It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Seems she doesn’t like tofu today

She liked it last week.

Why are your cheeks bulging like that?

Is that all the tofu that was in your bowl? How did you eat all the vegetables and rice without swallowing any tofu?

If you don’t like the taste of it, swallow it fast.

Have some water.

The longer it’s in there, the worse it tastes.

DON’T be talking to me with your mouth all full. There are crumbs shooting everywhere.

You’re drooling. Close your mouth, please.

Have a raisin.

Have another.

Swallow, silly girl, before you drown in drool.

You may leave the table when your mouth is empty.

You may play with the other children when your mouth is empty.

You may do a puzzle with us when your mouth is empty.

You may get down for your nap when your mouth is empty.

You may come sing with the rest of us when your mouth is empty.

You’re drooling again.

I can’t talk to you right now. I’m reading to the others. Let me know when your mouth is empty.

There! All gone! Good for you! I knew you could do it!

February 28, 2008 - Posted by | food


  1. We have a rule. Really a correlary to the you-must-try-a-bite rule. If it’s in your mouth for 5 minutes or longer, you must leave the table and sit in your room so you can devote your full concentration on chewing and swallowing. We wouldn’t want her distracted…

    Amazingly, when left alone, she chews much faster.

    Good response. The only flaw I can see in it is that lack of adult supervision makes the likelihood of spitting it out privately pretty high. Do you have a way to prevent that, or hs she just not thought of it/knows better than to try?

    Comment by ktjrdn | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. My parents still tell the story of my now-38-year-old brother and the brussel sprout. They insisted that he must eat just one. Four hours later, they noticed that he had a bulge in his cheek, and the sprout was STILL in his mouth. The very idea of a 4+ hour old sprout makes me ill!

    You and me both. Urgh. Does your brother have kids? Just wondering if they’ve inherited daddy’s stubborn streak!

    Comment by Allison | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  3. Ha ha, I love hearing your side of the conversation only. Our niece could keep a bite of food (or drink) in her mouth longer than it seemed was humanly possible. Her parents were not quite as careful to teach good table manners as you are, but fortunately she grew out of the habit on her own–I was imagining her doing that on a date someday!

    LOL Thank goodness. She’d be wondering why she could never keep a boyfriend after the first dinner date!

    Comment by Alison | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  4. Once, only once, I persuaded my younger son to swallow a mouthful when he wanted to spit it out. He was promptly sick. His appetite was finely balanced – once he’d had enough to eat he was literally unable to eat another bite, even if he’d thought he could and put it in his mouth.

    I haven’t met one like that yet! Thankfully Malli isn’t one, either.

    Comment by Z | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  5. I once got a kid up from a two hour nap and found him chewing on the chicken nugget he’d been hiding in his cheek WHILE HE SLEPT. Scared me.

    Ah, Malli. Mary wins again… 🙂

    That would scare me, too. I don’t think I’ve met a child who didn’t like chicken nuggets, so why was he storing it away? Or did he just want to savour the flavour??

    Comment by kelli in the mirror | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  6. I applaud your determination, however:


    LOL It’s not to everyone’s taste, but as I said at the top of the post, she’s liked it every other time I served it. Contrary little muffin that she is.

    Comment by Redhead Mommy | February 29, 2008 | Reply

  7. Wow, really? Why make her eat it?

    Goodness. So many reasons. 1. Because, unless the food were steaming hot (which never happens) they’re not allowed to spit food out. Period. It’s bad manners. 2. Only children who have proven themselves willing to try new foods have earned the right to choose a few they don’t like. 3. Children who are still in the “I hate anything new” phase are expected to try new things, otherwise you end up with a child who’ll eat nothing but pasta, raisins, and/or white bread. (Or whatever their pet food is.) 4. She liked the food the last time it was served; no reason for her to reject it this week. 5. With this particular child, it was almost certainly a power play; with this particular child, give in to a power play and they will become ever more frequent, more insistent and more outrageous. That will do for a start.

    Comment by annie | February 29, 2008 | Reply

  8. Spitting it out in private seems never to have occurred to her (Although if it had, I’m sure she’d know better. We’ve had the spitting-things-out-is-rude discussion 500 times). She’s got that sort of personality where she’ll be quite contrary if you let her draw you in, but she’s not at all devious. She is very social, so removing her from our company works well.

    Now my second one? If she had the same issues with food (thankfully she doesn’t) I wouldn’t let her out of my sight. She’d definitely spit it out.

    Comment by ktjrdn | March 4, 2008 | Reply

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