• http://www.any-mom.com Any-Mom

    I think it’s a great idea to limit sweets. And it’s important for parents to model good eating behavior. That’s why my husband and I follow a strict rule: always wait until my son is in bed and asleep before breaking out the candy, cookies, and cake and plopping down in front of the TV.

  • Anonymous

    Your post reminds me of this story from my family: My sister is divorced and her kids are 4 and 3. She keeps fruit juice popsicles at home for the kids, and has a secret stash of fudgecicles for herself. The other day her 4 year old found the fudgecicles and wanted one. Mom said no, those are just for mom, you guys get the healthy(?) fruit pops. Her daughter looked back at her and said, “Dada has fudgecicles at his house . . . and he shares.”

  • http://mtngrrrl.blogspot.com/ M.J.

    When you started the treat embargo, we were going through something similar in our house. My three-year-old wailed for snacks before dinner every night. Even when dinner was moments away, he insisted he needed some crackers, a cheese stick, veggie bootie, etc. Those snacks inevitable lead to his not eating his meal. We also struggled with desserts and negotiating. Some of my less proud parenting moments were displayed over spinach negotiations.

    Now, no more snacks and no more discussing desserts. Unless it’s a special occasion, desserts are out of sight, out of mind. (Because *I* still like them, and I eat all my dinner! :-)

    I have observed that this leads to enormous breakfast appetites. Sigh.

  • http://www.divorcingdaze.com laurie

    Cookies??? KIDS????

    I don’t come to your site to read about SWEETS…stick with your political posts. PLEEEEEEZE!!!


  • http://www.wordpress.skunkstripe.com Megan in Munich

    I can remember when my Mom discontinued dessert. It had become the end goal of dinner. Things were much calmer after that.

    Years later I got a job as a teenager in a bakery. Everyone else averaged a weight gain of about 10 pounds, taking full advantage of the requirement to become familiar with the taste of everything. I made it through relatively unscathed.

    I see a connection there somewhere.

  • Renee

    So I thought this post was adorable (the quicker you learn to relish treats rather than just inhaling them, the better), but didn’t feel the need to respond until I read comment 174, from Robin G.

    Food is a super-common control issue for small children, because it’s one of the ONLY things they truly have control over at such a young (and easy-to-pick-up) age. Has nothing to do with developing an eating disorder, especially if you refuse to engage in mealtime battles with your child…as you are so admirably doing!

    (oh, and I read your political post too late to comment…I am so proud of your public stand on so many personal and political issues affecting your readership)

  • http://www.austinscott.com Austin Scott

    I hope this site is still here when Leta is 16.
    Buy her a car. Be sure to define it’s not her’s, it’s
    yours, but she can use it. Really. That is THE bargaining tool.

    “Why isn’t the laundry done?”

    “I forgot..”

    “I forgot you wanted to use the car…”

    Laundry’s done! (Dishes, clean room, whatever ….)

  • Beth

    Great story! I wish I had documented some of the events of my children’s lives.

    When my children were at that whiney hiney stage, we referred to it as Chinese Water Torture. They just wore away at my sanity.

  • Jen W.

    Around here we have “Candy Saturday”. That’s the only day the kids can eat candy (and my definition of candy is pretty broad, so chocolate chip cookies are candy by virtue of having chocolate in them). I went from arbitrarily agreeing to give out candy some times, and saying no lots of times, to having one consistent answer. If it’s not Saturday, the answer is no. If it’s Saturday, then yes. So easy.

  • Melie

    Why are you not allowed to bring anything homemade to schools in the States? Is it a food poisoning thing? Sorry, just had to ask, i live in Europe and i didn’t know that rule existed there..

  • http://domesticextraordinaire.blogspot.com Domestic Extraordinaire

    I have never had a problem with a picky eater, mine problem is that the girls tend to eat me out of house and home, even from the time they were tiny.

    Next time I make cookies I am going to take them out early, sounds divine!

  • Kay

    That is so precious! Treats were special occations at my home as a chold and they were that much more tastey and special because of it – Christmas brought about a lot of treats and I still get very nostalgic and have to bake all the many different cookies for Christmas. Sigh!

