Monday, February 23, 2009

Bribes Я Us

Okay, I admit it.

I bribed Big Brother (with good intentions), and it basically blew up in my face.

As discussed previously, Big Brother is quite the picky eater. That said, he's made a few gains as of late. For one, he rediscovered a previous infatuation with corn muffins, eating a total of five over the last two batches.

Meat and other non-yogurt sources of protein are still off limits for him, and I got a little impatient about his protein coming largely from Flintstones.

You see, Big Brother used to like peanut butter. I mean he LOVED his PB crackers. Then one day, about 2 years ago, apparently peanut butter was no longer en vogue, and it hasn't touched his lips since. We still don't know what happened.

And so, about a week or two ago, I told Big Brother if he tried peanut butter that he could go to Target and pick out a small toy (READ: INSERT BIG MISTAKE HERE). I figured a little extra incentive wouldn't hurt, and I already know he likes peanut butter. (I FIGURED WRONG).

Although the idea of a Lightning McQueen car piqued his interest, he didn't take the bait. Every now and again, I'd casually remind him, "if you take a bite of peanut butter, just one bite, we can go get that toy."

Out of the blue on Friday, he DID take the bait. A switch must've flipped, and he decided he was going to do it. I didn't even have to ask him. He said, "Dad-E, if I eat peanut butter on a pretzel, can I have that toy?" "Sure!" I said with excitement.

We ate peanut butter together, feeding each other PB-dipped pretzels. He ate about 4 pretzels. He even ate PB on a cracker. It was a great father-son bonding moment. I was THRILLED, and so was Mom-E.

As promised, we went out to pick out the toy. It was initially delayed by a trip to Verizon (SUBJECT OF THIS COMING WEDNESDAY'S POST--STAY TUNED), and Big Brother falling asleep in the car (for an hour after not napping all day).

We then stopped for a sandwich before going to Target, and at that point a now awake Big Brother LOST IT! He was tired of waiting and he wanted the toy NOW!

The stares of tens of pairs of eyes in the resteraunt burned like steaming hot guilt on my conscience. "My intentions were good, but now I've created an ungrateful monster (and a tired, groggy monster at that)," I thought.

We survived dinner (barely). We did go ahead and get him the toy (decided not to break a promise to a 4 year-old, even if he did throw a tantrum). The difference was night and day. Mom-E and I have never heard quite such a constellation of "thank yous" and "I love this car" and "wow that's a great present." There was enough gratitude left over to bottle up and sell.

But the story doesn't end here.

No, now Big Brother is in the process of trying extrapolate our deal, in an attempt to garner more toys.

The next day he asked "If I eat peanut butter on a cracker, can I get A-NOTH-ER toy?" "No," I replied. "You already ate peanut butter on a cracker." "No, I didn't," he retorted.

I started to feel like I was riding in a truck that's lost its brakes without a runaway truck ramp in sight.

He tried it again at dinner last night. "Dad-E, what do I get if I eat a peanut butter cracker?" "We'll be proud of you, that's it," Mom-E and I said in unison.

Without prompting, he even took a bite of a fruit and grain dinner roll (something he'd otherwise never do), and basically asked "what do I get for that?"
"We'll be proud of you, that's it," Mom-E and I again said in unison.

I should know by now that a test of wills versus Big Brother is doomed to fail. This child does (many) things on his own schedule. I'm not at all saying he's oppositional. He's a very good boy, very sweet and loving. There are just certain things that he's not going to do until he makes up his mind he's going to do it. Trying to push him into it will only delay the process. I can't think of ANYONE ELSE in the family who is like that.

*Ahem, ahem, ahem* (Sorry, some more guilt was stuck in my throat).

Food is just one of "those things" for him. Since then, I've offered him PB pretzels, which he now wants NOTHING to do with. Ouch.

Morals of the story:
1. Don't bribe your children. It's not worth it, and better on everyone if you don't.
2. Pass the Flintstones, please.

See you on Wednesday,


  1. Well Dad-E, once again you have turned something that was very frustrating for you and Mom-E into a hilarious story. I am laughing and laughing and laughing.....
    Live and learn, trial and error...and all that stuff. As they say, kids do not come with instructions.

  2. Thanks for the support, Gramm-E.
    I can't help but try to see the humor in all of this.
    The alternative is to beat my head against the wall.
    I know that some day down the road I'll look back with longing on these days, chaotic though they may be.

  3. LOL. I know this lesson all too well. Thank you for sharing. You are not alone!

  4. Okay note to self...don't do that! My husband has always been a picky eater. Not that I haven't had my moments, but it won't surprise me if our little boy turns out to be picky also. I'll plan on learning from this story! haha!! thank you!

  5. And as they get older, the negotiations only get more and more complex. With my six year old, it's like he's trying to negotiate world peace. "But, if I clean up my room, help sissy put away her clothes, and do my homework, can I play Xbox for one more hour? What if I just clean up my room and do my homework, can I still get an hour of Xbox IF I be nice for one day?"