Tonight I bribed my child to eat strawberries and blueberries with a bit of yogurt. I'm not proud of resorting to bribery. It was one of those moments in parenthood that bring heart break and a bit of satisfaction all at the same time.
Icie is notoriously picky about food and trying new things. I KNEW that if she just tried some strawberries, she would love them.
I had two mini Barbie dolls on top of the fridge. They were originally intended for pooping on the potty prizes. I offered Icie both dolls if she finished about a quarter cup of berries and a tablespoon of yogurt.
We sat at the table for about thirty tear-filled minutes. Icie would take a bite, fake gag, pull it together, cry, pull it together, cry, chew, swallow, and tearfully exclaim "Yay! I did it! Yummy!". Lather, rinse, repeat until there was just one teeny tiny strawberry left.
I had given her one doll about halfway through as an incentive to keep going for the second doll. She played with the doll in between bites and cries. She longed for the second doll and kept going. Bite after bite until the last bite.
The last bite sat on her fork. I started to clean up her plate and head to the dishwasher several times. I was met with a shout, "No, no, not my strawberry!". I returned with the fork and sat some more.
There was a request to call Grandma for comfort. Grandma put Ella on the phone for encouragement. Ella calmed her a bit, but not enough to finish that last bite.
"I want to scrubby tubby and go to bed. Mama, I'm so tired. Please, please I carry you?" Icie finally said in a sad, defeated, pitiful little voice.
I carried her upstairs, one doll in her hand, one doll left on the fridge. Icie gave it one last shot to bring the two dolls together, "Mama I sit on the potty, and try to make stinkies." she whimpered as we reached the top of the stairs.
I sat on the floor and sang all our potty songs. After about five minutes, Icie just kind of slumped forward onto me and gave me a hug, "I just can't do it, Mama."
Ugghh, heartbreak again. I rushed her through bath and into jammies. I almost gave in and handed her the other doll right then and there.
Instead, I fought my own tears got her into bed and read her Hop On Pop for the millionth time. We said our prayers and talked about trying again to get the second doll tomorrow. Icie snuggled into her one doll and fell asleep after the good fight.
I came downstairs to a quiet kitchen and almost cried as I looked at the lonely doll on the fridge. I was proud of Icie for trying so hard. I was happy that she sought comfort in me, even though I was pushing her past her comfort zone. I was relieved that she understood the reasons that she could not have the second doll.
I'm still fighting the urge to run up to her room and tuck the doll under her arm, but I won't.