  • Dawn

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, LETA ROCKS!

  • http://alookintolife.blogspot.com Jess

    I applaud you for doing what you think is best. Period. No one understood when I randomly stopped letting H watch tv geared towards her age group (slightly younger than Leta)and only listening to music or nothing if she chose. H never seemed to bat an eyelash over it, but my husband didn’t get it. You know until I had Jury Duty one day last month, and he was home with H and N and he let her watch ONE episode of Handy Manny (ugh, Disney) and she was positively awful the rest of the day. Seriously. I’ve never seen a child get so out of hand from watching tv. He finally got it, and H doesn’t watch tv at our house any longer. And my sanity is preserved more often.

    Great Job Heather, someday Leta will thank you, by eating a nice warm cookie!

  • http://www.fightingmaturity.com Sandi

    My son bargains too. I’m SOOO taking a page from your child rearing instruction manual!

  • http://modestypress.vanitypress.com Vanity Press

    Do you actually read all your comments? They seem like too many to read.

  • #99

    Me thinks Leta is one smart cookie, which, of course, she gets directly from her mama and daddy!

    (And I’d totally buy the “Could you be quiet? I’m eating a cookie.” t-shirt!”

  • LM

    Don’t you just love this:

    “Earlier this week we got notice that her school Halloween party was going to be held today, and yesterday I found out that I needed to prepare a couple dozen cookies.”

    What is with daycares and the inability to give a reasonable amount of notice?

    Just kvetching — good job on the treat withholding. I bet that will make your life a lot easier.

  • Candis

    That’s the best recipe for cookies…my best friend can’t master it. She thinks they have to be done in the oven before she can take them out. I always tell her “no, they have to finish baking after you remove them from the oven”. She always wonders why my cookies are so good! Her kids will love my baking skills one day!!

  • http://www.livejournal.com/~themaybaby Sarah

    People are constantly telling me how HORRIBLE of a mom I am because I don’t give my 13 month old candy and suckers and ice cream and beer BUT he gets treats on special occasions and I think it makes it even more special than always getting treats…

    Adorable story!

  • http://www.livejournal.com/~themaybaby Sarah

    People are constantly telling me how HORRIBLE of a mom I am because I don’t give my 13 month old candy and suckers and ice cream and beer BUT he gets treats on special occasions and I think it makes it even more special than always getting treats…

    Adorable story!

  • Dana

    That was brilliant. It’s obvious that Leta is a chip off the ole block(s).

  • http://www.realityfish.com Robin G.

    Be prepared for an eating disorder.

    Let me be clear — I am NOT saying that you have caused it by any particular action (in fact I think removing treats is probably a very good idea, given that left to her own devices Leta would probably die of malnutrition). But she’s obviously got some major control issues with regards to food, control issues that seem to echo control issues that *you’ve* described having with food, and that doesn’t bode well.

    Nothing’s inevitable, of course. Just… keep an eye out and have a plan in place. Getting blindsided or worse, not realizing it, would make things much worse.

  • Matty

    I’m a 27 year old guy, and I’ve been reading your site daily for about… man it must be almost three years now. And while I don’t agree with everything you say, I respect the hell out of you for saying it, and I fully support your right to say it. But I digress. My reason for this message is to say that you aren’t just making things easier for women who may be going through some or many of the great and terrible things you have gone through. You are showing anyone who takes the time to really experience the things you are puting our there that starting and being a part of a family can be whatever you want it to be if you work hard enough at it. I find myself much more eager and interested to find out what it’s like myself these days, and I don’t think that can be entirely attributed to simple age relative maturity. Thanks, and I hope you keep doing this for a while to come.

  • Mary T

    This is good. My parents didn’t do everything right, but though we had dessert after almost every meal, it was rarely a super-sweet dessert like ice cream or a brownie. Mostly it was fruit salad, or jello, or some kind of weird mid-1970s health food-type cake that was sweetened with applesauce and tasted like cardboard! : ) The treats were rare, like heart-shaped cookies on valentine’s day. We had to ask for soda or candy. And I appreciate my mom SO MUCH for creating everything with so much variety and love.

