Last night we decided to order food from a Chinese/Japanese restaurant that Lauren had been wanting to try. Wyatt, of course, refused to eat his dinner. Like any four year old he had his reason. "I don't like that chicken."
"Wyatt you eat chicken all the time." I said.
"But I don't like THAT chicken." he said pointing to the batter-dipped chicken "nugget" sitting on his plate.
We ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken (C97), Steamed Vegetables (D1) and Rice (C30) for the kids. All three items that they normally would eat if we made it at home.
"Wyatt, please eat." Lauren said.
"No. I don't like it."
Maxfield, being the older brother, and knowing that dessert was on the line if everyone did not eat tried to help out. "Wyatt," he said "these are chicken nuggets from a McDonald's in China."
Lauren and I laughed at Maxfield's logic.
Max continued "Kai-Lan eats these."
"No she doesn't" Wyatt barked. He crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.
"Eat the vegetables then." I suggested. "Or the rice. I know you like rice."
"I don't like THAT rice."
He was being stubborn. We told him he would not be getting any dessert if he did not eat. He was fine with that. I told him he not going to be able to get up from the table if he did not eat. He was fine with that. I told him I would get a pillow from upstairs so he could sleep at the table. He was fine with that. I did not understand why he was putting up such a fight, it's not like I was asking him to eat C67 or C17 or J57.
We needed to pick up a quart of Rita's Water Ice for our neighbor so Lauren told Wyatt she was taking Max and Jackson. Wyatt didn't care, he acted like he was calling our bluff. Lauren took the other boys. I was left with Wyatt as my hostage at the dinner table.
We went back and forth with my requests for him to eat and his refusals. He asked for something else to eat. I told him he had to eat what was on his plate. We sat in silence for a few minutes. Wyatt tried to get up to go play with Lego's. I made him sit back down. I stared at him, he stared back. He finally figured out I was being serious, he took a bite of his chicken. He chewed it 4 or 5 times, gagged and spit it out. He asked for some milk to wash down the food. I told him no, he had to eat his veggies. He took a bite of the snow pea, gagged and spit it out. He ate some rice. He knew he was my captive.
We started chatting about the day. A good conversation between a father and his middle child. No one was around to interrupt or divide my attention. We talked swimming, Ben 10, fire engines and Legos. He chuckled and smiled as we recounted the day.
"I was pretty good today dad."
"Yes you were."
"I helped you with the fence." He smiled.
"Can I have some ketchup?"
I got him ketchup. When I opened the fridge I noticed some raw Sugar Snap peas and I placed a few on his plate. He ate them. I squeezed a mound of ketchup onto his plate. He dipped his chicken in the ketchup and took a bite. I returned the bottle to the fridge and saw some left over pasta.
"I like ketchup." he said and he batted his long eyelashes at me.
"I know you do. Do you want some pasta?"
"Just a little bit."
I gave him pasta. We talked some more. Wyatt must have seen my back bone softening and he asked for a tomato. I gave him one which he ate the whole thing. Wyatt then told me that he was full but he still had room for water ice. Just then Lauren walked in with a quart of Black Cherry and a quart of Root beer and I told her Wyatt was cleared for dessert.
She looked at his plate, all the original Chinese food still there, looked at me with a "are you sure" face.
I think I fell victim to a reverse Stockholm Syndrome.