Our little monkeys have recently picked up the expression I am horrified from somewhere, and once in a while, they play the horrified game with each other! Usually, it involves making a throaty “Aww” sound followed by a pause and and a shocked, surprised face like this:
And then they burst into laughter! It is a hilarious sight to watch.
Today, it turned out to be a great way to get them to sit down at the table and eat their lunch. We had some leftover cheese ravioli, which they like to eat with a sprinkle of organic cheese (their word for grated Parmesan cheese) without any sauce. They were tired after playing hard in the morning sun and were in no mood to sit down and eat! After a little thought, and in a flash of sudden inspiration, I got them into the horrified game in exchange for a few bites of different things on the table!
“If you eat this ravioli, I will be horrified, I said as I demonstrated their familiar horrified expression”.
It caught on, because they were soon going at each other popping a piece of ravioli in their mouth and playing the game.
Son: Baba, if I eat this ravioli, you will be horrified, right?
Me: Yes, absolutely! As I played horrified in return for his effort. He giggled as he saw my frozen face!
Meanwhile, I was eating some leftover pizza and I threw the challenge out to them –
Me: If I eat this pizza, you will be horrified!
It was my daughter who made the face this time in response:
It was incredibly funny! We went around several times, taking turns playing the horrified game. Soon the ravioli was gone, the glass of milk was empty and everybody was feeling happy.
It was now time to turn to the pieces of cantaloupe and honey dew melon waiting patiently in a bowl.
Me: (confident that the formula was working) If you eat this orange melon, I will be horrified..
It worked as both of them grabbed a piece each and popped it in their mouths, waiting for me to do the horrified face. And then some more giggling and laughter…and then we went around, taking turns playing the game.
Soon that was gone too and it was time to clean up before settling down for a nap.
Not bad for a half-hour of fun, I thought, where fussiness was replaced by laughter as they finished their lunch.
Bottom line: Getting toddlers to sit down and eat as a family is a challenge for most parents, us included! We try to do something silly and make up interesting stories to keep their interest. Sometimes it is the Diesel Food For a Diesel Engine while at another time it might be something like Eating Salad Like a Giraffe! Recently, it was to get them to ask their little stomach about what it wanted to eat!. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but when it does, it is a great way of capturing their imagination while stretching your own.
Share your story. What has worked for you in getting your little ones to sit down and eat with you?