• http://www.flummel.com/ee Karan

    This has nothing to do with sweeties. For some really interesting conversations ask Leta if she remembers when she didn’t want to walk or if she remembers when she was born and ask her for details. Do it before she gets much older. It’s very enlightening.

  • Christie


    I love your blog so much. Whenever I am online I check to see if you have updated (even if I know there is no way that you have, as I just closed your tab ten minutes earlier) and I look forward to reading your wonderful blog and looking at your amazing pictures. (I hope you read your comments, because here I am, writing to you!) I have been reading since last August and recently I’ve grown impatient waiting for updates (no pressure) and started reading your archives. Currently, I am stuck in the ‘parenthood’ file. I cannot tell you how much I admire you and really think you are a great person. Recently I have really begun to want children and reading your blog makes me believe that I can be a parent. I don’t know why I feel the need to tell you this, but I am gay, so I know that if I ever become a parent I’m going to have to try a little bit harder than most to acquire a kid, but I know that if I make that decision to love more than I will ever imagine, it is still going to be the greatest challenge and greatest joy of my life. I also know that when things get really hard and my partner has done all she can and my mom and sister have done all they can and I am at my wits end I will come to this site and read about your life and know that IT IS POSSIBLE and that I too can do it.

    Thank you for this post, the ones before it, and all of the ones to come. Thank you for your commitment to voicing your opinions and your truths and remaining totally honest in front of the whole world. I, and I know so many others, appreciate it.


  • http://3yrplan.typepad.com/soeursdujour Kath

    What kind of cookies did you bake? We’ve cut cookies out altogether at our house. No treats of any kind right now. But, we don’t have kids and are doing a fitness challenge. Only four weeks left and then we can have a treat!

  • http://bicycleirish.blogspot.com angela

    I find it so amusing that someone can get mad at you even when posting about your daughter eating cookies (anger reserved from the last post, but still).

    Anyway, good idea with the treats. My son had us down to three bites for a treat when we just stopped it all. Right now he is begging me for a cookie as he eats dinner, and I’m ignoring him and commenting on your page.

    I’m glad you are going to continue posting about politics or whatever else interests you. So creepy that anyone would tell you to do otherwise, or even think that they had that right.

  • http://www.mominthehood.com mominthehood

    When my kids call me ‘mean’, my response is, “I practice.” Treats are just exactly that, treats, not a daily indulgence. You go girl!

  • http://blookum.livejournal.com Blookum

    Heather, I love reading your blog so much. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

    Leta is a trip.

  • http://www.justanotherkatie.blogspot.com ktjane

    that’s adorable! i love treats, too, but it’s not as treaty when you expect it all the time – sinking into the chocolate after not having any for so long is the best part!

    p.s. beautiful picture of her today!

  • http://dgm.typepad.com dgm

    When my daughter used to ask, “how many bites …?” I’d reply along the order of “108,849, 532″. She learned to count really high, but never tasted true victory.

  • http://www.tajmahill.com/ Jenn

    I am right there with you on the 4 year old eating struggles. I met with a pediatric nutritionist (for a different child) and she told me that you should not coax or beg or bribe (who knew? I thought that’s what dinner was for!). She said the only rule should be that he has to sit with us at the table for 20 minutes. He can eat whatever he wants….if it’s two bites than that’s it. whatever. mom get over it. then you are supposed to institute the no food between meals concept.
    yeah…..basically dinner is much nicer now but my kids eats nothing and wont put a vegetable in his mouth if his life depended on it!

  • Shannon

    I had to say the same thing to my mother tonight. Although it sounded more like….
    “Can you be quiet Mom? I’m drinking Bourbon.”

  • http://liberalmormonthatcould.blogspot.com Lisa

    I’d be the one to need cut the cookies, but you won’t see me doing that anytime soon. Chocolate chip cookies should be its own food group.

    I gave my kids cake for dinner once to their eternal delight. I was beyond stressed, had a headache, and there was nothing in the house. They got cake. It was *awesome.*

  • Charity

    We have little to no treats in our house and we have no problems. The kids eat dinner and don’t ask for treats. It is nice and I enjoy not having candy around because then I would be forced to eat them to.

