Tuesday, October 28, 2008

iT'S oFFiCiaL: i BRiBe My KiDS

So you know how I've mentioned probably just about a bazillion times on this blog how Diva does not eat food. Well, she does, it's just limited. Let's see, here's her menu:

pancakes but with NO butter or syrup. Just a few chocolate chips.


cereal, but mostly chocolately kind. Or frosted flakes.

bread. All types, but mostly soft.

Peanut butter.


Apples, no skin.

French Fries.

Chocolate shakes, ice cream.

Goldfish, chips, snacks, crap, chocolate poptarts, crackers, crap, popcorn, candy, M&Ms, crap.

Carnation Instant Breakfast milk.

So really, that's about it. Occasionally she will eat some spinach leaves if the moon is alligned with the sun and it's snowing outside during the month of May, but other than that, that's her whole there menu!

Today, we were at McDonald's, (and SIDENOTE: maybe THAT's why stomach hurts--I had a carmel + hot fudge sundae ... or it could be the antibiotics and steroids I'm on for my BLEEDING, INFECTED EAR!?) ... anyway, at McDonald's, I said to her I would give her $10 if she ate a part of a hamburger.

We bartered for a while. It was decided (DON'T YELL AT ME IN THE COMMENTS FOR THIS PLEASE!) that if she ate 'some' hamburger, I would give her, ahem ... how do you make words really tiny here ... twenty dollars.


You don't have to yell at me!

I know it all! I do! I do!

So, back to the story. I get the burger. I take out the prize money. We cut the burger.

In half.

Then in quarters.

Then she takes her quarter of her hamburger and cuts that in half so she has an eighth of a McDonald's 85-cent burger.

She picks at it a bit. Puts some ketchup on it.

Asks for salt.

I go up to the counter and while I'm there she yells over to me:

"I'm chewing some!"

And she's smiling.

"I guess I just didn't want to do it in front of you!" she said.

She chewed it and swallowed it!

Then to make her feel less alone, I took a bite of the other part and chewed and swallowed some too!

We were partners on a journey together! I was so excited. She was tasting a form of meat! I think.

Then she took another bite, and when I say bite, please understand that her eighth of a burger and these bite sizes -- it would have taken her like six bites to finish.

"I think it's just that I'm afraid to try them and worried about how it will feel not how it will taste," she said.

I've always thought that about her -- that she's got some sensory disorders that makes it uncomfortable for her to have certain textures in her mouth.

Then she took a third bite and I think her mind started working overtime then, and she gagged.

I knew it was going to happen.

Fortunately, she spit out what little she had in her mouth, and her previously eaten sundae, french fries, and drink did not come spewing out of her mouth.

She did pocket the money though.

Hey, a bet is a bet is a bet.

And yes, that is just one time I've bribed my children.

I bribed Tukey with cash last Sunday when I wanted to yank his tooth out because he was driving me crazy. You can read that story over here at Betty:
The Tooth: I lost it because he wasn't losing it!

Do you bribe your kids? Do you think I'm horrible for doing so? I mean yeah, I know $20 is off-the-wall just down-and-out STUPID of me, but a little bit of money as INCENTIVE isn't all that bad, is it?


Anonymous said...

I am totally down with you on the bribes, especially when it comes to food. My daughter has the exact same type of diet as yours (& she is 15) junk food and then everything else must be WHITE. White cheese, white bread, white ice cream, white crackers,apple-no skin, plain white pasta,potatoes, white cereal(cheerios),chicken nuggets. I am sure you get the picture, if it is white she will eat it otherwise the mere scent of vegetable or a piece of meat in front of her and gag O'gag! The damn junk food can be every color of the rainbow just NOT her real food!
I have tried everything to get her to try even a sliver of something and no bribe has worked yet. I totally understand the $20 for a nibble of a burger. The ante goes up as they get older and we get more exasperated.
The bribery business is not easy, I have tried everything from $$ to clothes to trips---no luck, zip. So I have put a hex on her to be blessed with a child who will only eat purple food....let's see how she handles that one some day!

Amanda said...

OK, two points, first it's not bribery it's reward and second, more importantly, MACDONALDS DO NOT SERVE PROPER FOOD. I refer you BACK to the EGG RANT. Consider yourself told. AGAIN.

Oh and Laura do parsnips count as white? Leeks, Jerusalem artichokes...cauliflower...our eldest has food issues and at age 11 I now just don't make a thing of it on the basis more fuss = more control handed over = more big deal about food. Thankfully she will eat baked beans (God bless the super bean!) and fruit so we can just about get a balanced diet in to her. Trouble is they know food is an excellent weapon of choice.

Christie said...

I say bribe away. What is it with kids and the skin of an apple? My 3 year old, calls it plastic. Whatever. For the record, for once I would like to be bribed.

Melisa Wells said...

Manic, you know I love ya. I have stalked you, after all. But I agree with something that Laura wrote and it's something you should beware of: "The ante goes up as they get older..."

$20 for part of a hamburger from McD's???

