Monday, February 20, 2012
A PARENTAL JOLT; part 1 of 2; by Louise Price Bell; 1935
At the age of three and a half, Lola was exactly the right height and weight for her age, went to bed gracefully at the proper time, and ate without question all of the food placed before her.
No wonder, then, that we felt that our training--according to the best authorities--was bearing fruit! But parents who feel smug, as we did, should beware, for from our own experience we know that any any time they may receive their first parental jolt,--and if prepared for it, their disillusionments will be less severe. Here's the story of our first "jolt."
Lola ate her lunch the same as usual one day,--and was happy and smiling. When she finished her vegetables, I removed her plate and placed her "bunny-bowl" before her filled with apple sauce,--just as I had done dozens of times before. But. . .instead of starting to eat as was her custom, Lola said that "she didn't care for any dessert--thank you." Since this was her first rejection of any food, I was surprised but only said: "I will put it in the refrigerator until supper time, Lola. You probably ate too much lunch."
At supper, Lola ate her poached egg and toast, drank her milk, and then, after removing the empty plate and cup, I placed the bowl of apple sauce before her again, smiling as I said--"Now you may have your apple sauce, dear."
"I don't want my apple sauce!" Lola replied emphatically.
I picked up her spoon, talked of something else, and started to feed her casually, when to my surprise, our little daughter stiffened, kicked her feet, and fairly screamed--"I don't want any apple sauce!"
I looked at her daddy,--and her daddy looked at me. Where was our well trained little girl,--she was anything but well trained now!
Without any conversation, I excused Lola from the table and then my husband and I discussed the situation. Lola was in perfect health; the apple sauce was freshly made, delicious, and attractively served. If Lola didn't eat this food there would be other foods which would be refused, we felt sure, and we agreed that we should do all in our power to keep our child from being a "finicky eater."
So at breakfast Lola was surprised to find only a bowl of apple sauce instead of her cereal.
"Where's my cereal?" she asked, looking up at me.
I smiled. "In the kitchen, dear. You may have it when you finish your apple sauce."
"I don't want my apple sauce!" Lola replied, showing signs of rebellion similar to those of the night before; while her daddy and I were seemingly engrossed in our breakfast. Lola looked first at one,--then at the other, and then, getting no response from either of us,--pushed the bowl of apple sauce away from her with such force that some of it spilled on the table. I removed her napkin, put her down from the table, and then said quietly,--"Go in the nursery and play, Lola,--I guess you are not very hungry this morning."