    I am going to call her right now to thank her!

  • merseydotes

    We were inspired by your choice, as our mealtimes had also become neverending negotiations about sufficient bites and adequate variety of colors of food eaten. (Petunia is 2.5 months older than Leta.) We did away with weeknight desserts and kept them on Fridays and Saturdays. Now Petunia is a robust dinner eater, checking in each night with a “It’s a weeknight, right? So no dessert?” (like she needs to make sure she’s not wasting her valuable stomach real estate on something as crappy as peas) and ultimately eating lots more good stuff and asking for apples or raisins if she’s still hungry at the end of the meal. We saw Petunia’s pediatrician yesterday for her five year checkup, and the doctor said she did the same thing with her kids when they were little.

    So thanks for the inspiration, Heather. Glad it is working for you.

    Just don’t be one of those self-righteous assholes who gives out raisins on Halloween or has “The Candy Fairy” come swap all your kid’s trick or treat stash for a toy. As I titled a blog post this time last year, when I was still writing a blog, “If You Cram a Hershey’s Miniature Up Your Ass, Does It Become a Diamond?”

  • Kathryn

    I’ve been reading your site daily now for a while and love it. The variety of topics are great and I especially enjoy reading your dailies re: Leta. She sounds like such a trip and joy.

    Keep on with the treats on special occasions – my mother did this . . . I thought it was some ancient Chinese form of torture. Hehe.

    The last minute notice to you about the Halloween party brought back such memories of the days when I taught. I can’t tell you how many parents told me they were up the night before because their child neglected to give them the notice weeks ago. :o )

    And now . . . all I can think of is eating a cookie.

  • http://www.mamasalwayswrite.com Kathleen

    Hey, my three year old daughter thinks ice cream is only a summer treat – despite the four pints of hagen daz in the freezer!

    And I definitely want the “can you be quiet? I’m eating a cookie” shirt.

  • Jilleen

    I love this entry, Heather. I needed something more lighthearted and mommy-centric. Thanks for the smiles!

  • http://lovelyracket.blogspot.com Jen

    Leta’s power trip reminds me of my 2 year old who I am currently attempting to bribe in to potty training. I ask her if she wants candy? She of course says yes so I tell her as soon as she goes potty, she can have some. She always replies, “I don’t want candy”. Foiled!

  • http://lamomparis.blogspot.com/ La Mom in Paris, France

    I would pay for your trip to Paris to come and get my kids off of treats! We’re in a bad place now with all of the negotiating going at meal time just like you were.
    Wanna come to Paris? I’m serious! I need your help!

  • http://www.maviefolle.com sheila

    Also helps curb the dental bills. I should know, my daughter just had her first four cavaties (age 15).

    Refreshing post after the one I just did on Racism – Bred in a uterus near you. You got me going the other day! lol

  • Susan

    You make me laugh out loud. I *heart* you all. Have a great weekend.

  • Katie

    Cookies – totally orgasmic – I agree!

  • Liz

    Reading your blog is one of the highlights of my mornings. Your posts on motherhood are monumentally relatable — and not for nothing, your political posts are important. Whether I agree with you or not is not the point. I am glad that you are using your strong and funny voice. Good for you. With that being said, I have to go do some extra pageviewing to make up for the morons.

  • http://poopandboogies.com William

    Wow this week you talked about abortion and now withholding treats…I think I am more upset about withholding treats..

  • http://whowhatwhenwhereandsometimeswhy.blogspot.com Jennifer

    My friend had a brilliant Halloween candy idea:

    Let them eat as much as they want. Maybe they’ll get sick, but one or two days of sick is waaaay better than 30 days and nights of “ISAIDTWOPIECES!! PUTTHATBACK!!!!”

  • http://buffyfan30.livejournal.com Kelly

    Leta cracks me up. She’s a very smart girl. Also, I’m totally getting a cookie when I go to the cafeteria for my lunch break in about an hour.

