G this morning had a total meltdown when she asked when the project was over. For whatever reason (a/k/a I didn't tell them because it would cause unnecessary pain), she wasn't aware that the project is intended to be 11 months long. She asked how long we've been on it. I said 95 days. She said it seems like much longer, and I told her that it just seems like it (a/k/a I wasn't going to count the 3 month trial we did last fall). But then T reminded her that we had done the trial last fall (thanks) to which I replied, "we sure did the trial last fall and then for the next 40 days, we ate out about 30 times." And I'm not exaggerating. Clearly, we didn't stay on the project long enough to change our bad habits. Hence, the almost-a-year without unnecessary restaurant eating.
And hence the meltdown. G said that she thinks about restaurant food all time, and she gets jealous of all her friends who get to eat fast food all the time. I am so very proud of myself that I chose not to point out that that wasn't really something to be jealous about and that it's a pretty first-world problem to have. Golf clap. I am an excellent mother and not just because I chose not to pick an even bigger fight. And then I said that in two months, when she can drive, she can go buy an over-priced, unhealthy meal everyday if she wanted to. In a loud, judge-y, shrew-like voice, dripping with irony and filled with disappointment at her failing me. In short, exactly what works with almost-16-year-olds. Um, you can cancel that Best Mom Ever plaque.
Once she had left for school, T and I discussed the meltdown, and he, very astutely, said that it's about control. And isn't it always? Being about the most controlling person IN THE WORLD, I should have seen that coming. And yes, this project is about controlling what we eat and how much we spend. And yes, as the only cook in the family, I am pretty much the Idi Amin of our kitchen (although I do take requests). But it's still control that I have and she doesn't. Lifestyle change clearly doesn't come easy. In fact, it sucks.
So then, I began to ask myself, am I really doing the right thing by legislating everything they are eating for an entire year? Or am I creating food issues that didn't exist before? As a kid with weight issues who grew up into an adult with weight issues, it's hard to find the line between educating your kids about diet and exercise and just pissing them off, pushing them to eat just to get back at you. And I still don't know where that line is.
But I do know this. When I picked G up from school today, I offered to take her to the new (okay, now, not so new) Schlotzsky's that all the kids were talking about and making her jealous. And I was seriously okay for her to go, even if it meant having to own up to it here. I almost wanted her to say yes because I wondered if the sandwich in her head really would match the reality. But she turned me down. She said she really didn't want it now. She just wants to be off the project. She wants to be able to have fast food once in a while. But she also said that we aren't very good at once in a while. So, she thinks she can wait. She's very focused on our beach trip. Only 30 more days. And I may let her choose where we go for Mother's Day.
I love that kid.