Blue my soon to be 12 year-old calls his brother Red a terrorist. "He terrorizes this house, holding us all hostage!" He says. There goes that brutal honesty. "We can't even relax in our own home!" says Blue. I have to agree with him to a degree. The simplest things can be turned into a circus act. What really gets me is that it's the eldest of the two whose behavior is the worst.
Last night we had homemade fried rice for dinner. My mother cooked, as she now lives with us. She uses green and red bell peppers, green onion, bean sprouts, ham (leftover from Christmas) and egg. We also threw in some leftover peas. Her recipe is renowned in our family. I also made steamed broccoli. Now -I knew this wouldn't go over well because there are 'too many colors' in the fried rice. Typically the boys don't like their foods 'mixed together'. They mostly like everything served and eaten separately. So I actually prepared a less colorful version for them, with just the rice, egg and ham. The broccoli was served on the side.
Red had company all day yesterday. He and his friend made a movie called "Kung Fu Brothers". He spent the day with his friend here at the house editing the movie and burning the DVD. It was actually a quiet day here at home because he was preoccupied with this project. Just before dinner, my husband took his friend home. When Red walked through the door and saw what we were having for dinner -he instantly showed us all the other side of his personality.
"What?! I have to eat that?! There's no food in the house! There's no cookies! There's no cereal! Why didn't you go shopping Mom? Why can't I just have hot dogs or something?"
Mind you, this is the same kid who was caught on video eating wild rice and fish at my nephew's house a month ago. He says he ate for my nephew because he was afraid of what might happen if he didn't. My nephew is about 6 ft 3 with a very deep voice (intimidating) but of course he wouldn't hurt a fly. (Unless the fly wouldn't eat his vegetables!) :-) Red isn't afraid or intimidated by us. He doesn't care what we think about him. We're just his parents.
"We're going to have dinner as a family and this is what we're having. I did prepare a simple version for you and your brother. You like all of the things in that version (ham, rice and egg) so you should have no problem eating it," I say.
"I don't want to eat that!" And so on and so on.
We say our prayers and sit down as a family. I actually made sure everyone was served, but lost my appetite because of all of his antics. I decided I would eat after everyone else finished. He laid his head down on the table. He pouted and shouted like a toddler. I wanted him to at least try it before he just flat out decided that he didn't like it. Of course I had my mother coaching from the sidelines (not helpful). "Back in my day blah, blah, blah!"
This is why I have avoided this issue with him in the past. We have so many freakin' battles, I just don't have the energy to fight them all. After I've spent time and energy preparing a meal, I want to sit down and enjoy it...not fight to get him to eat or listen to him tell me how disgusting it is.
Everyone at the table finished their meal while he was still pouting and slow poking around. Blue ate seconds of his rice and then tried the broccoli. I told him how it is like a broom sweeping all of the toxins out of his body and giving him nutrients. He asked for seconds! Of course, this infuriated Red! "Stop it Blue! I hate that look on your little face!"
We pulled out the old, 'if you want any dessert, you need to finish your dinner' trick. To which Red replied, "Why are you being so mean Mom!?"
He finally finished his meal and shortly thereafter turned back into his original personality. "What's for dessert? I'm sorry Mom and Nana for how I was acting." He says that, 'I'm sorry' line so many times during the day, till it looses it's value. It's really like a script instead of a sincere apology.
I finally sat down and ate my dinner. I didn't have ice cream for dessert like everyone else. Instead I had a glass of wine. Ice cream wasn't going to do it for me last night. Now if I had chocolate chip cookies to go with it -that's another story.