  • http://elliottback.com/wp/ Elliott Back

    Sometimes holding a little back (or substitution with veggies) makes those treats better in the long run anyway. It’s only recently, you know, that Coke replaced water in the American diet…

  • http://irishgumbo.blogspot.com IrishGumbo

    Oh, jeez, why didn’t I think of that? Congratulations! We have been going through some of that, with the “How many bites, Mommy?” routine.

    We did manage to get her confused recently:

    “How many bites, Mommy?”
    “I’m not going to count, sweetie.”
    “How ’bout 5?”
    “5 is good, dear.”
    “No, Mommy! 10 bites!”

    She really put one over on us, I guess. Maybe she’s been learning from Leta!

  • Claire

    I’ve been reading your archives lately, and there is a constant evolution taking place in your writing.
    You were great then, but you are fantastic now.
    You have come a long way from “albino rain drops” thats for sure. Your growth is phenomenal! Oh, and a huge thanks for making my days a little less red.


  • http://momsnotdeadyet.blogspot.com Casee

    I completely agree. We only give our kids treats on Fridays now. It was hard at first, but so worth it.

  • Caroline

    I’m 22 and I completely remember negotiating with my parents about dessert when I was really tiny. It went something like:

    “I’m full, can I have dessert now?”

    “Aren’t you too full for dessert?”

    “No, my dinner tummy is full, not my dessert tummy!”

    Surprisingly, I think it actually worked a few times.

  • Jim

    My son negotiates whether he is getting a treat or not. He is not so much into the eating. All that business about how many bites goes on all the time at our house. He wants to negotiate about how many bites he has to eat until he is done either with a specific item or dinner in general.

    Our solution is to not negotiate. I find this to be easier than withholding a specific item or class of item. I certainly agree that the endless negotiation is unacceptable.

  • bruyere_75

    My sister-in-law is fighting a never-ending battle with our mother-in-law about treats for her four-year-old daughter, S. She’s trying to instill healthy eating habits, but Grandma can’t stop giving her treats. S never even asks for them. This summer, we were out in the yard, watching S play. She went inside for a bit, and my SIL told S, “We’re having lunch in a few minutes, so no snacks!” She told Grandma, “Don’t feed her, we’re having lunch soon.”

    Five minutes later, S hadn’t come back, so my SIL went to investigate. She asked Grandma, “Are you feeding her?” Grandma answered, “No, I just gave her a couple of cookies.”

  • Anonymous

    I’m also a “sparse treater” as…well..pre-kids it isn’t like I ate a treat after every meal so why teach them to indulge?? But every once in awhile I do the same thing as my mom: SUNDAES FOR DINNER! The house goes nuts and since I made it out alive – I’m pretty sure they will too :)

  • http://eavesdropwriter.blogspot.com Vivienne

    Ha! And with an ending sweet as that cookie. I think the posturing that goes on between parent and child over eating habits is not unlike what I continue to see in boardroom negotiations in my adulthood. That’s funny, in a way, and also horribly not.

    Coincidentally, my latest eavesdrop involved a masterful little boy doing battle with his mother over broccoli. Lucky for him, he also had a coconspiring grandparent, like Leta has.

  • Jojo

    Dude! Don’t go giving away the secret behind baking good cookies. If my sister ever finds out that ALL I do is take them out of the oven early, I’m toast.

  • Hanh

    so sweet and funny !

  • Sarah

    I totally imagined high school stoners when you said that Leta’s classmates would be all “Dude, Leta’s Mum made cookies” which totally changes what type of cookies they would be.

  • Gail

    So you are competing with me for “Meanest Mother In the
    World” award? You got a way to go, baby!o

  • karen brown

    heather,that is one wonderful kid you’ve got there! My approach to the snack/junk food issue was suggested to me,when my two girls were just toddlers, by a friend who worked as a school dental nurse.She had seen first-hand the devastation to little teeth of a little candy here, a juice box there,(five year-olds with rampant decay).She pointed out that it was better that kids had a pound of junk once a week,than a little every day.
    I did not want to be one of those mothers who’s children go to birthday parties with a sack of prunes and a wholewheat muffin, and strict instructions that a morsel of sugar was not to pass their lips, but neither did I wish to raise whining, gap-toothed monsters.

