Positioning for Dessert

Here is an account of last night at the Etter’s, courtesy of Michelle:

So here is what just happened in our house tonight.   I have to share.  You deserve a laugh.

I have been working on Andrew to clear his plate when he is done with a meal.   Tonight we had rice, curry chicken and stuff.   When he was done, he got up and picked up his plate and started walking to the sink and counter.  On the way he was saying, “I ate nicely.  I ate so nicely.  I am good eater”.    Nathan thought he was saying, he ate his rice.  Ohhh the naivete.  I knew what he was saying, and knew what he was doing.   He was trying to position himself first in line for dessert.

So I told Nathan, nope, he’s not saying rice, just watch him.

Sure enough, after depositing his plate on the counter, he ran to the freezer, pulled it open, and yelled “I FOUND DESSERT!!!!”   As if it had been hiding from him.   No matter that every night he finds it hidden in the same spot.   So I hear him throwing the frozen peas to the ground behind me, in order to get to the ice cream tubs.

Nathan stops him by saying, no throwing those peas to the ground.  And so Andrew takes that as a sign that he should instead run to his chair and wait expectantly for the ice cream to appear in a bowl.   But when Daddy explains that he isn’t getting dessert because he didn’t eat enough dinner, that was cause for concern.

His face got really serious.  And he sat there for about 30 seconds before he formed a game plan.   He immediately got off his chair, headed back to the kitchen, got his plate from the counter, and brought it back to the dinner table.  Thus announcing, “I’m hungry”.    He then proceeded to take his spoon and shovel in two huge handfuls of rice, and about 1/2 more of the plate before him.   This was without a word from Nathan & I.  I thought I was going to spit out my wine!

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When he was done, he cleared his plate again, ran to the freezer and announced he had found dessert and sat down waiting at the table as if he had cleverly tricked us once again.  Frankly, I am not sure who was tricked in the end.  He ate more of his dinner.  He also got dessert for it.  Is it possible that we both won?

And don’t think that Justin sat idle during this time.  He watched the whole thing.  Justin knows that the moment Andrew clears his plate after dinner that he will be headed to that freezer.  So Justin immediately will go on dinner strike.  He’s no dummy, he knows there is better stuff behind that silver door.    So he watched this entire negotiation the way a predator prepares for a kill.  He was quiet, made no noise, did not draw attention to the fact that he himself did not eat a good dinner.  And when Andrew blindly ate second helping to get dessert, Justin simply sat and waited without a word.  When the ice cream was dished out, of course he got some too.  Clearly … HE was the winner in this battle.

However, his trick is that he can eat ice cream faster than Andrew.  So he can clean his plate so fast, that he starts pointing to Nathan & my bowls yelling “DAT DAT DAT”  – translation “that that that”.   Usually I have only eaten one spoonful at that point, so Nathan dumps a little bit into the bowl to keep him quiet and we move forward.   Tonight it happened that I dumped two small small small drops of ice cream in for him.  He was not thwarted as I had hoped.   He simply shoved his face in the bowl, licked it up and started yelling DAT DAT DAT!

I told him, “you picked the wrong parent to give in buddy.   Mommy isn’t giving you anymore, and it doesn’t matter how cute you are”.   Seriously I told him this.  Do you know what he did next?   He looked at me smiled, and made baby gurgling noises and handed me his plate and spoon…. like he was clearing his plate.  NO JOKE.  He actually was trying to clear his plate.  He watches Andrew do it every night, and he figured if he cleared his plate, maybe I would give him more.

Nathan & I about busted up laughing as Justin just sat there smiling at me, waiting for me to do something.  AHHHH, now he is the crafty one.    We have to watch out for him.

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~ by Nathan on January 23, 2007.

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