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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

House Sandwiches...unfortunately don't solve everything...Sigh...

I used to think that house sandwiches solved all my lunch-time woes.  In fact, I was all set to write my blog post today about the "Miracle of House Sandwiches." But that would have been a candy coated lie.  The truth is, that only sometimes do house sandwiches create miracles. I'm starting to learn that kids are fickle--okay...maybe not starting to learn, it just gets reinforced on a daily basis. Some things just can't be solved by changing the shape of your bread. Kids are smart! They know that just because a bagel has a hole in it, doesn't make it a super frosted doughnut.

Here's how my lunchtime went yesterday...

"Sydney, you want grilled cheese today?"

"Sure, Mom!" enthusiastically.

"What about you, Colin?"

Grumble grumble.


In a totally sour tone, "No, Mama."

"What's up, Colin?"

Then, for no apparent reason, Colin decides now would be a great time to throw a torrential fit on the grandest of scales.

So I thought, "Self, let's make these grilled cheese special...let's make house sandwiches." Surely that would make everything all's worked in the past!  I smiled and mentally patted myself on the back with pride, and thought, "I'm such a good mom, everything will be better in an instant."

And in the beginning, things were off to a great start! Sydney totally got into it, she was thrilled!  "We haven't had those in sooooo long, Mom! Can I help you cut the bread?"

Together we split one sandwich in rectangles and one in triangles and swapped shapes. I set the plates on the table with perfectly toasted, nearly symmetrical house sandwiches equipped with a chimney and a door, bonus! They were cute if I do say so myself, and reminded me of splitting house sandwiches with my sister when we were younger, and having to agree on the same kind of sandwich.  We usually chose chopped olive sandwiches or PB&J--but never mixed together of course.

Did I mention that Colin was still on the floor screaming and crying the whole time? Ever since I started giving him treats for potty training, he thinks he can just have sweets all the time--it's so frustrating! So if food isn't sweet or candy, he thows a fit. Of course I explain the importance of eating food that's good for him.  He often replies, "it's not good for me, Mama."

He used to eat everything.  But then one night someone flipped a switch, and now he doesn't like it if it's slippery, if it's too hot (even when it's already cooled off,) he won't touch any food that is black (except Oreos.)  Truthfully, he doesn't like a lot of anything right now.

The standard response at dinner time has become, "I don't wike it, Mama."
"But You haven't even tried it, Colin."

Oh, and you better not make his toast too brown because that will set him off too. If I serve him French cut green beans he freaks, but yet he gobbles up the "normal" ones..

In fact, the word "normal" is one of his favorites right now.
"I just want "normal" water, Mama."   (meaning no ice.)
"I just want "normal" cereal." (meaning no milk.)
"I just want "normal"shoes." (meaning sneakers not sandals.)
and so on and so forth.

So his fit continues...kicking the floor, dramatic screams, pounding fists...a total classic.  While Sydney sits at the table in 7th heaven with her grilled cheese house.  She even made some adjustments and added a big "picture window" to her sandwich.  She was being so sweet!
Colin would perk up his head every now and then as I snapped a few pictures, and chatted with Sydney.  Slowly he started to come to the table.  

But Sydney said, "Look, Mom, he's coming."

Unfortunately, she spoke too loud and too soon.  He didn't want us to know he was coming. Do your kids do this? So the next time he started to get up and approach the table, I made sign language signs at Sydney instructing her not to notice or say anything. Eventually, Colin made it to the table as if nothing was wrong. He started eating his sandwich...while Sydney and I only dared to watch out of the corner of our eyes.

Once I could see that he was really into his sandwich, I asked him if he wanted me to take some pictures.  "Yes, Mama." he said with a great big smile. I guess, that is the reason why he came to the table, he saw all the extra attention I was giving Sydney with the camera, and he wanted in on the action. After a few snapshots, he was totally cured of his random fit.

Isn't that a sweet picture...almost erases the memories of the fit he was throwing in the living room...

Sigh of relief swept over me.  But it didn't last kids flip flopped on me as I glanced at the clock...

Oh shoot, it's time to get Sydney out the door to preschool!

"Sydney, go get your shoes, sweetie."

"No, you get them, Mom."

"No, Sydney, you are old enough to do this yourself, they are up in your closet."

This went back and forth with the same responses between the two of us four or ten times....then....

"Fine, I'm not going to preschool!"

This was a totally absurd comment coming from her because she LOOOOOOVES preschool. She only said it because she wanted an upper hand in the power struggle about the shoes.  And boy howdy, she stuck to her guns! I tell you what, she is one smart cookie, because her refusal to go, really got to me.

After much reasoning, then frustration, then bribes, then retracted bribes, then saying that I would send Colin in her stead, then starting up the car without her, then faking that I forgot something and running back into the house right in front of her to get it...she still would not get into the van.  So I carried her out to the car kicking and screaming (without her shoes on of course.)

We pulled up to the school and she refused to get out.  I tried coaxing her out, then being firm with her, encouraging her to stop crying because her friends would see, pleading, and begging to no avail. So I finally resorted to carrying her up to the school and handing her off to one of the preschool teachers. Sure, it looked mean doing this, but both the teacher and I agreed that if we let her stay home for throwing a fit, that it might create a pattern. Preschool is expensive and I want to make sure that I get my money's worth...I think I got it yesterday.

So back into the minivan I went wiping the sweat from my brow wondering what I was going to fix myself for lunch...because I'm sick of grilled cheese.  The house sandwiches didn't work on I sound as picky as my kids.

So here's the reality of house sandwiches...
they may make your kids smile and be cute and cooperative, or may make things worse because today they wanted their sandwich cut into rectangles. You will never know unless you try it...go on...see what happens! You might find that everything is just "normal" after their first bite.  And "normal" is good most of the time.

I totally love my kids...despite fits and power struggles...and it's a darn good thing that we have good moments in between the tough ones.  So I'm posting my happiest memory from this week, Colin's birthday party...I think I actually captured all my kids smiling! That's because I chose not to show the picture of them scrambling for pinata candy.


  1. I had to laugh at your post. So funny and so typical of kids. Both my sons loved grilled cheese but I had never heard of a house sandwich before! They used to say they wanted cheese toast and then our younger son went through his bean burrito stage! That's all he wanted. They are both grown and eat most anything now. Thanks for the memories your post brought back to me!

  2. What a cute idea! I'll have to try that sometime.

    One thing that really has helped us deal with picky eating is good kids shows. My top two are veggie tales and Yo Gabba Gabba. The later seems really weird but they actually help more than anything else. The only thing is, if you don't have Cable TV you might not get it since it's on Nick Jr. We don't have the channel but we get it on demand. They have three songs which have really helped us with Lilly, "Too Much Candy's gonna Make yous Sick" From the Halloween episode, "Try it, you might like it" and "Party in My Tummy" from the Eat episode. If you don't have the Nick Jr. Channel, I know you can find buy the DVDs on The thing about the songs is that we don't have to lecture. We just have to sing a line from the song and Lilly will recognize the song, get excited and decide on her own to try her food. Veggie tales is great for vegetables because if the veggie is mentioned in the theme song, I would just sing it and show Lilly which of the veggies she had on her plate and she would each it without a fuss. Even Broccoli. Also, Wonder Pets have convinced her that celery is delicious. She begs for it at the grocery store. Of course, She is only 3 and a half so I'm sure it's possible that she might pull a fast one on me someday and start being picky again, but so far, so good. Good luck! You really are a great Mom!


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