Dear Jamie of 2010,
You are trying so hard to parent Amos right now. It’s hard. Really hard. One moment he’s all over you cuddling, and the next minute he’s running from you with no regard for your voice, your rules, your house, your anything! You have waited so long for him to come home and you had no idea that after he finally joined your family that the everyday life would be so hard.
I mean, how hard is it to take four kids to the grocery store? OH MY GOSH IS IT HARD! Especially when you have a 2 year old, 6 year old, 4 year old and another 4 year old that doesn’t care if he runs away from you in the store. You will soon learn exactly how many kids can fit in that grocery cart with your groceries. You can do it.
You like control. That’s nothing new, and so there’s that one time at dinner when you thought it would be a great time to enforce that control over Amos. I mean he needs to know who’s in charge. Right?
Poor kid doesn’t like salad. I mean he’s from Haiti, why would he like salad? He also likes meat and your family is vegetarian. Stinks for him, because there’s no meat to be found in your house.
One night at dinner you tell Amos, just like you have always told all your kids, that he needed to finish his salad before he could get more of the pasta. That’s how we do it at the Ivey house. Gotta get those veggies in you! I know you are new here, but that’s our dinner time rule, so get used to it. (Gosh, you were so mean!)
The standoff has begun, and you will win. You will show him who is in control. He can’t run from you. He can’t ignore you. He can’t not eat his salad.
Girl … here’s my advice to you. Let it go. The kid is new to America. The kid is new to your family. The kid wants some meat and all you give him is broccoli. Don’t force him to eat the salad. This is not a battle worth fighting. You have so many daily battles, and so many more ahead of you that this one is not worth it. For the love, give him some pasta, and throw a meatball on there while you are at it. Make him feel safe at your table. Who cares what the other kids think? They still need to eat their salad, but use this time to explain why Amos feels this way to your other kids. Life isn’t fair, and so this doesn’t have to be fair either.
The truth is that Amos will eventually like salad. He’ll eventually start to fall in line to the rules at your house. Give the kid a break. Your control is not more important than his adjustment and comfort in such a new place. In fact I’m rather embarrassed that you chose this moment to stand your ground with him.
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt because this time in your life was crazy to say the least. You were lucky to be sitting at the dinner table and not asleep on the couch by dinner time. So, we can laugh about it now, and hopefully Amos isn’t scarred for life from this.
Jamie in 2013