I did it. I finally figured out how to get Elsa to eat her dinner.
If you read the last entry, you learned that lately Elsa can give Linda Blair a run for her money. Especially during dinnertime, when I strap her in her high chair and set a beautifully arranged, four-food-group-representative meal in front of her, and she immediately proceeds to fling it, piece by homemade piece, onto the floor. And any attempts of mine to stop her are met with shrieks, tears, flailing limbs and bulging neck veins. Sometimes, when her mouth is open mid-scream, I can cram a few peas or a macaroni noodle into her pie-hole, but she only swallows these bites half the time, and it's always unintentional.
I've tried several methods to get her to stop throwing her food and start eating it. I've pretended to eat the food myself...you know that ol' 'turning your head to the side and making it look like your swallowing the whole fork' routine? I've mastered it to the point where I could start performing my own magic act on stage. But still Elsa won't eat. I've pretended the fork was an airplane, a train, a boat coming in to port, a horse galloping toward her face. Still nothing. I've sung songs, made faces, opened my own mouth so wide the corners of my lips cracked and bled. But still the dog is eating more of her dinner than she is. I've put the dog outside during dinner, (despite him barking so earnestly to come back in that he's disturbing the peace in neighboring counties) thus removing any entertainment he was providing for Elsa. Still she drops her food and searches around for Ollie to come get it. Even when I take her tray away and feed her from a baby spoon, she reaches in her mouth, takes out gobs of food and sends them sailing to the floor. And when I tell her no, she looks at me with those eyes and screams so dramatically I don't know whether to kill her or give her an Oscar.
So last night I got smart. After watching her send chunks of potatoes, carrots and stew meat to the tile floor as soon as I set it on her tray, I decided I'd had enough. I grabbed her from her high chair and set her on the ground so fast she didn't even have time to study me for a reaction to her food flinging shenanigans.
"Sorry," I said. "Guess you're not eating if you're going to throw your food everywhere."
She looked up at me for a minute, like she was preparing for a meltdown. And so I turned around in my chair and smiled at Rollie, who has suddenly become the Golden Child, the Good, Sweet, Obedient Child who usually eats a few bites of what's in front of him before telling me his tummy is full and asking if he can watch Deigo.
"What's Baby Elsa doing?" he asked.
"She's being naughty."
"Is she in time out?"
"No, she's just not going to eat her dinner."
"Is Ollie going to eat it?"
"I guess so."
I glanced back at Elsa and saw that look on her face that means she's got something in her mouth that shouldn't be there.
"What are you eating?" I asked, crouching down to investigate.
She reached inside and pulled out a carrot. The very piece of carrot she'd just thrown on the ground.
"Oh, so now you want to eat? Now that you dropped it and it has germs and dog hair all over it, it tastes better to you?"
She put the carrot back in her mouth and searched the ground for more food. And there was plenty of it.
Whatever. At least she's finally eating. I guess as long as I keep the floor around her high chair relatively clean before each meal, it's as good as eating off a plate. She'll grow out of this phase eventually, right? I can just imagine her on a first date, the guy taking her to a nice restaurant, where she orders the pasta special with a side salad, dumps it all on the floor and starts crawling around under the table to eat it. Nothing like bad manners to ensure she'll have a sparse social calendar for the next thirty years. At least Jeff can stop saving up for that shotgun.