But I love ya. :)

P.S. Let's go to McDonalds next time we get together. LOL

Anonymous said...

Pertaning to "some sensory disorders in her mouth"...Not a bad thing!!!!

Michelle said...

I don't necessarily bribe the wee ones, but I suppose they get rewards when they behave well (e.g., I'll let them do Webkinz with me or do a sticker book page or help me cook or something), but it's more about the really bad choices that have consequences like their favorite toys being taken away.

And the sensory issues? Totally get it. Mister Man is the EXACT same way. And knowing how bad it can get and how quickly, he is REQUIRED to taste everything I put on his plate. Minor victories but it keeps it from getting worse. We can have no sauce on anything. at all. And keep avocados away from him! Good luck :)

March2theSea said...

we have recently started with the "no treat after dinner" unless they try something. I am tired of making 3+ meals a night. I made a pasta dish the other night that was on the back of a ranch dressing bottle. It was pasta, cheese, milk, ranch dressing and mini hot dogs..all mixed and heated through. Both the little ones rolled noses and I got pissed. What don't you guys like in this???! Its not that it was over the top "ranchy" and both of them "dip" with it..and my oldest puts a dab on tacos...i was so mad.

MaBunny said...

Oh yeah I've tried bribes, threats and everything in between, lol.

Nicole eats some food too, but is scared to try new things..so I am always trying to trick her into trying new foods..at least Diva tried it!

Anonymous said...

Oh.My.God. You have pushed the parenting competency bar down so low the rest of us may actually be able to get over it. Finally I am free of my shame over using $8 Thomas the Tank Engine trains as potty training incentives.



Anonymous said...

In my daughter's quest for an all white diet I forgot to mention that not only must the 'food' be white, it may not be a part of the fruit or vegetable family (unless it is an apple).
Her gag reflex is so, so sensitive now and yes, it is a control issue for sure to add to the mix....I have handed it over to a dietician so that I can resume my lovable mommy role as opposed to the evil food mother that I had become to her. I am crossing my fingers that at her age, being accountable to someone in the health field will lessen her control with the food issues here at home.
It also allows me to use the bribery (rewards) elsewhere ;)

Moll said...

eh, we all do what we gotta do to stay sane. I just write about coffee being my prozac, perhaps bribing your kids is yours?

Tanya said...

Can I be your child? I will eat a hamburger or any other food you give me!


Anonymous said...

I'm already broke so I can't bribe them but I say, do whatever works and keeps you sane.

Anonymous said...

My little guy (who turned 5 today ;-( ) is the same way. Corn dogs, chips, crackers, etc...Real food, not so much. He does the gagging thing too. I know most of his is not taste, but if the texture is weird for him. It's like pulling teeth to get him to try something. I'll have to try the $$ thing. I bet my other son last night $2 that he wouldn't pull his tooth that was literally hanging on my a piece of skin.

Anonymous said...

OK, Not that I'm a professional at this, but, commmmeeee ONNNNNN! How about starting your kids out early in life with all the healthy choices. Make one dinner for the whole family, they eat what they get served! For you, however, too much time as passed, so, okay, you can bribe her. But, for those of you reading with no kids or very young kids....start them out early with the good stuff. They will like it, I assure you of it! As they get older, it won't be so awful to try new foods. I do agree with the "sensory issue" in your daughter's case. So, manic, you get a pass on this!Everyone elso out there, listen to what the doctors say - "if they are hungry, they will eat!" Give treats as rewards, not bribes! I'm off my pedestal now, sorry for the rant!

Anonymous said...

OK, Not that I'm a professional at this, but, commmmeeee ONNNNNN! How about starting your kids out early in life with all the healthy choices. Make one dinner for the whole family, they eat what they get served! For you, however, too much time as passed, so, okay, you can bribe her. But, for those of you reading with no kids or very young kids....start them out early with the good stuff. They will like it, I assure you of it! As they get older, it won't be so awful to try new foods. I do agree with the "sensory issue" in your daughter's case. So, manic, you get a pass on this!Everyone elso out there, listen to what the doctors say - "if they are hungry, they will eat!" Give treats as rewards, not bribes! I'm off my pedestal now, sorry for the rant!

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Hey anonymous, I'M TOTALLY WITH YOU!!! I totally think when they're babies, SHOVE EVERYTHING AT THEM, even the stuff you don't like!

Here's the thing though, my boys, THEY EAT EVERYTHING! Lima beans, broccoli, meat, eggs, steak, lobster, rice, green peppers, onions. I mean EVERYTHING!

So ... let me ask you guys this ... is it something I did wrong? or is it HER!?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

It's Her (no offense) or in my case MY daughter. I introduced foods, every food you can think of to both of my other kids the same way I did to my picky one and the other two eat EVERYTHING and try anything I prepare and always have.
Things started out fine with my picky daughter and then at the age of about 2y.o., her gag reflex kicked in and I think it sent a message to her to 'be careful what you eat' or some such reminder or it's coming back up,(sorry for that gross visual).
I am convinced that it is a smell, texture, headspace thing? and it is individual to each child no matter how young and how many foods you shove at them when they are babies....at least that is what my 2 out of 3 kids experience has shown me :s

Robin said...