    This evolved in our family into “Garbage Friday”.Apart from the obvious benefit of limiting the amount of rubbish the girls ate, it also made the whole issue a positive,rather than negative deal. Instead of endlessly saying “no lollies”,(that’s what we call candy here in New Zealand), you say “yes my darling, of course you can have lollies/Coke/crack… on Garbage Friday!!! Children have so little opportunity to exercise free decision-making skills, this was also an occasion for them to make their own choices.

    The fine-tuned rules were that you could go and buy candy after school on Friday,but anything not eaten by bedtime went to Daddy’s private lolly stash.You could have anything you liked,within financial reason, and Oh! Mummy doesn’t cook on Garbage Friday! it’s going to be pizza or fish and chips on Friday.

    It’s amazing how quickly children become self-limiting with this approach,and apart from a month or two of “is it Friday today?” the whining and negotiating disappears.Also how fond they became of their grandparents; what happens at Grandmas, stays at Grandmas.

    My girls are now 14 and 16,have perfect teeth, and still do Garbage Friday.They say it feels weird to eat sweets any other time.
    Now if only I could figure out how to stop them whinging for make-up and i-pods and new shoes every week……

  • Nina

    Terrible! just terrible! a mother trying to teach her child good eating habits and a healthy relationship with food?! you should be ashamed.

  • Kate

    I am living this right now.

  • C

    Awesome post (she says, grinning and biting into the brownie she just baked. oh, i love being an adult.)!

  • Sher

    I got rid of the desert/treat thing ages ago. Only once a week or on those special occassions.

    I think parents make it harder on themselves than it is for the child. Like getting rid of the binkie/pacifier…I mean just do it already!

  • anginak

    Pshaw. Try my mom’s 1970′s parenting trick of allowing the child to eat any and all ‘treats’ the child wants at one sitting.

    Worked on my sister one Halloween. I don’t think she touched chocolate for a few years afterward.

  • RzDrms

    oppositionally (or maybe tangentially?), this reminds me of my beloved (and, now, deceased) gramma, who was ill and on medication a few years before she died. she’d eat until she was “full,” which was not much food at ALL, and then she’d announce her extreme fullness (she’d had mini strokes). next, we’d ask if she’d like some dessert. her answer? “just a little,” with her thumbs and forefingers of each hand touching, indicating the quantity. still cracks me up.

    p.s. i adore the way you can read leta and then convey that to us. and your love for her is strikingly poignant. thanks.

  • A Preschool Teacher

    At the school where I work, we have to immediately quarantine all homemade treats in the staff room. For the protection of the children, of course. There could be allergies. Terrible allergies. (And we thank you for the ooey, chewy, goodness of your homemade cookies. Oh, yes, we do.)

  • Haley

    I don’t care what any says about your choice in politics I don’t think you need such jerks reading your cool site anyways. I give you kudos for the pro-choice post and your reply and extra kudos for your splendid parenting skills. You are a great person, a wise lady and a wonderful parent! Hoorah for you!! :) Thanks for all the laughs!

  • http://pardonmyvintage.etsy.com Christina @ Pardon My Vintage

    Your kid cracks me up!

    And now I want a cookie. :-)

  • http://jacksch.com Eric

    Exactly the same here — if we don’t give our 5 year old a snack after school and she started eating dinner. As it turns out, she was getting a snack at school, another at daycare, and then one at home…

  • Donnell

    The same recipe works for brownies… undercook them and the kids will call them “magical” brownies. Of course, this is not the same kind of magical that us grown-ups are used to, but still good nonetheless!

  • Maren

    Heh. Reading this, I just now realized we did the same thing to our cat several years ago — it got to the point where she would only eat her dry food if we put cat treats on top, so we quit giving them to her altogether. Amazingly, she did not starve. *eyeroll*

  • Christina

    What happens at grandma’s stays at grandma’s.
    My friend has this hanging at her house.

