Scarlett’s supergirl birthday party: activities

When I was still able to control her social life,  I steered Scarlett’s fourth birthday party toward a Super Girl theme.

As my girl has grown older, the threat of her being “eaten by princesses” has grown, too.  This article on Huffington Post about how we must engage little girls in conversations about things other than their appearances is important to me. Being pretty is not a pursuit I want my preschooler prioritizing. (And don’t get me started on the shoes made for little girls, most of which are clearly not meant for running or climbing, but rather for collecting compliments.)

This Super Girl party was satisfying to my birthday girl, fun and inexpensive for me, and welcoming to our guests of both genders.

We already had enough capes in our dress-up box to offer one to each child. It was big brother Julian’s job to offer capes as people arrived. (Need a couple extra capes? These are less than $7 on Amazon.)

I had four activities set up for the party. Each one was only engaging to a couple of the kids, so I am not trying to make you to believe that these are the world’s best birthday party activities, but having opted to throw the party in our own backyard, it was important to have things for the kids to DO.

(Full disclosure: a visiting kitten who was being held hostage in the master bathroom was the main attraction leading kids to continuously sneak into the house to get their little paws on the poor baby cat. Nothing I offered the guests could compete with furry little Zeus. Even the moms wanted to see him.)

Nevertheless, I hope you’ll find inspiration here: (more…)

Then I tried bribing my picky eater even harder

Bribing my picky toddler with cookies

I learned a few important things since I last reported on bribing my preschooler with dinosaur toys to get him to try new foods:

  1. It is not really a “bribe” it is an “incentive” (I don’t understand why, see definition of bribe.)
  2. Maybe my choice of prize was too weak
  3. My strong-willed child is immune to this kind of tactic

Whitney and her seven-year old daughter felt strongly that the toy dinosaurs were not enough to move the needle on Sawyer’s eating. They enthusiastially suggested that I use a bag of Star Cookies from Trader Joe’s as a new motivator. As you can see above, I put the dessert-prize in front of him each dinner and let him know which foods he had to try for each one.

At barely three-years old, he seemed to fully grok the experiment and was often motivated to try enough food for at least one cookie. But he never tried enough foods for more than one cookie. Again, I believe he ate what he was going to try anyway.

  1. One night, he ate PLAIN PASTA for a cookie. While that seems like a total gimme, most nights he will eat zero pasta, so I’ll call it a win. He nearly nibbled the fig he chose at the grocery store, but didn’t.
  2. The OMG-HE-ATE-MEAT award goes to the night he ate dinosaur chicken bites slathered with cream cheese and ketchup. I’ll roll with that. Ironically, he wouldn’t touch the tomatoes he picked from our garden while singing a song from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood about trying new foods!
  3. One night he willingly ate blueberries for a treat. It seems basic, but it was a big deal.
  4. The final night, I offered him a DONUT for finishing his dinner. Instead of being motivated, he called me stupid and lost his chance at dessert for a manners violation (despite eating the breaded-frozen fish spread with cream cheese and ketchup).

I give up!

Bribing my picky toddler with cookies

My biggest lesson: I will now keep cream cheese and ketchup at the ready for all future meat attempts (and let him eat pancakes with faces until he outgrows it)!

I would encourage other parents of picky eaters to make a “Will Eat” list to remember the {good} stuff that is on the limited menu. It might make us feel better. While I’ve had a lot of fun collecting data on my child’s eating habits (or lack thereof), I want to back off of experimenting on him for the time being.

[All photos are from Heather Flett: all rights reserved]

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