As many of you know, I go to work in the mornings after dropping Cookie Bear off at pre-school for 9 am. This means I work later as I usually don’t get to work until 9:30-9:45. As a result, I miss dinner most nights since I don’t get home until 6-6:30.
Well, last week I had to come home early from work to relieve the sitter because Mama Bear had her “Back to School Night.” Therefore, I had to get dinner ready for the three kids.
Peanut Bear and Junior Bear, both in first grade, are good little eaters. As long as they don’t have a snack too close to meal time, they’ll eat everything in sight. Cookie Bear, well she’s a different story. See, she didn’t get her nickname because she liked vegetables.
Anyway, that night I made chicken cutlets with a side of broccoli (okay, you got me, I didn’t actually make the chicken cutlets, but I did warm them up). At first the twins moaned, but ate. Cookie Bear, well, it wasn’t that easy. Once she saw the food, she immediately started crying, saying, no yelling, “I don’t like chicken! I don’t like this (the broccoli)!”
The outburst and defiance continued for a few more minutes and when it became clear none of us were going to eat in peace, I sent her to the naughty step. A few minutes later I went to get her and explained that she had to finish everything on her plate if she wanted to join us in playing the game Trouble after dinner.
Trouble… huh…I should have seen this coming.
Anyway, as soon as she sat down, she said she was going to eat the chicken, but not the “green stuff.”
Peanut Bear tried to show her that it wasn’t that bad, even saying, “Look, I don’t like it either, but broccoli will help you grow big and strong.”
Amazing how Peanut Bear is like a little mom.
Well, Peanut and Junior Bear finished their food and went downstairs to play. I stayed with Cookie and true to her word she finished her chicken and left the broccoli. She sat there just starring at it. I reminded her she wasn’t going to be able to play Trouble if she didn’t finish it and I started to clean up.
It was at this point something incredible happened. Something I never thought in my wildest dreams would ever occur.
As I was at the sink, Cookie Bear got out of her seat and went straight to the naughty step. When I turned around and didn’t she her and then found her at the naughty step, my heart broke for just a moment.
Here was a four-year-old girl who was willing to not only give up her chance to play a game with her brother, sister and dad, but would rather sit at the naughty step voluntarily than eat her broccoli.
Unbelievable! If the Green Giant could see this now his “Yo-ho-ho” would be more like “Oh-no-no.” On the other hand, the Keebler Elves sure would’ve been proud, that’s for sure.
Think about that. Cookie Bear would rather sit by herself at the naughty step, a punishment, than eat broccoli.
Once again, I didn’t anticipate that response and was left at a loss. Why is nothing easy? Just eat the broccoli!
I told her she didn’t have to sit at the naughty step, because she didn’t do anything wrong, but she stayed there until her sister came upstairs with the game Trouble. Cookie then got off the step, but I had to stay true to my word and she wasn’t able to play.
I left the broccoli out on the table in front of her in case she changed her mind. But the strong willed little girl also stayed true to her word and 45 minutes later (let me tell you Trouble is NOT a quick game) the broccoli was still there. And she was fine with not playing the game.
I did let her have a bowl of cereal before bed because I didn’t want her to go to bed hungry, but that was it. I don’t know if that was right or wrong to do, but I have to give that little girl props. She stuck to her guns.
A week later I still can’t believe it. She would rather go to the naughty step and watch us have fun instead of eating broccoli!
John McMullen on 97 3 ESPN FM 3 24 15
4 hours ago