We sat around the table, arranging a board game for our Friday game night. As we’re doling out the cards for Hands Down, I notice something in the corner under a low table. Flower petals? Strips of paper?
I go over to investigate, feeling mildly alarmed.
What I saw made my stomach turn over.
A pile of dried baby carrots.
Elizabeth has not been eating her vegetables effortlessly and without complaint.
She has been HIDING THEM.
I turned to my five-year-old angel, whose eyes were large and dark. “Go to your room this instant,” I said.
She did not whine or cry. Just set down her cards and walked calmly away, as though she’d already imagined this moment many times over.
The rest of us played the game, and she occasionally called out to ask when she could come out.
About ten minutes later, I went to her room. I asked her if she knew what she had done.
“Didn’t eat my vegetables,” she said.
“But what else?”
She lay there in the half-dark. “I didn’t tell you.”
Like many moms, the bigger problem was the dishonesty, not so much the original mistake. I asked her if she wanted to play any games.
“Then you have to eat five carrots.”
She shook her head.
“No?” I asked. “You’d rather lie in bed than eat your carrots and play games?”
She nodded again.
And she did. I sometimes heard her singing to her stuffed dog. I checked on her once or twice, and she asked if she could turn on the light or come watch. I said no. She simply accepted her punishment.
What a long hard fall this has been.