Having four kids who eat all day long -- except at meal times -- is taxing my bank account, my patience and my creativity.
It also provides some amusement to those sitting near us in restaurants.
At Village Inn, 3-year-old Katie gets corn dog nibblers and dino fries.
Not bad, in my mind.
Katie wolfed the dino fries, but had a slow start on the corn dogs.
I called them dinosaur eggs, changed the pitch of my voice and said, "help me, help me, Katie!"
Naturally, she thought the poor dinosaur inside was trapped in a batter shell and needed her assistance in escape.
To make the dinodog disappear into Katie's stomach, I had to again alter my voice and convince her that biting the dinodog in half tickled.
Thus, we made it through her entire serving.
That was the easy part.
The hard part came a few nights later.
Raw carrots were served as part of our dinner, and Katie was given one, which she wouldn't touch.
We kind of have this rule in our family that you have to at least try everything. If you try it and hate it, then it likely won't be forced on you in the future, but you have to try it first.
We cut a tiny piece off Katie's ranch dressing-drenched carrot and told her she had to eat one bite.
She cleaned the rest of her plate thinking that if she did that, she wouldn't have to eat her carrot.
It became a tests of wills. Katie was forced to sit at the table until that little bite -- so small she could have swallowed it whole -- was gone. Everyone else finished their dinner (carrots included) and Daddy and the two boys left for a bike ride.
Katie sat at the table while I cleared and cleaned the kitchen.
I was determined not to lose this battle of stubbornness. Katie was going to eat that carrot.
It was a long wait. I finished the kitchen and was replacing the dish towel when I saw 2-year-old Nikki (who loves carrots) saunter up to the table, grab Katie's fork and gobble down the bite.
It was just as nonchalant as you please.
And the minute it happened, Katie burst into protest. Nikki -- how dare she -- had stolen Katie's carrot.
Tears were forming.
Talk about a new one for a parent. I was flabbergasted. If she wanted the darn thing, why didn't she eat it an hour ago?
Katie was calmed by the knowledge that she could leave the table and play.
She got down, came straight to me and said, "I'm hungry, Mom."
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.