Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sasquatch and the Stubborn Child

Over the years, I've heard far-fetched tales of parents who have compliant kids - you know, the ones who hold hands to cross the street, and don't run away in the grocery store. The kind of kid who would never take a stranger's hand and walk away from her mother in the middle of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (cough, Kyra, cough).

To me, stories of Sasquatch seem more believable. Because not a single one of my children is that way. They are, to a one, stubborn and opinionated and not-to-be-swayed in any matter, large or small.

(I'm pretty sure they get it from their dad, genetically speaking.)

Here's an example. It might seem funny to you. I'm still working to find the humor.

There is a child in Ainsley's pre-school class who is allergic to peanuts. So the entire classroom is a nut-free zone. Okay, fine, I get it. But Ainsley doesn't. The only food that is acceptable for lunch time consumption, in her opinion, is peanut butter and jelly.

I tried, when school started, to talk up the cheese sandwiches. "All the kids in PK2 eat cheese," I told her enthusiastically, and "Now you can be just like Shay - he loves cheese sandwiches!"

She was skeptical. But for the first week, she went along with it, and she ate the cheese sandwich.

The second week, she didn't complain. But she didn't eat the sandwich, either. It came back every night, unwrapped, uneaten, shriveled up in the bottom of the Hello Kitty lunch pail.

The third week, she mounted a protest. "I want peanut butter," she'd wail every morning when looking in her lunch box. And every morning I explained, to no avail, why she couldn't have it.

Yesterday morning, she peered into the depths of the Hello Kitty lunch box, extracted the sandwich and put it back in the refrigerator. "I only eat peanut butter," she announced.

Intense diplomatic negotiations ensued, during which both sides presented the facts as they saw them, and the sandwich made it back into the lunch box.

Ten minutes later, she put the sandwich on the counter. "I don't want this," she repeated. But again, I convinced her that cheese is yummy! And gives you strong bones! And all the big kids eat it!

She reluctantly put the sandwich back in her lunch box. I patted myself on the back for avoiding a meltdown, kissed her goodbye and put her on the bus for school.

Flash forward a couple of hours. I'm happily working away at my desk in the Embassy when my email lights up.

It's a message from Ainsley's teacher, Miss Nadia.

And it's titled: Ainsley's Lunchbox.

"Good morning," it begins. "Ainsley's lunchbox was empty this morning. She only had a chocolate milk. We took her to the cafeteria and bought her a sandwich. Please make sure she always has something to eat for snack and lunch because..."

The message went on from there, but I couldn't read further because I was preoccupied with slamming my head repeatedly into my desk.

Apparently my stubborn little angelbaby decided to mount a hunger strike and tossed her lunch out the window of the bus in protest against the inhumane rules of PK2 lunch hour.

You hold that precious little bundle in the hospital and tears come to your eyes at the miracle that is 5 toes and 5 fingers and one squashy small nose.

And you have no idea that one day that small creature will have the ability to humiliate you and bring you to tears over the contents of a sparkly pink lunch box.

We talked last night, Ainsley and I, and we agreed that maybe she can have her peanut butter sandwich for breakfast from now on if she'll bring the cheese sandwich to lunch. I didn't tell her she has to eat the cheese sandwich - god knows I can't win that battle - but at least if she brings it, the teacher can't accuse me of neglect.

And this morning I went to the store to stock up on yogurt cups and foil-wrapped cheese triangles and string cheese in the vague hope that this will entice her to eat something that I pack in there.

Meanwhile, I cling to the hope that some day, when she is the CEO of a major company, or the dictator of a small island country, this stubbornness of hers will serve her well.


Z. Marie said... [Reply]

Oh my goodness, this so sounds like something that would happen at my house.

Jen said... [Reply]

Oh, that's just funny...of course, not the part about the email from the teacher...but I can just see that sandwich flying out the window...

Danielle said... [Reply]

Totally understand why it's not funny to you but it's hilarious to me! I too can't ever imagine Will wanting to hold my hand when we are out walking. As we say euphemistically "he has preferences." Very, very strong preferences. :)

Sara said... [Reply]

I'm only going to say - I miss A! Really truly miss her!

LeesOnTheGo said... [Reply]

Please tell us you wrote back to that teacher and told her that ~ No, duh! ~ you know your child needs more than chocolate milk for lunch. Oh what a clever girl you have. Oh, what a clever school it would be to find a way to accomodate the peanut butter lovers AND the allergic as well.


Kate said... [Reply]

This may sound ridiculous- but really, no more ridiculous than the mental image of the flying cheese sandwich.

Have you tried hummus sandwiches?

Hubby is (deathly) allergic to peanut butter, and he's a big fan. Plus it has the parental bonus of being a jar of dunk-and-schmear for prep.

Sadie said... [Reply]

Oh this made me laugh. In a sorry for you sort of way, of course. My own stubborn response would be to indignantly reply to the email and blaming it on said stubborn child even before the facts were known. Perhaps this why I don't have children yet...
In other news, my captcha reads "only hef". Weird.

Sandy said... [Reply]

Well, if it make you feel any better, I have a friend whose four year old announced that she wouldn't poop for the family vacation that they went on. She didn't...for more than four days.
She is a very lovely and accomplished young woman today.

Kristen said... [Reply]

I have to say, this post was cracking me up! My 5 year old has a nut allergy also and sun butter is an awesome replacement for PB. It is made from sun flower seeds and it looks and tastes very similar to PB. In fact I have freaked out all of her teachers because I have sent that in and I have gotten quite a few notes home reminding me that it is indeed my child that is allergic so why did I send PB for her. I don't know what kind of pouch you guys have there, but maybe you can order it. And if not, well, maybe she'll learn to love cheese!

Just US said... [Reply]

Hahahaha! Okay, I should stop laughing because this event or one just like it is mostly likely lurking in my future.

Please. Write your own stuff.