by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
Two year-olds do this thing where they really seem to be listening, talking it all in, just getting you. And then they pull the old switcheroo. “I know you want ice cream, Sadie,” I say. “But first we have to have breakfast, which by the way is the most important meal of the day. After we have breakfast, we’ll watch another Dora or two, hit the park, come home, have lunch and then it is highly possible we’ll enjoy a delicious ice cream cone –or delicioso! As Dora would say.
“I want ice cream, mommy. Do you want ice cream?” Sadie hasn’t heard a word I’ve said. Maybe I should’ve paused the TV.
“I love ice cream. Only mommy can’t have any for awhile because right now she can only fit into sweatpants and even in the sweatpants arena she’s pretty much down to one pair. It’s not good. But I’ll be fine with a sugar-free tapioca.” Sadie looks at me and nods like we’re totally on the same page.
“Ice cream is yummy. I wannit” Now she’s fucking with me.
“I know you do, Sadie. Later okay?” The problem is, Sadie will be three in November and she still only weighs twenty two freaking pounds, I actually want nothing more than to give her the damn ice cream. It’s always a victory when she eats something fattening, even though I know intellectually that her caloric intake isn’t having much of an effect on increasing her weight or height and the focus really needs to be on her overall health. Still I’m her mom, and I like to see her eat.
“I want ice cream!” Sadie moans. And then come the tears.
Oh she’s good.
“Sadie. It is morning. Here are some choices of foods that are perfect for the morning…I’m thinking. My skills are down because I haven’t had any coffee yet this morning. Coffee is my biggest mental defense weapon against weak parenting but I’d been too lazy to set the coffee (Work of Art was on) last night so this kind of serves me right.
I open the fridge to forage around for “healthy choices.”
“How about a yogurt?” I ask knowing full well that she lost interest in yogurt right around the time I bought a 24-pack of her favorite brand at Costco.
“NO!” And now there are more sobs and she’s laying on the floor crying. You’d think I announced I was giving her up for adoption.
“All right. All right. Simmer down.” Then I make the mistake of opening the freezer to look and see if I have any turkey sausage left. The ice cream is peeking out from behind the mini pancakes. The box is so bright and cheery there may as well be a spotlight on it.
“ICE CREAM!” Sadie shrieks like a chimp at the zoo. I try to distract her by discussing some non-food related activities we are looking forward to today.
“You want to go to My Gym later today?”
“You know what we need to do? We need to get you and Matilda a new pair of shoes. That will be fun.” I get a piercing no followed by more tears. Has this chick never seen an episode of Sex And the City? How can the idea of shoe shopping make her cry?
“Listen. You and your sister need to have some breakfast or we can’t do anything okay? Now Mattie already had some toast and strawberries, what can I get you?”
“I want ice cubes,” Sadie says pointing to the ice dispenser on the refrigerator door. The kid loves to chew ice which is fantastic since we all know that ice is packed with nutrition and calories. I start thinking about breakfast foods. Are they all sort of dessert related anyway? I mean, waffles? French toast? Pancakes? Any breakfast cereal a kid would eat? Pastries? For God’s sake donuts are practically unlawful in states where people give a shit about things like clogged arteries. What difference does it make really if I give her some ice cream for breakfast? In the scheme of things does it make me a bad parent? Am I setting up terrible habits by giving in? Will she never want to eat healthy food if she knows she can have the alternative? I look at the ingredients: milk, skim milk, sugar, butter…it’s all natural…and hell, milk is the first thing mentioned.
“Forget ice, Sadie. How about a nice big bowl of ice cream?” She wins. She wore me down. Judge all you want but my child will at least get some calories in her little peanut of a body this morning and I’m okay with that.
“NO! I want ice cubes.” And with that, I’m going back to bed.