It is just a phase.

My daughter started kindergarten this year. We are so lucky (and it truly is luck of the draw, not the result of any parenting skills whatsoever) that she is an enthusiastic student and playmate. She didn’t hesitate for a second before climbing on that bus and off she went into a new world with new people, a new schedule, new spaces and new rules.

But Kyra’s new life has not been without consequences. Although she continues to love school, she is, well, to put it bluntly, a real bitch at home. I know I should not call her that, but she is irrational, mean, and impatient. Seven hours a day of keeping it together at school has led to 17 hours a day of falling apart at home. I think we may be slowly recovering, but this phase of irrationality has taken its toll at dinner time. Isn’t it one of life’s great truths that children are at their worst at dinner time? If you think about it, 6:00 p.m. is a truly stupid time to attempt anything with kids, let alone a nutritional family meal.

But I am fighting the good fight, preparing meals that Kyra typically likes, and these days, is just rejecting. Here is one:

Salmon with red pepper pesto and lemon-parmesan broccoli. I have noted several times that my kids cannot get enough of salmon. This week when I served it, Kyra took one bite and announced she didn’t like it.

Tonight I made lamb chops, tabbouleh and toasted whole wheat pitas. Kyra has been a carnivore since birth; while in her high chair she used to chow on finely chopped steaks, lamb chops, and burgers, eschewing more typical toddler foods like chicken fingers and pasta. Tonight? One bite of lamb and a proclamation that she won’t eat it.

My strategy for dealing with what I pray is just a phase is to ignore her. I politely suggest that she find something else on her plate to eat because the kitchen is closing. Tonight she ate most of her tabbouleh and a piece of pita. And then ten minutes later, she asked for a snack. But only once, because she knows that she won’t get one. Remember my Rules? No snacks, ever, after dinner. Especially after a poor attempt at dinner.

It is all just a phase, right? By November she will be sweet again, right?


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