The Negotiations

We never thought we'd have to stoop to such levels, but often in order to get the boy to do certain things that the wife and I request, we must haggle and strike deals.  Instances in which these negotiations occur include meal time, toy pick-up time, and homework time.  For example, it has been well documented that the boy has a very limited palate and only eats about 10 different kinds of food.  The wife and I do our best to get him to try new things.  And it's not like we're offering up fish heads and chicken livers.  We simply want him to eat a hamburger or a piece of chicken (not in nugget form) or any fruit or vegetable not called a banana or carrot (incredibly he does eat those).  So we constantly try to entice the boy to try something new or finish his meal with the promise of a "treat" upon completion of the tasting or meal eating.  Treats include cookies, fruit snacks (FYI, these are NOT fruit, but they do contain 100% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C), a piece of chocolate, etc.  After the first treat is consumed, a request for a second one is undoubtedly made and generally denied.

Similar covenants are made between us and the boy for other reasons:
"Pick up these books and toys and then you can watch Max & Ruby."
"Do your reading and then you can go to Friend X's house."
"Get ready for your bath and then we'll play Uno."
"Shovel the driveway and I won't make you sleep in the garage tonight."
Without striking these deals, the requests still get done (the wife and I are the bosses after all), but their completion is often preceded by bouts of whining, pouting, and general pissyness.  While the boy might appear to be a perfect angel to those of you in different area codes, that's not always the case.  The thing is, he seems to be impeccably behaved in school, at friends' houses, and with his grandparents as well as other people.  He only acts like this with the wife and me.  I have no idea where he gets it (his mother), but lord knows I never gave my parents a hard time when I was growing up!

Now you folks without kids are probably thinking to yourselves, "Why don't you just lay down the hammer?  Tell the boy he'll have to shape up or ship out."  Yes, that's the natural reaction of people who don't have children, as well as those who do have children and are better parents than us.  My wife and I used to have similar thoughts before the arrival of the kids, particularly after witnessing our friends "deal" with their children.  During one visit with friends whose obnoxious kids were out of control, we stifled smiles, winked, and just knew that our future parenting skills would be far superior.  HA!!  We're now wheeling and dealing on a daily basis.  I feel more corrupt than the Afghan government.

I've been pondering (other than bribery) ways to address the situation.  I've tried threatening the boy by saying that I won't take him to school unless he finishes breakfast, but that doesn't seem to have any effect.  Lately I've contemplated constructing a rack in the basement.  You know what a rack is - one of those medieval torture devices frequently seen in movies with knights and castles and dungeons.  The rack is used by the racker to slowly stretch the rackee, in this case the boy, until his behavior improves or his appendages are pulled off, whichever occurs first.  After a few behavior modification sessions, I figure that even if his attitude isn't improved, he'll at least be several inches taller.  That should be greatly appreciated on his part since his chances of being tall are not good having myself and the wife as his parents.

If anyone out there has suggestions on dealing with this phenomenon (short of the infliction of excruciating pain), please let me know.


A friend recently posted on Facebook a link to this article about beer being good for your bones and helping to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.  The article goes on to say that light beers provide the least benefit while those with higher levels of malted barley and hops are the best.  Hallelujah!  That's further justification (in addition to the abject lack of flavor) for me to drop light beer altogether.

This news comes at the perfect time as this Saturday the August Schell Brewing Company is hosting its annual Bockfest.  What a perfect opportunity to drink some bone-preserving Schell's Bock beer, which I just learned contains "10 different types of malt and noble hops".  Sounds good to me.  Now I just need an excuse to get out of the house for several hours on Saturday afternoon (and probably a ride home too).



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