Monkey has never been very interested in food, and he’s convinced the rest of the world should share his view that mealtimes are unnecessary.
I remember when he was a toddler, I’d follow him around with a handful of Cheerios, sliding one in his mouth whenever I got the chance. Plenty of people told me, “He’ll eat when he wants to. He won’t starve.” But I wasn’t sure he ever would want to eat, so I force-fed or rather, distract-fed him.
Now that Monkey is six (almost seven), his life revolves around video games. We make him earn his video time and take “brain breaks” as we call them, but, if given his way, he’d happily climb into one of those chairs the blobs ride on in Walle and link himself permanently to a screen. Of course, being Monkey, he’d be the only skinny lump on a hovercraft.
I said that we make him earn his time, which is a challenge. Usually, by the end of the day, I’m so worn down from battle that I let him play his games right up until dinner time. It’s not easy to get him to come eat, but when we finally get him away from his beloved Lego Star Wars, he gets to the table and realizes that Daddy is home.
He eats two bites of his meal and then the harassment begins. He begs Kory to come play with him. Now my husband, like most normal people, is interested in food and eats an average amount for a tired guy who worked all day and probably mountain biked at lunch. This is not acceptable to Monkey.
After his first attempts to get Daddy away from the table and into the living room—where they can sit before the TV like odd statues with flickering eyes—fall on deaf ears, Monkey starts to get frantic.
If Kory should have a second helping, Monkey goes off the deep end. “NO, Daddy, NO! Don’t eat more! Don’t take another bite! Pleeease, Daddy, please. Don’t eat that!” This goes on until Kory either finishes or cracks. Monkey is pretty persuasive.
So here’s my idea: I think we’ll start making CDs for frustrated dieters. If you send us $25, we’ll customize a CD for you with Monkey hollering at you not to eat. Just pop it in your CD player at mealtimes and see how far you can get into your dinner before the screaming six-year-old makes you lose your appetite.
I really think I’m on to something here. And just in case you have any ethical problems with my plan, we’ll promise to put all the money in his college fund, that is, if he has any brain cells left to take with him to college.
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