Smockity Talks

Welcome to the last installment of the everlasting, long going Smockity Talks. (I heard that! You whispered a “finally!” didn’t you?)

The first of the last of the questions comes from my real life friend, Alice. (Hi, Alice!)

Assuming what’s done is done and you can’t say “Don’t do a reality TV show” or “Be nicer to your husband,” what would you tell Kate Gosselin if you were asked to give her advice?

Hoo-boy! Hm. This is a tough one, primarily because the two things you listed that I can’t say are two of the things I would say.

Since there has been a LOT of water under the bridge in that relationship, the only hope would be for her to forgive her husband and ask him to come back for the sake of the family. Beyond that (which I imagine the situation is beyond that), I would hope that Kate would take a good hard look at how her behavior may have contributed to the marriage being damaged in such a way that her husband would look for companionship in bars with women half his age. Repeatedly.

PLEASE, note here that I am not saying all men who cheat are doing so because their wives were not pleasant to live with, but COME ON! Anyone who has seen more than two episodes of the show knows that being, how shall I say… a big fat meanie to your husband won’t create any warm, fuzzy feelings.

And now that at least half of you are offended, let’s move on to the next question, shall we?

From Leslie: What do you do about whining? It’s my ultimate hot button and drives me crazy! My 20mo-old has already begun and with another here soon, and Lord willing many more to come, I have got to get a hold on this…

I don’t really have a good answer for this one, so if anyone does, please, jump in. We just implemented “consequence cards” for issues like this, but the trouble is The Mom has to actually remember to use them and then remember where she put them and then remember who was whining before they all run out the door to play. In other words, does anyone want to give me a hand on this one?

Next, from Diana: My question is how big is your house to accommodate 8 children?

We have 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, 2300 square feet. It does feel cramped at times, especially when we visit folks who have a lot more space per person, but then I remind myself that there are people living full and happy lives with a lot less that we have been blessed with. In fact, many millions of people all throughout history have had less space and material possessions and have lived productive, blessed lives. It is hard to remember sometimes, but I remind myself frequently that Godliness with contentment is great gain.

And lastly from Sharon: How do you deal with food? I HATE the idea of food bargaining (eat this and you can have that), but I find myself doing it recently… Also people talk about making two or three dinners every night (again I’m sure this isn’t an option for you), I guess I end up doing that a lot. I think I’m sure he won’t eat this so I’ll make a sandwich for him. So, what do you do? What do your dinners look like?

I really don’t have the patience or time to deal with picky eaters. I do have a couple, but they just usually eat what they like and then wait for the next meal. There have been occasions when I have allowed the picky eater to make his own sandwich if we are having an informal meal.

I don’t go out of my way to fix special plates (I don’t have time!), but I don’t require anyone to eat, either. Everyone knows they can take it or leave it, and they should always show appreciation for the effort the cook put into the menu whether they liked it or not. Leaving it means waiting until the next meal and either hoping it is something they like or not being so picky!

I did read a book once that indicated picky eaters can be trained to enjoy more foods if their choices are limited. That was about 12 years ago, so I can’t remember the name of the book, but I have found that advice to be mostly right.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Smockity Talks! Please, jump in with your own experiences or opinions on these questions in comment section.

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Comments

  1. I have recently found something that works like a charm with whining children. When they are not using their nice voices I simply say, “I can’t understand a whining voice. I only understand nice voices.” And then I don’t answer them. If they continue I say it again. Then they normally give up and try to talk nicely. DO NOT answer them until they talk right.

    With food I will not ever make them something different to eat. I would hate if I did this at home and then they went to someone’s house and was rude and wanted to eat something different. They eat what they are have in front of them. Always a healthy meal with veggies. Ok… not always but most of the time. :) They learn what types of foods are good for them this way. If they do not eat then they have to wait til the next meal. I used to fight with them at every meal about their food, but that wasn’t working for us at all. Now I don’t stress about if they eat or not. It isn’t that big a deal. And they will eat when they are really hungry. And a few hidden veggies in the food help to get the vitamins into them that they need even if they refuse to eat their veggies.

  2. About not remembering the whining consequence cards…I am with you there! My husband and I will implement a great plan, and at the end of the day I’ll say, “The kids blablablablabla!” And he’ll say, “What about the plan?” And I’ll say, “I forgot about that,” 0r “I couldn’t find the chart” etc. I need a one-punishment-fits-all solution!

