May I be excused?

For the past few months, J has been involved in a battle with C over food. More specifically, she wants him to eat his dinner and he doesn’t. I’ve been involved only peripherally, encouraging him to eat, but letting J do the heavy lifting.

We have a bit of an advantage in this particular battle because the booster chair that the little guy sits in actually has ties on it. Yes, we tie our child to the chair for dinner. Believe me, it sounds worse than it is. It’s really more like a seatbelt.

In any case, he’s been learning that when he wants to be done, he needs to ask "may I be excused." On a typical night, he’ll ask to be excused, J will try to convince him to eat more food, he’ll persist in asking, and J will switch to suggesting something like pineapple or bananas or some other such fruit.

Well, this past Monday he invited J and myself to come to a dinner he was preparing. He led us to his little plastic table, where he’d set out toy plates with plastic foods. We all sat down and pretended to eat.

After a while of pretending, I asked to be excused.

Before C could answer, J smiled and said, "how about one more bite? Maybe some pineapple…"

C leapt up. "No! No more bites!" He turned to me, "Yes! Yes, you may be excused. You go play now. You don’t have to stay at dinner. You can be excused."

He nodded definitively, and then sat back down and looked defiantly at J, who burst out laughing.

What could I do? I left to go play.

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