Well I think (and it may be to soon to declare victory) that the method outlined in the book "The Happy Child Guide" is a hit. Normally meal times are a bit rough around here. These last few days things have been much better. The Girl has eaten all or almost all of her food with very little resistance. She's even gotten back in the habit of putting her dishes in the sink when she is done! I've noticed a marked improvement in her overall behavior too. She still puts up a fight and attempts to argue or yell. However, when she realizes I am not going to do anything but speak to her calmly and not yell back she gives up. It is still hard to stay totally calm and I'll admit I have slipped up a few times.
I am hesitant to share this, but I'm sure I'm not alone as a parent in having moments where I've been resentful of The Girl. While not the most spectacular mothering admission, it is true sometimes. The Girl is extremely social, funny, active and entertaining. Lately though, those qualities have been hiding behind the behavior she has been exhibiting. I can honestly say that after practicing the tips outlined in the book I can see more and more of The Girl I know and love. Last night she spontaneously took our hands and said a little prayer to say thanks for our food and for her family.
So here's to being more intentional about parenting, admitting that parenting is hard, and coming face to face with the fact that I have a lot to learn.
P.S. I admit that The Girl's hair leaves a bit to be desired in that photo. However, she's not much for looking and smiling simultaneously so I couldn't resist since the smile is so great.