Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. 

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Food Fight

No one moved when my six-year-old son choked on his food. My husband shot me a look and I put down my fork to place a reassuring hand on my son’s arm. I asked if he was okay. He put up his hand and spoke. That’s the rule. He cannot cry, scream, or stay silent. Crying and screaming with food in his mouth leads to actual, dangerous choking. Silence scares us and turns into full-blown parental freak-out. Sadly, after so many years of watching my baby get sick every meal, I don’t need to force myself to stay calm anymore.

My son has sensory processing disorder. He is underweight and drinks a can of pediatric formula every day. He often gags on food because of its texture. But he is a child. He needs to eat. He needs to understand that not everything will make him sick. He needs a mom who will make him taste new foods. It doesn’t always work out well. Like the time I figured we’d all eat hamburgers for dinner and, sparing you the gory details, my son wound up empty and angry.

Yet sometimes, a little push does work. And that’s what I focus on. Instead of beating myself up about the times things went badly, I try to remember the times when my husband stared at me with tears in his eyes and mouthed, “Thank you.” Or the times I unceremoniously shouted at my son, “Hey! You’re eating it! Wait, wait! Hold your fork up, I’m getting the camera.” Yes, I have a lot of pictures of my kid eating. It’s weird, I know. But, when I look back over those photos of my son holding up a piece of hot dog or chicken nugget, he is smiling.

In your journal today, think about these questions...  Have you ever pushed your child to do something he or she didn’t want to do? How did it turn out? Is there anything your child does now that is a direct result of you trying to get them to do something new or scary or different?

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Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogeditor (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd love to read your ideas! 


Sarah Brentyn is a geek, a mum, and a freelance writer who loves good books and good wine. She enjoys writing fiction like those people who enjoy singing in the shower. She is a contributing writer for her local paper where she shares columns about life, kids, and whatever floats her boat. Visit her at Lemon Shark. Connect with her on Twitter at @SarahBrentyn.


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So much of motherhood is role as "Soloman" as far as making choices. However, every success you bring about is one less failure out in the world outside. Sounds like you have good judgment calls, a few special pictures and a wonderful husband who appreciates you.
We feel emotions sharper when they relate to our children. It can be exhausting to have to try something scary at each meal and go through this. The piece is well-written and my heart aches reading it.
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