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March 27, 2010

I Can Out Wait You

The four of them were sitting at the kitchen table eating the last meal of the day. She didn't want to eat. The mother and father were raising their voices in anger and she was the target. Her older brother had witnessed this scene many times and he chewed his food quickly and pretended he was invisible.

She was eight years old. The stress and turmoil that she lived with was a secret. She and her brother did not talk about it to each other and knew instinctively not to share any of their private home life with outsiders.

Meals were not happy times. So sitting still and eating the food put in front of her was difficult for her. Her stomach made noises. If she accidentally belched she would be knocked out of her chair. So she maintained a rigid back and tried to eat small amounts.

When the mother and father were ready to leave the table, they told the brother to go to his room. Their parting words to her as they left the kitchen were "You eat all your food. You are going to sit here until you do, even if it takes all night." That was not new to her. She had heard those same words many times in her young life.

Hour after hour she sat on her chair and daydreamed until she became sleepy. She could hear her brother going to bed for the night. She heard her mother go into the bathroom to prepare for bed and her father was in the living room watching television.

She scooped the food into her paper napkin, ran from the kitchen out the back door past the patio and hid the napkin of food and ran back to the kitchen. When her mother came into the kitchen to check on her, she coincidentally ate the last fork of food.

36 comments:

Clippy Mat said...

sad :-(
the things that people do to children in the name of.... what?
just bad.
and sad.

Brian Miller said...

lol. i have played that game...my brother had to eat pepper covered mashed potatoes because he tried to get out of eating them by making them inedible...

DJan said...

I will never forget the contest of wills between my mother and sister. She didn't want to eat a grilled cheese sandwich. She finally did, the next day, after sitting there all night. :-(

Ms Hen said...

..... parents did that long ago..

Some parents bend over backwards and do too much to please children and they are too picky.. but some parents are horrible and force feeding their children. (sad).

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

Is the food that bad? Or the girl just strive hard to be difficult?

Margie said...

Oh, so sad :-(
When I read your words, "If she accidently belched she would be knocked out of her chair." I just wanted to hug that dear little girl!

Margie.

Shrinky said...

It's not the food, it's the deliberate cruelty, isn't it? Kids are totally at the mercy, behind closed doors, of whatever a parent decides to do. If a child draws the short straw and is born to bullies, their world can turn into nothing short of a living nightmare.

I have a feeling this little girl did finally manage to escape, and to do very well, indeed..

Eternally Distracted said...

How sad... good for her that she was clever enough to find a hiding space for the food.

Jeanie said...

Hugs to that little girl and hugs to the strong, creative woman she grew to be.

Kathy M. said...

I recognize the scene. Though I was never so daring. Though one time I told my mom that the french fried zucchini she served was making me feel sick. She insisted that I eat it all, which I did, and promptly got sick. Right there at the table. She never made me eat anything again!

I admire your spunk. Hugs.

secret agent woman said...

You could have been describing my childhood here - except that I would sit and cry. I would never force my children to eat food they didn't like or were not hungry for.

Mama Zen said...

Oh, this is sad!

Ina in Alaska said...

My parents did this to me one time. I hated baked beans and they were on my plate. They said, stay at the table until they are gone. Well I fixed that. I ate the beans, then promptly threw them up. Problem solved.

Those "parents" you wrote of were evil creatures.

Jason, as himself said...

Who is this girl? And what does it take for a parent like this to realize they're being cruel, not teaching or disciplining?

Cheryl said...

This could have been written by me. I would have to sit for hours. I vowed when I had children I would never subject them to this cruelty.

otin said...

Been there done that! I had a dad and stepmother who thought that you could make kids like the taste of things.

Enchanted Oak said...

I was forced to eat brussels sprouts! Oh, Lord. Once and only once did I tell my daughter she had to eat something. Then I came to my senses and relented. I'm sorry if the girl was you.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I'm so sad as I read this...such an unreasonable demand that people once placed on their children...and so very foolish to do so...this is not a worthwhile battle...and the parent most often loses...it makes me sad to think of what the children actually glean from this...such conditional love and a harsh environment...Love, Janine XO

jinksy said...

Possibly growing up in wartime made me less picky - I was just glad there was something to eat - though I remember my younger brother cutting peas in half to save eating a whole one!

Unknown Mami said...

This just breaks my heart. I don't understand and I don't want to understand why some people treat children so harshly.

I had a difficult childhood with all kinds of horrid happenings, but I can honestly say that my mother never deliberately tortured me and that the things that happened were not because of her.

bermudabluez said...

This is just sad....really, really sad. So many other things to worry about in this world.

Sarah said...

Ackkkk..I never had to do that thank goodness..but know so many who did! Beautifully writen hon!!
I left you a special blog award on my blog hon...hope you will come snag it:) Love, Sarah

Ronda Laveen said...

Reminds me of my brother. Whenever my mother made "stew" for dinner, he would take one look and just head to his bedroom for the evening for that was the punishment for not eating.

Interesting thing was, if she called it "goulash" he ate every bite and asked for more.

We had "goulash" frequently and "stew" rarely.

Hilary said...

It has noting to do with food and all to do with power and control. Hugs to you, if that girl was your own self.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I can't stop crying. I was that little girl.

Big hugs!!

gayle said...

I hate mash potatoes because my mom made me eat them and when I did they were cold. yuck!

That was a sad story!

Together We Save said...

Interesting story... can be looked at from many angles. Hope the girl doesnt have anything wrong with her to make her not want to eat.

Maggie said...

We have all been there atleast once in our lifetime. *sighs*

Kazzy said...

My parents always asked me to try stuff, but I was never in trouble over food. That just makes the problem so much worse.

Lola Sharp said...

Oh that was pretty much my life...my little brother the 'good/invisible' child, and me who would be forced to eat everything on my plate (that my mother would load onto my plate at portions she deemed I have)...but my mother was smart. She would stay in the room with me no matter how long it took. Every time I tried to hide things in my napkin or under potatoes, I would get my mouth washed out with Ivory soap, and then have to finish my plate of food with the soap bubbles in my mouth. If I cried, then I would get a wooden spoon beating. If I threw up, I would have to eat another plate full.

I finally learned to swallow it all down with gulps of water, like pills.

I relate totally. I'm with you.

Syd said...

Another reason to have a good dog around. It helps in situations like these. Plus the child has a companion who loves and isn't mean.

Margie said...

Reading this story again before I go to bed.
It's just too darn sad!
Why, oh why do parents treat their children in such a way?

Tonz of hugs to you dear friend!
I'm so very glad to know such a special person like you!

Margie xx

deb said...

You hit me hard with this.
I want to hug both the little girl, and the woman she became.

I witnessed this, and know people who grew up with similar table memories.

I'm not saying I haven't over reacted a time or two figuring out food issues with my five kids over the years,

but this is heartbreaking.

BrightenedBoy said...

I've always thought that it was a special kind of idiocy that made parents force children to eat every scrap of food on their plate.

So many boys and girls have had to suffer through dinnertime because their parents can't grasp that children have smaller stomachs than adults!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I had to finish some food too..kids were starving in China I was told. I promptly puked up the cottage cheese and said "send them that"..I was a terribly headstrong child.
I do feel sorry for that little girl..too bad she didn't have a dog:(

Joanna Jenkins said...

Jeez, Techno. I am so sorry.
xoxo