I reheated some left-over spaghetti for lunch today which my 4 year old had absolutely NO interest in eating. His younger 2 year old sister finished hers in good time and then sweetly asked, “Mommy, I finished my spaghetti. Now I get to have dessert?” When I asked her what she wanted, like her true mother’s child she confidently replied, “Chocolate!” So, I quickly obliged.
I had not had lunch yet and seeing my son’s bowl barely touched I asked if I could have the rest of it. He said, “Sure, Mommy! You get to have the rest.” After another 30 second reheat, as I’m about to tackle the small bowl before heading out the door he sweetly asks, “Mommy, can I have dessert now?” Did I oblige? Uh, that’s a big fat NO. Nice try, but I don’t think so. I did, however, give him another chance to eat his spaghetti. Reluctantly, he began to eat it noodle by noodle. Having taken about two bites, he asks again. He made his disappointment with my answer known but continued to slowly eat noodle by noodle. Before long he lost interest again.
As time keeps drifting by and we still need to get out the door soon, I finally say, “Ok, ‘Siah. You have 5 minutes to finish your spaghetti and then I’m taking it away.” (Enough time for me to swap laundry before skirting out.) I wish you could have seen him shovel it in. Within 60 seconds the bowl was empty! “Ok, Mommy! I’m finished! Now I get to have dessert!” in his most triumphant voice.
So now here we are, still haven’t made it out the door (since I decided to take a minute to relay this story before either 1) running out of time later in the day, 2) forgetting it happened all together, or 3) both). But I’m thrilled that he emptied his bowl and feel an unjustified sense of pride for having found a successful motivator. Thank you, Chocolate! Now off to the store we go!