The dinner meltdown

The Munchkin refused to take a nap yesterday.

(cue the music from “Jaws”)

I put her down at a decent time, right after I popped Tad into his crib. After her CD, which was about 45 minutes long, was over, she got out of bed and came to find me. “Mommy, I awake,” she said sweetly.

I looked her over. There was no signs of sleep on her, and my daughter is a heavy sleeper – pillow and blanket imprints on the face (we call them “sleepy marks”), flushed cheeks, serious bed head – so I contested her claim. “You didn’t nap, did you?”


I sighed. “Are you going to be good for the rest of today? Because when you don’t take a nap, you get very sad by the end of the day.”

So I got verbal reassurances from a 2 and 1/2 year old that she would be good, which is legally non-binding in this state, and steeled myself for the worst.

She fell asleep on our way to Auntie’s softball game, but woke up easily and was in a very good mood and obeyed me and her Grandma while we were at the game. Tad was his usual adorable self, cheering whenever anyone else cheered in his loud, baby boy voice. The Munchkin got to wear Auntie’s batting helmet at one point, and then she looked at me and her Grandma and said, “I ready to bat!” Auntie’s team won (!!!), which was a HUGE deal because the team (the junior high girls’ softball team) didn’t win any games last season, and had lost their first game of this season already. Auntie scored the go-ahead run, after being the lead-off hitter and battling with the pitcher for a walk. It was a very exciting game, and the kids enjoyed themselves.

Then the Munchkin fell asleep on the way home, and I knew that this was it. This was the sleep of the dead. Tad, happy as a clam, played with toys and hung around the kitchen while I made dinner, and the Munchkin slept spread-eagle on the couch, where I’d left her. The Webmaster came home about 45 minutes later and found her, still out.

Since dinner was almost ready (pancakes and sausage for me and the kids, and one huge South Beach-appropriate omelet for the Webmaster), I gave the Webmaster the task of rousing the Munchkin for dinner. He coaxed her awake, and carried her to the table, put her apron-bib on her and sat her down. Then all hell broke loose.

As Tad began to literally stuff his face with pancake and sausage, the Munchkin sat and howled, tears dripping off her lashes. She wanted a hug. She wanted a kiss. She wanted Mommy to hand-feed her. She wanted down. She was hungry. She wanted to eat. She needed to calm down. She needed to “take a deep breath” (her words; this is what we say to her to get her to calm down). Absolutely nothing was getting her to calm down and eat.

At one point, I took her back to her room, got her calmed and then took her back to dinner. But the waterworks began again when Mommy refused to feed her. No way am I doing that. C’mon, kid, you can use a fork – or your hands – to eat! You ate 2 bowls of mac and cheese with hot dogs for lunch with a fork! You did not forget how to use a fork in six hours!

During all this hullabaloo, the rest of us are eating. Tad, having wolfed down his pancake and sausage, began eyeing my food. I gave him another half a pancake and half a sausage link while his sister sobbed over the one bite that she had managed to take and wasn’t chewing.

By the time I get up, having finished my dinner, the Munchkin is still hysterically sobbing away. Tad is complacently eating a third pancake.

I check my email, totally ignoring the Munchkin’s tantrum. My back is to her. It gets quieter. The Webmaster, who is in the kitchen loading the dishwasher, says to me, “She’s e-a-t-i-n-g.”

I sneak a glance. Sniffling defiantly, the Munchkin is eating. And then she announces that she’s done.

The Webmaster picks her up, but then she starts screaming. “No, I wan’ sit down! I wan’ eat!” He sits her down and pushes her chair back in. “No, I done, I done, Daddy!!”

The Webmaster gives Tad half on the food on her plate, which he begins eagerly eating.

Finally, I feed her the last two bites of pancake on her plate, and then her plate is empty. The dinner meltdown is over. Tad has eaten at least 4 pancakes on his own, and these are not silver dollar sized ones. I looked him over. “Are you going to have a growth spurt, or did you have an empty leg? You’re eating like a teenager!” He smiled at me, his face smeared with crumbs and a little syrup.

Then the bedtime meltdown began about an hour later, but it wasn’t nearly as long and protracted, and I’ll spare everyone the gory details. Needless to say, can we all agree that the Munchkin is not yet ready to give up her afternoon nap? All in favor of naps, say aye!!

2 Responses to “The dinner meltdown”

  1. Little Cousin's Mommy
    September 27th, 2006 09:50


  2. Laurie
    September 27th, 2006 13:27

    aye, aye, aye! I don’t even care if they sleep. They just need to be away from me in the safety of their room for at least an hour.