Today’s school day seemed to be another good one for Mark, but I sure wouldn’t have guessed that based on this morning.  He was crabby when he woke up, but things really got bad when I told him to change into his clothes in his room, and not the bathroom.  We only have one bathroom upstairs, so we place priority on those needing to use the toilet.  He didn’t like that, and after some arguing with me, started crying at the top of his lungs.  While all the other kids got dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast, he stood in his room and cried.  This slowed everyone’s morning down, and we barely got out the door on time.  (I feel for you now, Foster Ima.)  I don’t even remember how I got him to get dressed; I think I told him he wouldn’t have time to eat breakfast or something.

(As a side note, when Mark has one of his crying fits, he cries like a tw0 year old!  The best way to describe it is really just crying at the top of his lungs – it’s quite amazing really – and loud.)

Then at dinner, we had soup and salad.  As usual, Mark refused to eat any of it – this time, it was because there were green beans in the soup.  I pointed out that Daughter, who refuses green beans because they give her goose bumps, was slurping her soup down, so the green beans couldn’t be that bad.  (Ever helpful, she enthusiastically agreed.)

As usual, everyone ate their fill, including Nikki, who by now hardly refuses anything.  Mark and I just sat there, in a stand-off (sit-off?) – he told me he would have to sleep in his chair, and I said I would too.  The thing that gets me is how forlorn he is in his refusals.  He’s not trying to be defiant;  it’s like he’s resigned to his fate of not eating anything I serve and nothing can save him.

Through the course of our negotiating, he came under the impression that if he didn’t eat his soup (we narrowed it down to three green beans and two pieces of potato), he wouldn’t get to talk to his mom.  I didn’t actually say that, I said something like “After you eat your soup, you can call Mama.”  And I didn’t bother to correct his assumption.  I thought it would give him a big incentive to eat the freakin’ three bites of food and get it over with.  WRONG!  It actually caused him to burst into another crying-at-the-top-of-his-lungs spiel.  After a few minutes of that at the table, I asked him to go up to his room until he could calm down and stop the screaming, so he stood in his room and screamed/cried for another 15 minutes.  Finally, he calmed down enough to come down, and he sat back in his chair, and sobbed out things like:

“I broke my Mama’s promise!”

“I’m so mean to my Mama!”

“I’m not Mama’s special boy anymore!”

WHOA, buckaroo.  Where’d that come from?  So then I realized he had all those thoughts pegged to his phone call with Mom.  I assured him he would still get to call his Mom, as I had been assuring him through the whole fit (he would respond with “But I can’t finish my soup!”)  That’s nuts!  The poor kid had that much emotion invested in his phone call to Mom, and he STILL couldn’t just finish those bites.  WOW.

Finally, I had to admit my plan wasn’t working, so I suggested calling Mom first, and finishing the soup after.  We did, and of course, no one answered.  But over the next ten minutes, as Mark sat in his chair, and I kept dialing, he did it.  He ate the part I asked him to finish.  He was very proud of himself – I pretended to fall down on the floor I was so surprised, and he really liked that.  But we never could get a hold of Mom this evening.  Mark took it better than I thought.  I guess two crying fits are enough for one day.