I just witnessed the most epic temper tantrum of all time. In my kitchen. By my own kid. It all started when I got him up from his nap. That sounds like I woke him up, but I’m not completely stupid. I didn’t do that, and I never would. He asked me to carry him out of bed and into the living room. He does this from time to time, and Justin and I get confused because the kid has NO PROBLEM getting out by himself when he is supposed to be napping. Anyway, I digress.
Once we got to the living room, a steady stream of crying and whining ensued. I am used to this because, on a pretty regular basis, Harrison wakes up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed. No worry, though, I just let him cry it out until he’s awake, and he’s usually back to himself in no time at all. Today, the ruckus seemed to be going on a little longer, and then he asked me for something to eat. Ahh, I thought, this must be it. My kid is hungry. That was going to be a simple fix, because he had barely touched his lunch, and I saved it for him in the fridge. Thoughtful of me, I know.
I set the plate down, and he took one glance at it from across the room and melted into a pool of tears. Again. He kept wailing, “I want you to feed me!”, which puzzled me for several minutes. After reassuring him that I had, in fact, fed him, and his food was on the table, he was still inconsolable. He went on and on telling me for at least fifteen minutes that I needed to feed him. He did this in a nearly unintelligible manner, with tears streaming down his face, all slumped over in a fit of unhappiness.
It then dawned on me that he wanted me to FEED him. Like, spoon feed him. You know, pick up a utensil, shovel food on there, and put it in his mouth. Once I had this puzzle solved, I started laughing. I have not spoon fed this child in ages. He will be three next month. He is perfectly capable of doing this on his own, yet he was so angry I would not oblige that he even started hitting and kicking me.
He was so adamant that he could not feed himself that I had to think. Had I forgotten? Perhaps I just dreamed that he is an able-bodied and very independent individual, and now I’m awake and this is reality. Do I regularly spoon feed my toddler? No, that can’t be right. I glanced over at 14 month old Ella, who was shoving food in her mouth faster than I could cut it up, a trick I KNOW she learned from her big brother. I stopped second-guessing myself, and insisted that he was that hungry, he could eat on his own. I did the very best I could do to stifle my laughter, but I simply refuse to give in to such helplessness. I taught sixth grade for ten years-I know what happens to kids whose parents give in to learned helplessness. It doesn’t end, and you’re then stuck in a cycle of doing everything for your kid, forever.
I have included for you a video clip of this ridiculous event. In case you’re wondering, he never did eat his lunch, but he had no problem eating a cookie on his own later in the day.