Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Food: The Great Equalizer

I don't get it. How can two bites of food completely change a child?

Kids are at computer camp this week, and they're really enjoying it. It's a long day: drop off at 9:00 and pick up at 5:00. The day is busy, busy, busy. They're playing, working, enjoying campus, filming, and eating. Apparently they do just fine until 4:59.

Then at 5:00 the cloud descends and starts raining toxic waste on my kids. They get in the car and immediately start bickering. They pick each others' words apart, blame each other for non-existent perceived slights, and throw invisible daggers at each other. I look in the rearview mirror and see three small black clouds hovering over their heads. I turn on the audio book, crank it up to drown out the squabbling, and drive home as quickly as safely possible (although at this point a car wreck would almost be a welcomed diversion). 

We make it home, the kids losing their interest in fighting because they were distracted by the story. But once home, we have to turn off the story to make it into the house, and the squawking starts again, in the ten feet from the car to the front door. 

In my mind I'm thinking, these kids haven't eaten in five hours, so their brains aren't functioning properly. Get some food in them so they'll turn into humans again. But one of the problems is that they're so far gone over the crabiness threshold that they can't even think clearly enough to realize they're hungry. They each insist that they're not.

G is throwing things around, sniping at every warm body that enters his personal space (which reaches out to about fifteen feet at this point). S is harping on every word that someone else utters, whether it's intended for her ears or not. T holes up in his room, slamming the door and threatening some unknown offense against the family that "we'll find out about tomorrow morning." Yikes.

By some miracle, I'm able to get two bites of food - not great food, mind you, but food nonetheless - in each of their mouths. (There's a whole long story about homemade milkshakes that involves not enough of one flavor of ice cream for those who want it, coupled with refusal to compromise, that I won't bore you with. But let me just say for the record that I simply don't understand the logic of refusing a white chocolate, raspberry truffle milkshake simply because there wasn't enough intense chocolate for two people. But that's just me.)

Two bites. That's all it takes. By the third bite - or slurp, as the case may be - they're sitting on the couch, draped all over each other, watching a "Bizarre Foods" together (ironic, huh?), yucking it up and thoroughly enjoying each others' company.

I shouldn't be surprised. They've been this way since before they weaned. I guess it's just more noticeable now that they're older, louder, bigger, and more practiced at being obnoxious.

Thank God for ice cream.

If you liked this post, you might like "A Sure-Fire Way to Stop the Bickering"

Photo of ice cream by joyosity from here


  1. omg, are u for real, camille?! we had the same episode yesterday, down to the ice cream, but minus the audio book and car bickering with each other. My children do not bicker with each other during protein deficiencies - they whine to/at *me* ! literally 2 bites later, the "I don't want to be a twin anymore" was replaced with major sibling bonding. Go figure.

    ps: why don't you have snacks for them at pickup time? :-))) just kidding. That is what I have gotten into the habit of doing, and it does not work all the time. Sometimes the whine-fest can be that I brought the wrong snack, tsk tsk how could I not read their minds??

  2. It's so true. Yesterday C. threw a major fit leaving Greta's house, something she is prone to do lately anyway because she wants to stay forever at {insert friend/relative's name here]'s house. But it was particularly bad yesterday and I realized halfway into it, as we backed unceremoniously out the door, that between sitting at a long dentist appointment for her sister and then claiming she wasn't hungry at Greta's (because she was too distracted by their toys) she was on a major blood sugar crash. "She's having a blood sugar moment," I chirped. And why, oh why, do they refuse food when it's such a quick and logical fix??? :-)