  3. OK—4 bedrooms. But your ratio of girls to boys is not exactly even. How does that work?

    • @brenda,
      Right now our only boy (13yo) shares a room with the 2yo. It is really sweet to see the bond they have.

      Of course, that will soon change and I guess he’ll eventually share with the new baby until she gets older.

  4. I agree with Jennifer. I tell my boys that I can’t understand them unless they talk in a normal voice. I’ve always heard that girls whine more than boys, but since I don’t have daughters, I cannot say from experience. However, when my boys are around girl relatives for a few days, the whining from by boys increases exponentially! I don’t know if it is because of the girl thing or because of what the parents tolerate.

    As for meals, the boys have to eat one bite of everything served; of course, they can have more. :) If you complain, you get a bigger scoop. I really only have one picky eater, and with him it is mosty veggies. I try not to serve meals he doesn’t like for two days in a row. I try to make sure that there is a meal he really enjoys before and after the meal he doesn’t like. That way I know he will eat well most of the time.

  5. Lois Groat says:

    Yes, the way to go is to ignore the whiner. Really. Completely. After you inform them kindly and apologetically that you can not understand anything they say in that voice, DO NOT GIVE IN. Just ignore them. It works. It really does. (I have 8 kids. I know.)

  6. My oldest didn’t whine. Ever. At all. In fact, if she had been my only child, I would have thought I was the most perfect, insightful mother to ever breathe air and I would have my own cable-access tv show.

    Pride, my friends, it cometh before the next 4 kids.

    It took some doing, but I got a handle on the whining thing with kid 2. I took her into my lap one day and told her I was very sorry I had let her talk in a whining voice. I said that I had been wrong, and I asked her to forgive me. Then I told her that I would only respond when she used her big girl voice, and asked her to show me how her big girl voice sounded. “Like this, Mom?” she said. “Oh, that’s beautiful!” I told her. From that day to this (3 more kids!), I haven’t responded to whining. The older kids will actually coach the younger ones on how best to get my attention when I’m whistling away at the sink, ignoring the whining pleas of a toddler or preschooler. “Mom doesn’t hear whining,” they remind the offender, “talk big!”

    Regarding picky eaters: I serve food 5 times a day. There are three meals and two snacks. They are planned in advance with preferences and nutrition in mind, and the menu is on the fridge, so no one (especially me!!) has to wonder what we’re having to eat. I make a variety of foods, and welcome input and requests when I’m planning the menu.

    When the kids are little, they may ask for a “no, thank you” serving, meaning “I’m not so sure about this, but I’ll try a bite”. They will receive heaps of praise (and perhaps a little extra dessert) if they will “be a taster”, giving them the option to put a bite in their mouths, chew it 3 times, then choose to swallow or dispose of it discreetly in a napkin. If something looks intriguing and they don’t have to commit to a whole serving, many times they’re willing to give it a taste.

    Also, people under the age of 10 have their plates prepared by an older person to cut down on food waste. We always put a “no, thank you” serving (1-2 bites) of any new or less favored foods on the younger kids’ plates. To get seconds of a favorite (mac & cheese!!), the child must eat everything originally served on his plate. It just doesn’t bother me for one of my kids to leave the table hungry. We eat 5 times a day!! They won’t be hungry for long. If they are, it’s their own fault.

    I’ve had children (even young adults!!) eat in our home who would ask “what else do you have?” or say “I don’t like pork chops” and even “I hate casseroles.” I can only hope that’s not something one of my children would do.

    /hijack

  7. I am proud proponet of food bargaining, i.e., you get dessert if you eat a GOOD serving (more than 3 bites) of ALL the food on the table. This has always worked extremely well for us. All of our children (ages 9, 7, and 5) are willing and eager to try new food. We started teaching them when they were under twelve months to eat what we were eating. I believe consistency works wonders in this area. All three children did not enjoy trying new dishes, vegetables, and especially salads when they were under three years old, but we would offer a good dessert (usually just a cookie or something small) and they would eat! Eventually, the bribe was no longer needed because their tastebuds were not offended! We did offer consequences for not obeying their parents if they would not open their mouth, swallow, etc. Starting them out little helps so much! It is a real blessing not to have a struggle in this area because parenting is difficult and mealtimes should not be a a part of the battle.

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