July 7, 2002 - Sunday
Harry continues to fool around at dinner and not eat and I can't help thinking it's a classic case of craving our attention, whatever form that attention may come. Jeremy's there now at the table and getting attention, but hardly all. Sometimes, although it hardly seems so given the distractions, his mother and I try to talk. And, perhaps because of that, Harry launches into banging or rocking in his chair or loudly singing his me-me-mo-mo ditty. When we do speak to him it is healthy slanted toward negative comments about his lack of attention to eating or his annoying table habits and that make dinners no fun. So, last night I tried something else and I think it might have worked.
I tried to ignore him, save a few direct, though not angry comments about his needing to eat properly or he would not get a post-meal snack. When I finished I my own dinner I got up and left the table, saying I was not interested in listening to him fool around. Eventually, when his mother and Jeremy were done too, he was left alone at the table to finish his dinner. It's fascinating how little children perceive the world around them. As I was wiping of Harry's hands and face after he did eventually finish his plate as we always do at the end of a meal, Harry asked "what are you mad about?" It's funny: I'd been a lot less mad this last evening and a lot less vocal about it. Maybe all that louder stuff is just a fog to him. Maybe it's a response from a parent and that's enough. And, maybe it took the responses stopping coming to made him ask about it. Still I was disturbed by his dinnertime behavior and I told him I was mad about him fooling around so much at the table.
This morning and then again at lunch, Harry ate like a champ. I'm not sure I can claim success because of that, but I'll probably fool myself into thinking that it had something to do with it. By dinner, Harry had regressed and the treatment started again. I don't want this to become the new norm, but I guess I'm going to go with it for a little while. It certainly is easier on me.