Just when you think you know your child. Just when you think you know your child and the surefire way to his heart...through his stomach.
So here's what's happening with our toddler right now: the Great Food Rejection Struggle.
Here's how it works.
William loudly clamors for an item of food. Let's say he wants toast. "Toast! Toast!" he bellows from his throne...I mean, high chair. "TOAST!"
"Do you want some toast?" I inquire meekly. "What do you say when you want something, William?"
"Toast! Peeze?" William says with a huge smile."Peeze, toast?"
"That's right, good job!" I say and scurry about, finding a piece of whole wheat bread to stick into the toaster oven.
When the bell chimes, William beams some more and sings, "Toast! Toast! Toast!" I curtsy before the high chair and proffer the beautifully browned piece of warm toast, fresh from the oven.
William takes the warm toast from me and then screws up his face in a scowl that only a toddler can achieve. "No! NO!" he howls, and pushes the toast back at me, flinging his arms in abject despair. "NoNONoNO!"
I quickly pull the toast back. Which results in my lovely son immediately screaming, "Toast! Toast!" and waving his hands frantically at the toast in the international symbol for "gimme toast, gimme toast now!"
So I offer it to him again. And once again, he reacts as if I am handing him raw liver. "NO! NO! NO!" he wails and begins crying pitifully and angrily. "No!" And he pushes the toast off the highchair tray, where it breaks into many hundreds of crumbs all over my newly-swept kitchen floor.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
"What? What do you want?" I holler, forgetting that I'm supposed to be the adult here. "You asked for toast. I gave you toast! What more do you want from me? I made you toast!!"
I mean, why would he ask for something that he loves, only to act like I'm betraying him when I actually give it to him? Do you ever ask for a beloved food and then say, "Oh my GOD, what are you thinking, giving me (say) a delicious Oreo cookie milkshake like that? Do you hate me or something?"
This is a particularly frustrating little game when it involves a food that is either expensive or time-consuming to make. I can practically hear my bank account sobbing when William throws his formerly favorite out-of-season fruit on the floor. OR maybe it was just me sobbing. And gah, the frustration when I spend time, mixing up a bowl of piping hot Cream of Wheat (William's favorite breakfast, by the way...some days...), only to have it coldly rejected. And desired. And rejected. And desired again. And rejected again.
It also drives me nuts when I've just stocked up on a food item that I know he loves and then he suddenly and unpredictably declares it verboten. I have a brand new box of animal crackers sitting in the pantry that were suddenly, with absolutely no warning, Untouchable. I have no idea why. Just last week, they were the Big Thing.
It's got to be just a Phase. Right? Everything else with toddlers seems to be just a phase, so I'm banking on that. I'm assuming that he's trying to assert his independence and impose his own will on the universe after months of being sort of at the mercy at whoever could pick him up. But man. I hope he figures out that yes, he can be independent now without having to resort to this crazy food struggle.
Otherwise, what the heck am I going to do with all those animal crackers?