Su Penn

One story about saying No and one story about food.

A few weeks ago, the kids and I were running errands. We stopped at
McDonald's for a drink, and the boys also got toys. They were
Spiderman toys, and the boys were very excited about them. They were
talking together in the back of the van, comparing what they'd gotten,
and so on. After a few minutes, Eric, 7, asked in a very pleasant,
inquiring voice, "Mom, do you think we could stop at a different
McDonald's after we go to Sam's Club? Carl and I really want some more
of these, and a different place might have different ones."

I thought for a minute about time, money, and when the baby might need
her nap, and said, "Sure, I don't see any reason we can't do that."

The boys were pleased.

After a minute, I said, "By the way, Eric, I really appreciated the
nice way you asked me about that."

Eric said, "Well, I knew that you'd only say No if you had a good

Now, in case you think Eric is some kind of fantasy prodigy child and
nothing like this could ever happen with yours, I will tell you that
it is often very hard for him to hear No. He can get so fixated on
what he wants that it becomes very hard, if not impossible, for him to
see or accept alternatives or delays. Asking for things can be very
fraught for him because even before he asks he's already sort of
thinking to himself, "What if they say No? I can't handled it! I have
to have this!" (though probably not in so many words).

So it's a big thing for _him_ to think it through ahead of time and
get to a place where, before he even asks, he's OK hearing either Yes
or No. But it's a big thing for _me_ because moments like this make me
think, "It's working! It's getting through! The way we are parenting
really does make a difference!" He can put it into so many words!

Story 2 is from today.

We stopped at Meijer to get me some new underwear. A few days ago,
Carl (5) had been wishing for lollipops and I promised we would get
him some the next time we were at Meijer. So, after I picked out my
underwear, we headed over to the bulk candy aisle. On the way there,
we had this conversation:

Eric: Can I get something other than lollipops?

Me: Sure.

Carl: Can I get lollipops, AND something other than lollipops?

Me: Sure.

Carl: Just two things?

Me: No, you can get anything you want.

So we go to the bulk candy aisle, and, as the boys are shopping and
choosing things, they ask questions and I say again more than once,
"Whatever you want is OK. Yes, you can also get that." and so on.

Here is what my two non-food-restricted boys chose when taken to a
candy aisle full of bins they could grab from and told they could get
anything they wanted, and as much as they wanted:

Carl: six suckers. One handful (about 5) gumdrop candies. 4 Willy
Wonka chewy candies, each about 1" square. [The bag of Willy Wonka
candies was so light it didn't register on the scale at the checkout.]

Eric: double handful of chocolate coins. About a half dozen peppermint
hard candies. And, OK, he did pretty well stuff a bag with Voortman
Vanilla Wafers, but he especially loves those.

Then they talked about whether they should get Yehva, 21 months,
something of her own or just share with her. A conversation about what
Yehva especially likes led to them deciding to get her some chocolate
coins of her very own. "But we can still share the other things with
her," Carl said.

At one point, I said mock-grumpily, "Oh, sure, you guys get candy and
I get _underwear_."

Both boys immediately said, "I'll share mine with you, Mom."

Yet another story that most of my friends would either not believe, or
chalk up to my kids being some kind of mutant non-sugar-loving strain
of humanity. But stuff like this happens all the time.


mom of Eric, 7 (but only for 3 more weeks); Carl, 5; Yehva, 21 months