  • Katie Kat

    It’s called “underdone chocolate chip cookie orgasm” if you want to know.

    Also, I may NEVER EVER EVER forgive you for not telling me you were going to be in Kansas City. I live in Lawrence, for God’s sake. I’d have made the 30 min. drive to stalk you.

    I’ve DREAMED about meeting you for God’s sake woman. Show some respect.

    You’re’s DOOCINGLY, Katie Kat. *kiss kiss*

  • Shenley

    I wasn’t allowed to eat sugar when I was a kid. Not at all. Not even one cookie. EVER. My mom thought she was saving me from growing up and being overweight and getting diabetes like most of my relatives, but really it just led to me hiding stolen candy bars in my room and eating them in the dark with my door locked. Ahh, memories.

  • karla

    I just…I simply LIKE you people. I think we would be friends.

  • http://www.thebutterflymind.com Tammy

    What a kindness you are doing for Leta by breaking the treat cycle now. Kudos to you!

  • Helen

    I had no idea about the treats article when I hopped on here to leave you a comment, but it seems synchronistic (is that a word?). I just watched an interview of Karen Knowler, a raw foods coach, and I was pondering the whole thing and suddenly thought of you. I have this strong hunch about you and her. I think you need to ring her up in the UK and, I dunno, just have a chat. Maybe ask her to tell you a bit about what it is she does (you’ll think of something).

    I think maybe you two were meant to do something together, maybe something big. In any event, I’m sure you’d hit it off, and at the very least, you’d have a new best friend across the pond.

    And it also occurred to me…..I wonder if Heather is Oprah in her early years? You’ve developed this ginormous (yes, that’s *definitely* a word), trusting and open audience and, very soon, you’re going to take this huge leap into the next incredible, unforeseen, blindingly brilliant phase of your life, and you’ll bring everyone stumbling along with you. What a thought.

    Oh, and in support of the inimitable Leta:


    I got out of a warm bed to write this note. So I do hope you scroll down and read comment number 5,682,378.

  • Sandra

    Natalie said:
    “So my question is, if you don’t negotiate “how many bites” with a treat afterwards, does that mean that the negotiations just stopped? My DD is 6 and suprisingly is not a big sweets person but we still have the discussion of how many more bites does she have to take until she can be done. Do you just let Leta decide when to be done or does she just now finish a meal without question?”

    YOU decide what and when, THE KID decides if, and how much. There is no “x number of bites”. If they’re not hungry at dinner, they’ll be *really* hungry by breakfast!

    My son is a social diner. He likes to chatter, no time for putting food in his mouth! We’ve learned there is no point in trying to rush him thru a meal. Sometimes we give him the option of saving it for later, sometimes I’ll sit with him for 10 more minutes after everyone else leaves the table and he doesn’t have any distractions.

  • http://bruiseseasily.blogspot.com/ Toots

    My mom was very strict on the treat front as well. Treats were for Fridays. Except for ice cream. Ice cream was for everyday. It’s her favorite food, so how could she deny us the same joy. Now ice cream is my favorite food, too. But my sister like veggies. My sister is very weird.

  • Liz

    If you don’t have it already, I think Leta would fully grasp the concept of this book. I’m in my twenties and I LOVE it.

    Although, that might not help in the no-treat department.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    I’m a vanilla ice cream man myself, Breyer’s preferrably.

  • http://bethalea.blogspot.com just beth

    I love her. My sweet Sally Sunshine is so much like Leta. She’s two, and just learned to ‘share’. She figured it out in one day at a play group, how to share with others, which I thought was spectacular. We got home, took a nap, and when she got up, she took one look at my diet coke (which she covets like nothing else and is not allowed to have) and said, ‘Mama Share?’

    I’m screwed.



  • Jodie

    I know that one day when I have kids, I want to raise them vegan from the upstart so that they’ll never know any different and won’t feel like it’s natural to put junk in our bodies.
    Well, done, that takes a lot of guts and a lot of people are going to give you slack.
    It’s okay their children won’t just be dressed like overweight tourists – they will be over weight tourists. Clogs, clogs, here they come.