That Cookie Hustle

Photo: It was Tax-Free weekend here in Massachusetts, which is something The Husband and I used to avoid like the plague. But since we have to little boys who need back-to-school stuff… well.. we were out early on Saturday to hit up the stores! Next to the Stride Rite outlet (2 pairs of shoes, 2 packs of socks. $80. SUCH A DEAL!) was a brand new Lego Land store and, in front of it, was a huge Lego giraffe. The boys were only marginally interested in it. I got a photo anyway.


My two toddlers woke up this morning asking for food like I hadn’t fed them all weekend.

And, you know what? I hadn’t.

Well, that’s not true. I prepared meals for them. I set those meals in front of them. And they actively chose not to eat the meals.

You know why?

My boys are smart. Too smart. They get it from their father. They’ve found an exploit for the Potty Tenet.

The 1st Potty Tenet Little Boys who use the potty get a cookie. 

Veteran moms are shaking their heads. I know you are. I see you. When we first started potty training, Ursa Major responded to absolutely no bribes: M&Ms, Skittles, Starbursts, hugs, admiration, happy dance and clapping… nothing. But when The Husband presented him with a cookie from the $5 bucket you pick up at Roche Brothers, well… let’s just say that things got flowing.

Ew. Sorry.

Not really. It was worth it.

Of course, once he started to consistently go and figured out that he can go at certain times, well, Ursa Major figured out that he could enjoy himself a cookie almost on demand. When would be the best time for a cookie? Right after breakfast. Right between lunch and nap time. Right before dinner and right before bath time. That’s a lot of cookies! He’s a happy dude. I’m a very unhappy mommy. So now I’ve gotta set up some extra parameters, like:

The 2nd Potty Tenet: Little Boys who have dry diapers who use the potty get a cookie.

This worked for a while. No mess-ups, no accidents. He’d hold it and then when he needed to go, he’d tell me and we’d go. This is great! Less cookies awarded, but still given at less-than-optimal times during the day. Suddenly he’s getting to lunch and he’s not eating it. Not because he’s not hungry, but because he’s holding out for the cookie. Same thing for dinner! It took us a couple days to catch wise, but when we did, we had to change it up again :

The 3rd Potty Tenet: Little Boys who eat their meals and have dry diapers who use the potty get a cookie.

Ohhh, we thought we got him. We thought we were smart parents, squashing this little game, bringing order back to the household. Nope. Hunger strike. The boy decided he’d only eat breakfast. Saturday, Sunday. Breakfast. No lunch, no dinner. Are you serious? But he would still bounce off the potty, having used it and feeling proud, and immediately ask for the cookie like he didn’t know the rules! So then, of course, we have to tell him no and them he crumbles to pieces like we’re the cruelest parents that ever lived.


Of course, because The Fates have a wicked sense of humor, Ursa Minor has taken interest in the potty now. And guess what? Multiple successful attempts this weekend. It’s just a big conspiracy, I swear.

I’m calling this The Great Cookie Hustle of 2014.

I write this with humor because part of me is a little bit proud. As annoying as it is, I appreciate that my boys think they can get the one-up on us. It means that they are thinking, and that’s alright with me. I recognize that they are going to come up with some schemes that are going to get by me, and I’m certainly not going to encourage this behavior, but if my 3 1/2 year-old  has really come up with a scheme where he thinks he’s gonna be able to eat cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it’s mommy sanctioned, well, I’m going to applaud his efforts a little bit.

And then put the kabash on it. Like any evil dictator would.

The boys ate breakfast this morning and a pretty good lunch after some time on the playground today. Tonight? Grilled teriyaki chicken served alongside some grilled corn and a fresh salad with heirloom beets and tomatoes that we picked up at the farmstand today. I’m so excited! If they don’t eat it, well, they’re crazy.

Did I mention that The Great Cookie Hustle is coinciding with The Great Nap Boycott of 2014? Ursa Major is dropping his nap for good. Unfortunately, he and his little brother share a room… so when Major doesn’t nap, Minor doesn’t nap. And Minor needs the nap. I’m praying that getting back to school and getting back to our normal schedule will give me back some naps in the afternoons. No afternoon nap means that I’m going to have to rearrange my blogging schedule. Bad news all around, ya’ll!

So I’m going to get off and take non-sleeping children outside to run around. Of course, we all know they won’t run around but, instead, fight over a single toy or a single blade of grass as that is how they like to live. Lordy. I’ve done my back-to-school shopping! When do I get to actually send them to school???

Happy Monday, dear reader!! Let’s have a great week!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    When I was a kid we had this book called “Bread and Jam for Francis” and it was about a girl (well, I think she was an animal of some sort, because children’s books are like that) who would only eat bread and jam. She would swap her sandwiches at school etc — she’d eat bread and jam all the time. So eventually her parents were like, “This doesn’t work. She needs to eat other food.” So they ONLY fed her bread and jam until she got so sick of it, she ate normal food.

    Now I’m not suggesting you give them only cookies until they never want to see one again in their lives, because that could take a while, but it did bring the story to mind. 😉

    By the way, in case you were interested, I got into Cambridge! So all that uni stress is over — now it’s stress about getting prepared. (I wrote about my grades etc here:

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      OH MY GOD!!! Just posted to your site because I just HAD to read it and I don’t know ANYTHING about the UK grading system but, damn girl, you worked so hard and you MADE IT!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I am going to be dancing all day! ALL DAY! Just for you!!!

      1. Miriam Joy says:

        Thank you! (Our system’s quite like yours, with the additional A*: A*, A, B, C, D, E, U. But how they actually mark it is an unfathomable mystery.)


  2. I love how you named it The Great Cookie Hustle. Too funny!
    And lucky you on getting a tax free weekend. They cancelled it in NC this year. Talk about evil dictators…

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