A few weeks ago, I was on the cell phone with my mom and about to head into the grocery store with Cate, who was in a foul mood. My mom suggested that I dash over to the bakery department and see if they’d give her a cookie. [And yes, I did get off the phone before going into the grocery store. I try not to be the obnoxious shopper yakking on my hands-free headset and entertaining my kid at the same time. It happens occasionally, but I do my best to avoid it.] I thought that was strange, but when I went there, sure enough, they had a container of shortbread cookies open behind the counter to give to kids. The lady even told me, “If we aren’t here, you can just reach behind the counter and grab one. We always have ’em.” Nice!
I’ve used the cookie trick once or twice since then, but it really bothers me to bribe Cate with sugar starting at such a young age. It seems like an unhealthy pattern. I know the reason she gets cranky at the store is because she wants to get out of the cart and walk around, and I’m just not comfortable letting her do that yet. (I know she’d drop to her knees and touch the floor, and eww, germs, gross.)
So in an effort to try to avoid the cookie bribe, one time as we were heading through the produce section and I was getting some sugar snap peas, I handed her one just to see if it would interest her. And it did! She held the sugar snap pea in her hand for the entire time we were in the store, and she was totally chilled out and happy with it. She’d occasionally put the end of it in her mouth, but she isn’t really able to eat raw, crunchy veggies yet, so for the most part she just held onto it.
Later, when I was strapping her into the car seat, I accidentally knocked the pea out of her hand, and she got so mad at me. I apologized and handed it back to her, and she went back to studying it quietly. When we got home, she walked around with the pea in her hand for a good 15 or 20 minutes before she finally dropped it and moved onto something else.
I’ve tried it again a few times since then, and every time, the sugar snap peas always keep her happy for the entire grocery store excursion. She always seems to hold onto them until long after we’ve gotten home. My guess is that she’s interested in them because she sees me eating them all the freaking time. (Seriously, you can ask Dave, I snack on sugar snap peas all day long, it’s kind of an obsessive thing. I get really upset when my grocery store runs out and I will drive 10 miles to Redmond to find a grocery store that has them.)
But why she wants to hold it and not eat it, I’m not exactly sure. It’s just funny how kids develop their own little quirks. Regardless, if she wants raw veggies instead of a cookie? I’ll follow her lead on that one every time.