90 I might be about normal in that area!

Hannah did not whine and fuss much past 2 years old.  She was a colicky baby, allergic to milk, troubled with strep and ear infections for the first few couple years of life so I understood a bit of the whining and fussing of a child who just didn't feel swell all the time.  I though did not tolerate whining over not liking something, not wanting to do something, not listening.

I am a bit of a health nut.  It started long before disease hit my body.  When raising Hannah I wanted her to eat things that were healthy.  I wanted to create in her a love of healthy foods that would take her into her adult world. 

Sitting at the table in her booster seat at 3 years old I placed 2 smaller trees of steamed broccoli in front of her.  It was part of the meal that particular day. She claims she can remember this event.  I think she only remembers it because I have told her the story time and time again.  She did not want to eat that broccoli, declaring with passion that she didn't like it.  I didn't care.  I mean that just like it sounds when you read it.  I did not care that she "thought" she didn't like it, she was going to eat it.  The rule was that you had to have two regular sized bites of things you declared you didn't like.  Period.  No getting around it.  End of story.  You could sit there until the cows came home, but two bites had to be eaten.


Hannah began to cry over having to eat two bites of broccoli.  It was a whiny, hoping to wear me down and let the rule slide kind of whine and cry.  She was too young and inexperienced to win against a pro like me or know fully that I would not be dissuaded.  She found that out clearly as she got a bit older though.  Clearly she soon learned my response for her coming back to me again and again hoping for a different answer to her request was, "Hannah, have I ever, with your asking and re-asking, changed my mind and said yes?" 

Crying and eating are a deadly combination.  Her whining had now escalated to tears and snuffles and gulps of air as she frantically attempted to halt the broccoli consumption.  I calmly told her no matter the crying she still had to have two full bites.  She painfully and dramatically, with sobs, put one bite of broccoli in her mouth and attempted to chew.  The crying shovels had set in. Between the dislike of what was in her mouth, along with a defiance of having to go against her own will, she began to gag herself. 

Now a normal mom, and no doubt a smart one, might have called it quits there. I did not.

It was two bites.  Not the end of the world.  She was grand standing like any kid would.  "Hannah," I said, "You can throw that up or gag on it but you will still have to eat it."  I had a moment of weakness inside my head, would I really make her eat a piece of broccoli she had gagged back up?  YES!  I had to.  I wanted her to eat good things.  At three years old your strong will surfaces over just about everything legitimate along with everything not.

She continued to cry but her crying shovels started to abate.  She knew I meant business - that I would make her eat two bites irregardless of the crying and gagging.  I started to win the battle of the wills but wondered if she would forever forth see broccoli has a negative food.  I don't really know why that day she was whiny and fussy about two bites of broccoli.  There lies some great measure of irrationalism in any three year old, along with a few adults I know.

I though cannot stand whining in adults.  All of us have things in our lives that are yucky (the broccolis of life).  Some of those things are inconveniences causing us to have to slow down temporarily, wait on something or someone longer than we want, take a back seat to our immediate needs for the betterment of someone else.  We get minor illnesses, get in fender benders with our cars, need a new roof at an unplanned time.  Stop whining and just eat the two bites
and move on I say!!

Hannah likes broccoli now.  Broccoli salad, steamed broccoli, broccoli soup, chicken divan with rice and broccoli.  I'd like to think that my tough parenting scared her to a love of it.

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