Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bribery Is My Last Hope

Before I had children I saw many things in black and white. Right and wrong. Good and bad. Then my little angels came into my life. I've tried to hold on to my staunch ideals but, when the whining starts and my sanity is slipping, every now and then the blacks and whites just start swirling into a mass of fluctuating greys. Take bribery, for instance. It is wrong. 'Nuff said.... right? Weeeeeell, it is wrong, but....... ok, what if you are out in public, and your baby is screaming, and scratching your face, and you know she should be home in bed, but you are all out of toilet paper, and you might as well do all your shopping now that you are there, and if she will just hold on another 10 minutes you can make it through the checkout line? Is it so very wrong to grab a little box of animal crackers off the stand next to you, rip it open and shove them into your "angel's" mouth? And then wouldn't that make it unfair that the rest of the kids didn't get a treat just because they weren't screaming too? So, I buy them all a 50 cent box of animal crackers. Suddenly I realize that good+bad=goad and that is just what my kids have done. They have goaded me into buying them a treat and now I will have to spend a lifetime trying to reestablish that delicate boundary between good and bad.

Well, my friends, once again that boundary is going to bend.

I have picky kids. I am not blameless in this. I love food and I dislike the idea of fighting over every meal. I have read lots of books on the subject, tried many "kid friendly" recipes, and even threatened one time, "if you don't put this corn in your mouth and chew it and swallow it, right now, I am going to spank you and it will hurt." (I plead Tired Mother Insanity for that last one). In the end though it always comes to the point that if they don't want to eat it, they are NOT going to eat it, unless you make them (and, boy, they would just like to see you try...). So, this last Saturday I decided that my children were ALL going to eat their green beans. They have all eaten green beans before but they like taking turns adamantly refusing to eat them. So, I made chocolate chip cookies to bribe them. Two angels went to bed with chocolate coated lips. The other two went to bed still screaming about not getting a cookie. I went to bed with a migraine, a guilty conscience, another book, and a strengthened desire to get my kids to taste new things. I don't care if my kids have dislikes. After all, nothing will ever get me to like raisins in cookies or Marciano cherries. What bothers me is when they won't try something or when they just decide not to like something all of a sudden and refuse to give it another chance.

Here comes my grey version of a bribe. I like to call it a reward. You call it what ever you want.

I am going to make a "Picky Bank" for each of my children. They will be on a shelf in our dining area. For every first taste they take I will put in a penny and the second one gets two pennies (no more after that, they have tasted it and if they don't like it for what it is so be it). For every serving of veggies, eaten all gone, I will put in 3 pennies. At the end of the month the money is theirs. I know that Cookie's bank will fill up fast. She is by far my best eater (picky wise) and that should make for hearty competition. This may end up being a bad idea. My children may tell their therapists about it later in life. Too bad, because if I don't find SOMETHING to improve our dinners I am going to need my own therapist. And, if it works, I will write a million dollar book so that I can afford to just give my kids McDonalds every night.


Kim said...

"good+bad=goad "
I love that! When it comes to getting kids to eat things that are good for them, I say go with what works. I think the picky bank is a neat idea.
I was always a picky eater and still am, so I don't fight my kids at all on what they eat. I do make them try new things but when I find things they like I tend to just stock up on those things.
My fave way to get the kids to try new things is to go to Golden Coral and have them get a little of this and that. If they don't like they can get something else and I didn't waste any grocery money of food that's going down the disposal!

Kim @ TheBitterBall

Mountain Dweller said...

Well, good luck with your latest idea. I hope it pays off. I'm afraid that I can't give you any tips as I have been blessed with kids who eat everything - how rare can that be?!

Anonymous said...

I think I might try your idea! I have a very picky eater! I don't even bother trying many of the "kid friendly" ideas, because I know he'll still turn his nose up and then what do I do with the food, again?

Great idea!

LaughterThoughts said...

I have a couple picky eaters of my own... okay possibly five of them at any given meal! i have not established a picky bank yet, though.

but in my kitchen window i do have the "i-told-a-lie" cup! it's a little fibby bank, i guess. :) it hasn't been filling up very much lately but at it's first showing in the window, it was getting lots of 10-cent donations as i caught the kids in little untruths here and there.

the money from the fibby bank goes to moma's treat fund. :) i haven't used any of the money yet... right now it's just like spare change. i'm saving up for something big!

Misty said...

You know what?? Whether this is "goad" or not, it is still a FANTASTIC idea in my book. We run into this with my 7 year old a LOT, some of her used-to-be favorite foods she will now NOT touch, not even with a very long stick. Come on now, kids!!!!

Princess Diaries said...

When we "force" our girls to try something new, we let them have what we have dubbed "a no-thank-you" helping. Just a tiny taste to see what they are missing out on! I like your picky bank idea for thought!
I found your blog via laughter thoughts. :)

Montserrat said...

How did you come up with "good+bad=goad"? That's genius!

An Ordinary Mom said...

You wit and clever ideas never cease to amaze me. Keri might do well with a Picky Bank and soon when Cory is old enough, I should try it on him.