Five Ways Dinner With a Toddler is like an Episode of Fear Factor

Five Ways Dinner With a Toddler is Like an Episode of Fear Factor

1. Premise

Fear Factor: Contestants have a limited amount of time to consume something truly disgusting.

Dinner at Home: Toddler has a limited amount of time to consume a standard family meal (meat, carbohydrate, vegetable) that they find truly disgusting. It doesn't matter if the toddler has eaten, loved even, this meal for months, tonight your Fettuccine Alfredo is the equivalent a plate of raw, quivering cow entrails.

2. Prizes

Fear Factor: The contestant is rewarded for their ability to chow down on a bowl of goat testicles by advancing to the next round thus bringing them that much closer to winning several thousand dollars.

Dinner at Home: Dessert. The only reason your toddler hasn't made themselves lose consciousness as a means of escaping the family meal is because they are holding out for what they love the most: the promise of something sweet. It could be anything: a piece of cake, granola bar, cookie, or piece of fruit. To your toddler, dessert is the pot of gold at the end of the three-cheese and meat lasagna rainbow.

3. Drama

Fear Factor: This show obviously works hard to find the most theatrical contestants on Earth. Yes, eating sheep nipples and rat's hearts is disgusting but most of us would simply tap out rather than jump around, howl, and spin in rapid circles to express our displeasure on national television.

Dinner at Home: The amount of crying done at the dinner table varies by toddler but the average tends to be about six gallons of tears. Your toddler may also go under the table, rip their clothes as a sign of mourning, and plead to the heavens as part of their one-man act. Their goal is to exhaust you emotionally into calling the whole thing off and handing over a slice of white bread generously slathered with peanut butter. 


4. Number of Bites Rule

Fear Factor: You can't just nibble on the fetal pig in Fear Factor. You have to eat the whole thing. The same rules apply for dinner at home. Your toddler might not have to clear their plate, but they do have to consume a set number of bites. Savvy toddlers will try to negotiate their number of bites down to the bare minimum. "Five? How about four? Three and-a-half?" It's always surprising when a toddler who is unaware of their last name haggles like an experienced used car salesmen.

5. No-Barf Policy

On Fear Factor there is one very important rule when it comes to drinking that pint of hyena breastmilk: no barfing. Same goes for dinner at home. We all know toddlers are wonderful at vomiting to express their dissatisfaction but barf on the table in the absence of a fever always results in immediate dessert disqualification and an expedited bedtime.

Enjoy your meal/ongoing reality game show/nightly piece of hell. 

I wrote a book called Toddlers Are A**holes. It's a fucking mess. Just like my life.  Get it: Toddlers Are A**holes on Amazon or Barnes & Noble