Monday, June 1, 2009

Can't I Get an Honorary Degree for this or Something?

I've been thinking today about how much of parenting is about marketing. Have you ever thought about this? The packaging and re-packaging of information in such a way that it becomes palatable, even preferable, to your kids.

Becky did a post recently about making a grilled cheese sandwich for her little dude, and how he wouldn't eat the crusts. Several of the commenters shared their tactics in "repackaging" the crusts so they would get eaten.

Saturday evening, Jason made us all breakfast for dinner.
Do you ever do this? It was so yummy. Pancakes and lots of syrup, bacon, scrambled eggs with cheese. I was craving pancakes, so I loved it. But the thing that struck me was how excited the kids were and what a novelty it was to them. You would've thought the circus was in town or something. They danced around the kitchen and hugged each other. (They are cheap dates.)

My mom used to do this for us and I can remember feeling like it was a really special occasion. Now, I realize that it was probably just that she hadn't gone to the grocery store that day and needed to come up with something filling that we would eat. But, see? Marketing! If she'd said, "Hey guys, all we have tonight is grits and scrambled eggs with toast. Sorry", we would've been totally bummed out. Instead, it was like, "Guess what! We get to have breakfast! But it's nighttime! See the crazy paradox? What a cool mom I am!"

I have "re-packaged" vitamins to be energy pills. That sounds suspiciously like speed or something, but I promise it's not. I tell Nate when he eats broccoli that I can see his bones getting stronger. (Hey--it does have calcium!)In addition, it is now really awesome to still sit in his car seat cause now he's up high enough to roll the window down.

In my life as a parent, I spend the vast majority of my time on the following:
**Making sure no one falls off cliffs or gets hit by cars (You think I jest-- you should see our cliff-like driveway)
**Brushing tangles out of hair
**Talking about why heaven is good even if there aren't toys there and why Jesus can fly but that doesn't mean He is a boy fairy.
**Taking information that is mundane or undesirable and re-formatting it into fun! Let me! I saw it first!

I used to wonder why parents were so tired all the time. Now I think it's because you are constantly filtering information, explaining it, managing expectations and spinning it, baby! It can be quite fun, actually. And when Jason and I come up with a particularly good spin, we look at each other, nod and smile, like "Ohhhh yeah, baby. We are good." But what about you? Share your best spin-master stories. Help a sister out, would ya? Or if you haven't done it yourself, what worked on you?


  1. You certainly should get an honorary degree. I'm totally useless at this kind of thing and often end up shooting myself in the foot!

    My lovely neighbour from across the road tells her eldest that raisins are sweets - genius I think.

  2. Ah, parenting little ones allows you to perform these amazing feats. You and Becky are able to wow your wee ones, but you will soon learn that it's not as easy when they grow older. My nine year old is immune to our spin efforts. Here's a clip of what it's like so you're prepared.

    I love the breakfast for dinner experience, but also the dinner for breakfast (steak and eggs or freshly caught fish and eggs) too.

  3. You know, I am not that great at this. Definitely not as good as you. It's like I expect these kids to just be REASONABLE, ha! Sometimes that works. It's like it's hard to muster the effort for a big spin campaign sometimes, you know?

  4. Seriously, your family makes my head spin with its cuteness.

    I'm pretty sure we can't get away with much spinning any more. They're on to us. In fact, I think they're the spinmeisters in our house!

  5. I tell Avery all the time to show me how fast she can run to her room and get dressed, or run to the bathroom and go potty as fast as she can (because Aunt Cristyn is timing her). Better yet, I ask if she wants to do something fun and then I tell her we'll have a race to see who can pick up the toys the quickest. I'm convinced that if you had the phrase "do you want to do something fun?" they are instantly hooked. : ) Of course eventually they'll catch on, I realize she won't be 3 forever, but alas I've always got Nathan

  6. Ooh, maybe there's hope for me yet. Today I lay down in Hank's room when I put him down for a nap. He was talking and playing in his bed, so I said, "Let's see who can get to sleep fastest."

    Everybody won.

  7. Well, me and my friend Justin used to make up scary stories about the Goat Man of Glen Lake to keep campers from sneaking out at night. Does that count?

  8. I do it all the time but must say I am nowhere near as good as you:)
    Some of my lines : you need to have a nap so you'll have lots of energy to .......... (dance, play etc, fill in the blanks) works for me and she's still napping at 5!
    The other one I use all the time is: Let's have a race to the front door (it's kinda difficult to get her out of the car and to walk the few feet to our front door when she's tired after a big outing!)

  9. We do a lot of "racing" during chore time.

    You're an awesome spinmaster! Or is that spinmistress? Well, whatever you are... good job. :)

  10. I *wish* I were an awesome spinmistress, but thanks, guys! Ava will still not come NEAR fruit or veggies, and believe me I have been workin' my mojo on that for years now.

    And Forrest, thanks for the clip! :) Let's hope the curtain stays drawn for a little longer. :)

  11. Amy, have you tried "It's too good for kids" the old reverse psychology bit?
    My grandpa used that on us for years and years. Not that we believed that he meant it, it just became a fun thing we shared with him. But it did get us to eat raw tomatoes (sprinkle sugar on 'em,) avocados, rhubarb, horseradish, all kinds of stuff from his garden.
    Now we just say it for fun. Can't honestly say it works with my kids...but they're not too bad with fruits and veggies usually.
    Oh! And my sister had been using that Deceptively Delicious cookbook where you put vegetable puree in *everything.* A bit labor intensive for me though.
    "Labor"--ha! I'm thinkin' of ya! Take care Mama Bear!