a friend visits, craving yogurt

I have a friend visiting, and she’s awesome, all apple-cheeked and cheery. I just sang a hymn. And guess where I’m taking her today? We’re collecting the beans after school and dashing off to Yogurt-land—today is National Frozen Yogurt Day (since there’s a day for everything from bull testicles to the color blue-green)—for free fro-yo and free toppings. Since the beans just earned ten more points, it was “their idea” to opt for the winning experience of frozen yogurt. I love the point system when it comes to parenting.

With the concept of an earned experience (not a toy or a thing) as the reward, the kids keep track of how many points they’ve each earned. Once they earn ten, they get to choose a special experience (a dino dig, afternoon tea, a family picnic, a day of fishing). The key factor: they’re not allowed to ask for a point. If they ask, they don’t get it. Also, particularly uncharacteristic behavior (like peeing on a wall) will snatch that point right back with a loss. It’s remarkable how they can recall exactly how many points they have at any given moment. Ask them how much 5 + 8 is, and I’m affronted with blank stares. But how many points they have? That, they always know. Lucas is at 9 points. Abigail earned a point this morning when she, completely unprompted, swept up the whole house AND whipped out the dustpan, filled the dustpan and successfully emptied it in the trash. Then, she decided to surprise me by quickly dressing, socks and sneakers, hair AND teeth brushed, without my ever having to ask. Love that girl.

I’m wondering if this reward system would work in marriage. I guess marriage itself is supposed to be the reward. Perhaps my reward should be a tour through a crock pot factory or a crack house. Because “marriage as its own sweet reward,” is not quite right. More like, “Oh, wow, that’s a crock and crack all rolled into one.” Side of bitter greens, please.

Truth: I don’t even know what I’d want as an experiential reward for good behavior. You know, aside from: peace. And…

A couples cooking class.
A food photography workshop.
Back to watercolor class.
A trip to Lego Land with the kids.
I’ve got it. What I want—aside from a vacation in Burma with a professional photography guide—is a family vacation in the Florida Keys. At Club Med. Oh, this has got to happen. And one of those days WILL involve deep sea fishing (without the kids) and a sushi dinner. I can’t wait. I love fishing! I also love my parents, love that they, my mother really, made it a point of including fishing in our lives early on. I am such a lucky girl. I really am so blessed. Plus, I’m having all the toppings I want today, ’cause I rage like that. Period.

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11 Responses to “a friend visits, craving yogurt”

  1. Kelly Says:

    On Legoland…

    My parents spend the winter in Lake Ashton, a mere minutes from Legoland. I’ve no kids of my own but both my dad and boyfriend simply HAD to see the park-o-Legos. Here’s my advice and other .02:

    Go early. Go oh so much earlier than reason would suggest is necessary. Then? Go earlier than that.

    Be prepared to walk 1,043 miles (and that’s just the parking lot).

    Pack your lunch (food options are limited and the lines stretch forever).

    Make sure you go see the show with the Pirates – get there 20 minutes in advance and take a seat in the front so the hops can man one of the squirt guns.

    All rides close if it even sprinkles. Plan accordingly.

    Definitely make your own Lego car and take the time to get your “Lego Pilot’s license”.

    Lastly? That potted plant? Is a man inside a plant-suit with facepaint. He’s as creepy as he sounds, but is very good with the kids.

    Reply

  2. Kate Says:

    Are you … ?

    Reply

  3. J Says:

    When I read the last word of this post (in combination with one of your previous posts) and the first line of this post, I pickup what could be a couple double entendres … which, if actually intended, are pretty cool. :-)

    Reply

  4. Cleo Says:

    Long-time reader/lurker and a huge fan. Glad that Aunt Flo finally visited. There are months when the visits are annoying but I’m sure this time, the visit is yogurt-worthy! You are a brilliant writer. And a rockstar mom. You have a magical way of putting your thoughts into words. Best of luck!

    Reply

  5. Dionne Says:

    My husband (then boyfriend) and I actually had a point system at one time, complete with home made chart stuck on the fridge. A point was awarded for good deeds such as visiting cranky relatives, attending boring work functions and defrosting the freezer. And then we got married and it turns out you have to do that shit for free. Swizz.

    Reply

  6. TheChangingHouse Says:

    I love your blog! You’re a great writer… and now I want some yogurt!

    Reply

  7. Jean Lara Says:

    oh! my friend love yogurt also. She always say “i want yogurt” thats funny.
    i didn’t notice since its was my first time here.

    Reply

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