    Your mother giving Leta ice cream reminds me of a recent episode of Desperate Housewives. Bree’s daughter came to visit with her little boy and she was horrified to find that the family was vegan. So naturally, the first chance she got, she convinced the boy to eat 2 hot dogs. The boy later threw up on Bree’s dining room floor. LOL, that’s what she gets. Oh grandparents. Of course that’s a lot wore than giving Leta an ice cream cone, but whatever.

  • http://www.djmlife.blogspot.com DodiM

    Good for you! Teaching that a “treat” is just that… a “treat” will benefit you in the long run. I think it’s a great way to start teaching kids about the reality of how instant gratification isn’t and shouldn’t be a part of real life – and treating yourself occasionally makes it much more special than allowing “treats” to become ordinary. Dessert is a rare thing around here, too, because of the negotiations during mealtimes. It’s enough to drive you crazy.

    I’ll have to remember your cookie recipe next time I break and bake a cookie platter! (Of couse I BAKE, I just don’t MAKE. The difference is subtle.)

  • http://www.iambossy.com/ BOSSY

    Bossy’s plan of attack with her own sweet-dependent twelve-year-old daughter: stick her on A&E’s Intervention.

  • http://www.edock.tv john the designer

    hi, great blog by the way. My kids see “treats” as oranges and apples, this came without any prompting. They just favor fruit over candy and sweets! They would have to be coaxed into eating them. lucky me…

  • http://batavia.blogsome.com idotkontji

    Learning the relationship between humans can be purchased as well as other things, and I will spend more money for it than anything under the sun.

  • http://mlbornstein.blogspot.com Meredith

    One of the all time best Leta quotes EVER!

  • http://www.JenniferSuarez.com Jennifer Suarez

    My daughter’s school doesn’t allow homemade treats… everything must be store bought and in it’s original packaging.

    I think it’s SUCH a bummer! If those kids are able to bring in their germs and head lice and attempt to share them with my daughter, then heck, I think I should be allowed to share a few of my kick-ass cupcakes.

    At least Leta understood the concept of “how many more bites” bargaining. When my daughter was younger and I used to have conversations like this:

    Yuna: How many more bites Mom?
    Me: Hmmm.. I’d say 5 more and you’re done
    Yuna: 5?! That’s a lot! How about 8?
    Me: Um.. Yuna, 8 is actua- *my husband cuts me off*
    Hubby: Yuna, 8 sounds good too. We’ll agree to 8
    Yuna: YES!!

    Haha! Then she got better at numbers and no more fooling her. But it was fun while it lasted.

  • http://astroluxe.com astroluxe

    Get your “Can you be quiet? I’m eating a cookie” T-shirts and mugs here!

    Come visit my store on CafePress!

  • http://www.JenniferSuarez.com Jennifer Suarez

    Comments like the one from, 174. Robin G., should remind us of why Heather doesn’t always allow comments on her blogs.

    Such an adorable post today, yet someone always has to find a down side.

  • http://www.undersundog.com undersundog

    Of all the insufferable bullshit this website proffers – no more treats?

    As a show of solidarity for Leta, I will no longer be reading your blog.

    Just kidding. I love it when children suffer.

  • http://www.thehappypill.typepad.com sara p

    Whenever you write these posts that end with some all-culminating statement from Leta, I read them to my co-workers who have kids (and I link them to your page), and they just die laughing.

    It’s great as a parent (even though I’m not one I can speak for those who react to your posts) to hear about small triumphs (treats in this case) and of course to get a glimpse of the quirks and personality of other kids.

    She sounds like a lot of work, but these posts make me feel like I would just want to sit and listen to her talk and diss you and Jon lovingly. It’s adorable.

  • Rachel

    Taking baked goods out of the oven before the packaging requires is MY trick, too! I got a 70-year-old man, who claimed “I don’t like brownies, really,” to EXCLAIM that my brownies were the best he EVER had…and they were out of a box.

  • Anonymous

    Hey #8/Dogmom,

    I hate to tell you this but where Dooce lives it is not a little town. Unless you consider 1 million little.