For some reason, I always thought that kids were supposed to drink juice. Maybe because when I grew up, water was a 4 letter word. It was always juice, or soda, or kool aid. Sugar, sugar, and more sugar. When my daughter hit juice drinking age, we had already discovered her citrus acid intolerance, denying us access to any store bought drink other than Simply Apple. We started buying juice concentrates from the health food store, and making juice from scratch. Of course we could only make apple and grape, but it was better than nothing. The concentrates were thick as tar, but mixed with water and sugar, it did the trick. Somewhere along the line, a few parenting skills must have fallen off the wagon, because here we are, at what I like to call "The Great Sippy Standoff of '09".
I hand Eleanore a cup of water. No, sorry, a sippy of water. She doesn't know how to drink from regular cups yet (another parenting fail), she takes a sip, spits it out, and hands it back to me. I explain to her that its just water, like the wet stuff she takes a bath in (maybe that's why she thinks its OK to drink bath water), and that we drink it to be healthy. She takes another sip, spits it out, and throws the sippy down full force. ...Um, no ma'am! I send her to time out for throwing, and after she calms down and comes out, attempt to feed her the tasteless wet stuff one more time. I'm sure you saw the monumental tantrum coming from a mile away? Well here it is.
The first couple of times I gave in. I was weak. I hated upsetting my baby. I hated watching her hyperventilate, knowing that there was juice in the fridge, and I could just give her that instead. That way shes happy, no tears, no stress, no mess. I... was a sucker.
One day I woke up and noticed that we didn't have any of the components required for juice making. No Simply Apple. No fresh fruit. No juice concentrate. Not even milk. It was towards the end of the paycheck (Military gets payed on the 1st and 15th of every month) and our kitchen was abandoned. I took a deep breath, quickly tried to prepare myself mentally, and walked straight into the ring. This is the moment I had been working up to. All of the previous water drinking induced tantrums were all leading up to this great battle. An epic war between Mother and Daughter. Water and juice. Taste and health.
"Eleanore, we don't have any milk this morning. And we don't have any juice. You'll have to drink this water please", I said, handing her a freshly made sippy.
My mom face was on. Mascara for war paint. I held my breath and waited for the bullet to hit me.
It didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. I had seen it coming, I knew what to expect. Kicking. Screaming. Begging. Confusion turned anger turned hate. She hated me. But, she didn't really hate me. I was standing my ground. I had no choice.
"You cannot have anything to eat, until you finish your water", I told her in the calmest yet strictest voice I own. I repeated it 1,000 times. 5 hours later, with puffy eyes and exhausted lungs, Miss Eleanore went to bed without having breakfast, or lunch. We spent the entire day going rounds. She gave me everything she had. Hitting, throwing, breaking things... everything she had. Well too bad little girl, because I'm the mom, and you're the child, and I'm stronger.
When she woke up from her nap, I was ready for her. I may or may not have slipped some natural red (raspberry) food coloring into her water, with a pinch of sugar. I don't consider it cheating. A compromise, if anything. When she asked me for milk, using her sweetest most innocent angel baby voice, I was half tempted to give in. I was exhausted. It would have been so nice to just hand her what she wanted, and live out the rest of our day in peace. No more tears. But... this was a fight I intended on finishing. A battle that I was going to win.
Screaming. Hitting. Kicking. The mother of all meltdowns. But wait...
Miss Eleanore, the queen of stubborn, was giving up. A battle well fought, but even the greatest of warriors can be defeated.
9 hours after it began, the Great Sippy Standoff of '09, was over. And I had won.