Tuesday, April 17, 2007

16 pounds is a much more impressive way to say it

I was thinking that by saying, "I lost three more pounds" it kind of lacked the WOW of
"HEY WORLD! I lost 16 pounds so far this year!!!" :)

It's only about a pound a week, but I'm happy with that. If I only lose a pound a week, I'll be mighty close to my target weight by the end of the year. Either way, I'm moving in the right direction and that's a good thing.

Last night's dinner here was so crazy that I don't know if I can explain it well enough. Although my kids know how to behave properly at church dinners, restaurants, or if we have friends visiting, they are fairly monstrous when we relax in our own little society.

First there is the whining. What is this food? What's it made of? Do I like this? I don't think I like this. Can I eat something different?

Then we have one eater whom, to call her picky, would be one of the grandest understatements in the history of the world. This is a child for whom picky eating is both a fine art as well as a prison of her own making.

With 5 boys, ages 14, 8, 7, 5, and 4, there is no end to weird noises, odd body language, getting up and down from their seats, belching, farting, and potty talk.

Last night was particularly bad in most categories. My husband and I started out trying to get one bad behavior under control, only to have 2 more pop up in it's place. It was ridiculous. He finally stomped away from the table to drive the oldest kid to a school activity, and I sat at the table giving the kids a lecture about how Today Is The Last Day You Are Going To Act Like Wild Hooligans At the Table.

After dinner I did some thinking about how I helped our family make changes in other areas that were out of control. (for MANY years our bedtime situation was completely insane, but now I can get 5 kids to bed in 5-7 minutes with very few problems) I remembered that the most successful thing I've done is to obsess about getting the first thing under control first. So, that's what we're doing.

Today I am launching my REVITALIZE DINNER plan.

First, for the wild meal behavior, we now have a reminder poster on out kitchen wall that reads:

You get a...
on the
Bedtime Train!!!

Interestingly, many years ago when our second child (the picky one) started being picky, I wanted to implement a rule that if someone came to the table and complained about the food, that they would immediately head off to bed without the meal. Knowing that it would only have to happen once or twice to convince the kids I was serious, it was a rule I was willing to stick to. but my husband thought it was too harsh.


He bitterly regrets that decision now that we have 1-5 complainers at each and every meal. So now we are going with my plan. I fully expect that my grocery bill will be lowered for awhile, and that kids are going to be VERY ready for breakfast most days, because it is going to take some serious drill sergeant behavior on my part to keep up with this. But, have no fear--I'm going to win this one.

Once we get them to stop complaining, I'll have to figure out what comes next. What would you think is the next top priority?:

eating your food
not farting at the table (trust me, it's for comedic value, not because he can't help it)
basic table manners and etiquette
staying in your seat

Let me know what you think.

I have also made a Mealtime Helper poster that gives each child a meal-related job to do. Until now I have done all the work before, during, and after the meals, and it is ridiculous. Now I have kids set up to clear and wipe the table, set the table, unload/reload the dishwasher, do the handwash items, and help put away leftovers. This morning when I showed them the chart they were all excited about the jobs they'd been given.

Last, but not least, I have informed Miss Picky Eater that her days of eating her own special meal are coming to an end. For a few weeks or a month (depending on how well I remember, and how well it's going) she is going to have to eat one bite of each thing we have eating. (Then she can eat whatever alternative meal she was going to have.) After we get used to the one bite thing, it'll go up to two bites, etc. I have to believe that she is going to get to like more and more things, or even if she doesn't, that it'll do her body good to have some different forms of nutrition.

I'm also giving her a time limit on getting the bites done (5 minutes) because I am not willing to have everyone's meal ruined with a whole bunch of drama.

And, if she doesn't want to be a good sport about it, I have a nice long list of privileges to take away, starting with talking on the phone to her friends. It's a good long list, so I am pretty sure she'll see things my way.

Diplomacy is one of my strong points. You should have heard the super-positive spin I put on this plan when I told her about it last night before she went to bed. She didn't even look miserable about it. (which only leaves me wondering if she doesn't believe that I'm going to follow through, or that she is plotting some way to try to thwart me)

Of course, my husband won't be a dinner tonite, so I'll be running this mission on my own. Should be exciting, don't you think??


Steph said...

It sounds like you're off to a great start. I have just one suggestion to add to your already great ideas.

At our house, I only call for dinner once. I got tired of the nagging and threatening to get them to come to dinner. Now I give a 5 minute warning when dinner is almost ready so they can finish up whatever they're in the middle of and then when dinner is ready they get this speech. "Dinner will be for the next 30 (or 45 or whatever) minutes. Please come and eat it. When dinner is over, the food will not be available again until the next meal." If they take 20 of their 30 minutes to get their butts to the table, that's their problem. They'll just have to eat faster, or come sooner next time. If they miss it, too bad. Breakfast will come around eventually. When dinner is over, I clear the table, whether they're "done" or not.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

Marilyn said...

Long past due in my humble opinion! You have run yourself ragged feeding the troops for years! I think the dinner call and time limit is a great idea as well. Eat it or don't, it doesn't matter but there will be NOTHING else until the next meal even if they threaten to faint or die :). You go girl!!

Carrie said...

This is a great approach to take, in my opinion. After all, you're running a household, not a restaurant.

I wouldn't worry too much about "eating it all" (after all, as adults we don't always eat everything on our plates and it would be setting a double standard - plus setting up a mindset that they *have* to keep eating even if their bodies tell them they're full, which could lead to weight problems in the future). I'd tackle table manners next, and include the farting issue in that.

Be careful though, once daddy gets home you're bound to have some backsliding. (Even if it's just for attention's sake.) Hold your ground.

I'm with your Mom too... you GO, girl!

PS - I *love* your blog header. :)