Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Problem Child

This is going to come as a shock to all of you, but I have a third child. I've never told you about her before, because she is not a "shining star," like my other two. It's not that I'm ashamed of her, per se; it's just that I try to avoid thinking about her much. She's a very challenging child.

Near as I can tell, she's about seven years old (we have never celebrated her birthday), and this kid makes Veruca Salt look positively charming. Ironically, while she plays a very large role in my life, Mark and the kids have never even met her.

This little girl (sorry, I've never named her) is the one who is always driving me crazy when it comes to food; she simply cannot get enough. I don't know if it's attention she craves, or what, but whenever there is food (especially junkfood) in the near vicinity, she has to have it; even when I have just fed her! It's "I want this!" and "Give me that!" Bite of cake? She has to have a gigantic piece, plus a half a bag of chips or whatever else is around.

Oh sure, she'll eat healthy snacks, too, but they never seem to satisfy her. She always seems to be in the grocery store with me, too. Just today, she was all, "Let's get a couple of Snickers bars for Kyle and Kendall," but I know her game, the little sneak; it's "for the kids," but always mysteriously disappears in the car on the way home! One day, I bought a package of Chips Ahoy cookies for the family, and she had an entire sleeve gone before anyone even knew they were in the house! This child is out of control much of the time.

One day, it occurred to me, "Barb, you work all day with emotionally disturbed adolescents who beg, argue and refuse to cooperate, and yet you keep them in line. Why can't you apply those same skills and principles to the little brat living inside you?" That's when I decided that while nurturing her is important, it is even more important (for both of us) that I learn to discipline her.

So, I'm working on it. Whenever she whines, "Just one handful..please!! I promise I'll exercise with you later!!" I tell her, "That is enough! I told you no; now you need to stop." I'm trying to be more conscious of her presence whenever there is food around, and I'm trying to use positive reinforcement with her, too.

In the meantime, I'm trying to resist an urge to put her up for adoption. Yesterday, she grabbed ahold of the steering wheel and actually tried to direct the car over to Dairy Queen, instead of the gas station! This kid is a handful, let me tell you. If any of you have any parenting tips, I am seriously open...


  1. Oh my, I have her twin living at my house. I just was talking about what to do with her the other day. Good Luck, I think she needs a timeout...

  2. Just reach up and slap yourself in the face every time.

    Not that you even need to, you look fantastic, but when the child gets unruly, you do what you have to do.


  3. tips here. My child like that can make it to Dairy Queen blindfolded. Ack.


  4. Oh my. I know this child. Somehow my other 2 have grown up but this one never has. Sigh-h. If you learn the secret - please write about it!

  5. I wish I didn't know what you were talking about.

  6. Oh dear God! I thought I had spawned the only one!

    The only thing that I have ever found that worked, even though it was temporarily, was pickles.

    Now, if you have water retention problems or high blood's not a good alternative (salt), however, the pickle juice is a natural appetite suppressant and if you follow it up with a butt-load of water, you might find yourself too full to give into that brat!

    Good luck! :)

  7. I'm afraid I have some of the same here. I'm taking a new position to help find time in the schedule for exercise. I have to get a handle on the workaholic thing, I think to make this all work out well.

  8. We have twins! Mine bought the bloody chips with dill pickle dip. *sigh*

  9. Mine used to head straight for the coffee shops, but then I had a real third child and he took over. He won't let me nurse and drink coffee (even decaf, the little bugger!).

  10. we should send all of our problem children to "summer camp" and leave them there.

    jane the sane's comment made me laugh out loud. :)

  11. Love the summer camp idea!
    Funny how we all see this slightly differently. I never think of mine as a bratty child. I think of mine as needy, insecure, lost in the big family, trying to act tough and smart, just wanting comfort and a way of escape... As a matter of fact I don't think of her as a child really, but it is late, so maybe it will become clearer tomorrow! Meanwhile, try the Pasta diet: Go pasta the cake, go pasta the chips, go pasta the icecream, and you WILL lose weight! :)

  12. My problem child is addicted to sugar and won't take no for an answer. It's just so much easier to give in to the little brat, isn't it?

  13. I have that same kid at my house! She likes the see food diet! She doesn't really like sweets it's everything else (salt). Bad deal, bad deal!

  14. How true, how true. In my case at least, it's the same little girl that can hear her Mama telling her to "clean her plate because their are starving children in China."


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