I know I'm probably setting up my kids for a lifetime of emotional eating, but sometimes the short term benefits of using food as an incentive are just too good to pass up. Yesterday was one of those days. It was hot in Adelaide. Not as hot as today (a stifling 42 degrees) but still hot.
My son is 5 days short of his second birthday. He still likes to have a long nap, and on school days it always seems to be that they are perfectly timed so he has to be woken for school pickup. This is annoying for everyone involved. He's understandably grumpy about being woken and put in the car. My daughter is understandable grumpy because he's grumpy which means she can't stay and play with her friends. I'm grumpy because they're both grumpy,and the walk to the car, although not far, is a physical struggle when you're carrying a squirming two year old and it's a hot day.
Enter the food
bribe incentive. Hot day, perfect for an ice block. This provides my daughter with the momentum she needs to move to the car and be a good example for her brother. It does nothing to help my son, but at least there's only one grumpy one to deal with now.
Once home, both children head straight to the freezer. We have one of those fridge/freezers where the freezer is at the bottom so there's no going back now, the door is open and the selection is being made. I get them into a position on the kitchen table to limit sticky spills and let them have at it. No one is grumpy any more.
I watch my son navigate the ice block. A zooper dooper. This treat turns into a lesson in physics for him.
He furrows his brow and experiments with how the ice moves as he squeezes it in the middle. He breaks it in half and moves each of the sections. He realises he doesn't need the wrapper and displaces the ice chunks into the bowl that I gave him to catch the inevitable drips. He feels the cold of the ice on his hands, and touches other items to compare. Then he spots his cup of water.
In goes the first chunk of ice. The water turns green (this is not some sort of organic fruit juice, no added colours type iceblock). The ice disappears quickly. He looks perplexed. He tentatively drinks this mysterious liquid. He doesn't enjoy it. He looks at the other chunk of ice in his bowl, as though he's weighing up his options. Into the water it goes. He has regret and puts his hand in to retrieve it, but it's too late. The ice chunk has disappeared and he's left with the green liquid. He is not pleased.
He escapes the chair and makes a bee line for the freezer. He knows where there is more supply. He makes his selection and looks proud. Pink this time. But he's unable to break through the packaging. He needs scissors. I have the scissors. His grumpiness returns.