Monday, February 27, 2012

A PARENTAL JOLT; part 2 of 2; by Lousie Price Bell; 1935

As lunch time approached, I began to be filled with misgivings, though I am sure my outward appearance was calm when Lola came to the table and again found nothing at her place but a bowl of apple sauce! She looked at it seriously as she adjusted her napkin while her parents busily conversed, and then just as seriously removed her napkin, and slid down from her chair without a word other than the conventional--"Excuse me, Muvver."

"She certainly has a mind of her own!" I sighed when Lola was safely out of hearing, to which my husband replied by reminding me that until now we had never seen any sign of stubbornness or self-will. Which shows that parents are most apt to receive a parental jolt when they least expect it!

We knew Lola was hungry, of course, but we also knew that going without food much longer than she had gone would do her no harm--not half as much as forming a "finicky" taste which would be difficult to overcome and inconvenient and embarrassing later in life. So we were not going to worry about the lack of food, and my husband confidently assured me that Lola would soon realize that she would get nothing to eat until she had eaten the apple sauce...And I prayed that he was right!

At supper time, Lola did exactly as she had done at lunch--slid down from her chair with a low--"Excuse me, Muvver." She had evidently made up her mind to be dignified in her combat, anyway. And that didn't help to ease the minds of her parents very much.

When I kissed my puzzling daughter good-night, it seemed to me that her chubby rosy little face seemed already more thin and pale, and I must admit that my heart ached,--but thanks to my stable-minded husband, I did not weaken. Common sense returned with the morning sunshine, and though I wished there were no apple sauce in the world, Lola again faced a breakfast of that very food. But---after playing with her spoon for a minute, she plunged it into the center of the apple sauce and ate, not stopping until the dish was empty. At that point, restraining with difficulty a sigh of relief, I removed the empty bowl and brought Lola a dish of steaming cereal, a cup of milk, and a plate of buttered toast,--all of which she ate with great enjoyment. Nothing was said about the apple sauce just then.

That night as I was leaving the nursery, Lola called--"Muvver," and I turned to see what she wanted.

"I like apple sauce now," she smiled.

"I like it, too," I replied. "Perhaps we can have some more some day"...And that was all.

I did not serve apple sauce, however, for several days, and when I did, Lola ate it with the same enjoyment she had always shown for all the food given her. Our battle was won, and never since that day has she displayed the slightest objection to any food that has been placed before her. We have never mentioned the episode to Lola for we realize that in a subtle way, she understood the situation, and that any conversation concerning it might undo much that had been done,--as is true in so many phases of child management.