It's not bribery it's ABA.

Hey but twenty bucks, you have got to start lower and leave room to increase.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/laura. My older son eats almost everything. We make one meal at home. I'll cater certain spices and things to be a little more child friendly, but we've tried it all. I can only sit at the dinner table for so long and ask them to eat. I can't even get him to try the foods if he's got a bad feeling and you can't force it on them. I'm sure I'll scar them w/plenty of other motherly things in their lifetime. I don't want dinner to be one of them.

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Laura--it was EXACTLY THE SAME WITH DIVA. Up until she was about 2-4 years old, she ate anything and didn't have a problem. You're right, like the gag reflexes kicked in and BAM!

And I guess having 2 out of 3 that eat normally isn't that bad! : )

Robin--what's ABA mean?

Kujawa--agreed! We still manage to have the occasional nice family dinner--four of us will eat the same thing so it's not terrible!

Anonymous said...

I gotta say, I would never bribe a kid to eat meat. While I'm omnivorous, my husband and son are vegetarians. Better for them. Better for the environment. While I love me a slab o' dead cow, I recognized that no body needs meat.

However, I bribe the hell out of them to get good grades. It's their job to go to school. They get paid for success. That's something many parents are strongly opposed to, but it works for us.

Anonymous said...

My son is 4 and I bribe him to eat his dinner. He is nowhere near as picky as Diva, though. All I have to do is give him 1/2 of a cosmo brownie after he eats his dinner and he's good :)

Tonya Staab said...

So what you're saying is show knows how to work the system, she has a chocolate addiction and she loves money. Am I missing something ... I don't see a problem here ;)

Anonymous said...

My kids learned swimming and diving through bribes. They were skittish around water and wouldn't go in without a life vest. Then my cousin's five-year-old son drowned at a public pool because he couldn't swim (my cousin wasn't with him; he was with a friend and friend's dad). He fell into the deep end without his life vest after taking it off to go to the bathroom. After seeing what my cousin went through, I knew I couldn't survive it. So from no life vest to diving in 10 feet of water took about three weeks and $30 for each of my girls. Worth every penny.

There have also been lesser dollar amounts for trying different foods. :-)

Hey, they also earned new bikes for being potty trained, so I started at an early age!

Anonymous said...

dawnh - My girls are working towards a hamster (for each of them) at the end of the school year. :-)

Unknown said...

No, I do NOT think you are horrible for bribing your kids. Who HASN'T bribed them at one point or another? I used to bribe my oldes daughter to give my youngest a bath when I didn't feel like but she won't even take money for that any more!

And my youngest will eat pretty much anything, except for meat. I have no idea why.

morninglight mama said...

Man, manic, so often I think we have so much in common, and once again, we've hit on a shared experience here! My oldest is the same way about foods-- it's totally the texture that literally scares him. Our list is pizza, mac-n-cheese (although lately, he'll only eat the kind from TGIFridays... which means, not all that often!), hot dogs and fish sticks (his only source of 'meat'), grilled cheese, pb&j. Veggies? Only raw carrots or green peppers, although a few more fruits are acceptable. I don't know what to do, anymore. We've started to buy the Ensure shakes and he has one of those every morning. Who knows, maybe he'll eat someday, and if not, I could start paying him... :)

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Morninglight! OMG--we have ensure in our fridge but she thinks it's gross. Thank goodness for Carnation instant milk!!!!

Rick said...

I'd wolf the rest down for two bits - if I had been there. Then throw in a box of fries for free.

Man, I wish my parents when to the same parenting school you did.

Bride my kids? Of course! It's the American way!!

Robin said...

ABA is Applied behavior analysis, there doesn't that sound better than bribery. And the wickipedia definition is: Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the science of applying experimentally derived principles of behavior to improve socially significant behavior. ABA takes what we know about behavior and uses it to bring about positive change. (Every autism family has heard about it.)

H said...

My son, who is now 12, has a diet that's very similar to Diva's. From the time he could first eat real food, he was extremely picky, and it seemed to have a lot to do with texture. And I tried all kinds of food. I'm a very healthy eater, and would always try to feed him what I was eating. To this day he's never eaten meat. I also have a 6 year old daughter. When she started eating real food, I did all the same things food-wise that I did with my son, and now she'll eat anything. In fact, veggies of any kind are her favorite. I'm convinced you can do all the 'right' things and still be cursed with a picky eater. And believe me, if my son would try a bite of a hamburger, I wouldn't be above bribing him with money!

Shelley said...

I totally bribe my 13 year-old daughter all the time. It usually goes like this:

Me - "If you're not a complete, bitchy, rude pain-in-the-ass today, I'll let you keep your cell phone. Oh, and you can't roll your eyes at me."
Her - Rolls eyes
Me - Takes her phone
Her - Sulks, whines and bitches
Me - Laughs at her

Parenting is so much fun. Now'd where'd my rum go?

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...


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