Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm a Social Marketing Genius

When I was pregnant the first time around, a friend gave me a book called "How To Con Your Kid." Which excited me to no end. I had read/skimmed plenty of parenting books/magazines and was left confused and scared. Words like "family bed" and "attachment bonding" were dancing in my head, and I realized that what I needed was a book that would just tell me, straight up, how to get my kid to do what I want them to do. Case closed. I hoped that the loving, attachment and bonding would come naturally and it did. But getting a kid to do what I wanted? I was as clueless as the next blubbering pregnant woman.

I didn't really read that book until the Red Baron was about a year old, which is when the real dissension started to happen. Some call it "the terrible twos" and the reason, I think, is because that's the age when the kid starts to think they are smarter than their parents. This goes dormant, for some, at about school age and then comes back like plague of grass-hoppers at about 12 or 13. Unfortunately for me, the seeds of superior thoughts started at approximately 10 months old for the Red Baron. This became obvious when at about 11 months old I gave her her lunch, and she threw her arms in the air and said "You gotta be kidding me!" Like a servant scorned, I just stammered and give excuses "Honey... but you like cheese, remember?.... and the strawberries were in season - remember how you like strawberries?" Talk about handing over the reigns, right? I knew this had to end - I couldn't be stripped of my dignity as routinely as one would change their socks. Since I had kissed my waistline, hair, brain, punctuation, punctuality and privacy goodbye, my dignity was about all I had left. "Stand up!" I told myself, "Stand up and be a Mom!"

So I broke out the book and started to read.

But this book, though clever and creative, wasn't quite what I needed to take back the control and "con my kid." It told me to cut my kids hair while they slept (sounds like a disaster to me) or sing songs called "eat the peas" to the tune of "Let it be" by the Beatles. Again - very sweet, but they didn't know who I was dealing with. This girl has the pipes of a banshee and a will of iron. She wasn't going to eat the peas even if I juggled 20 of them in one hand while singing Handel's Messiah on a unicycle with my eyes closed. Eat your own dang peas.

Then one night, I was making pulled pork (the BEST stuff for tacos, burritos, sandwiches, you name it) and in trying to get the Red Baron to eat it I called it "meat candy." As soon as the word "candy" was out of my mouth, a Social Marketing Genius was born within me (of course it doesn't hurt that there's a cup of brown sugar in the recipe). You put the word "candy" in any menu name and your kid will eat it. The Red Baron wolfed down the pork, and was begging for more. "Meat candy please!" was like music to my ears and a band-aid to my wounded parenting ego. I'm going to try to sell them on "asparagus candy" tonight so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Then last month I got a gym membership and knew I would need to really sell the in-house daycare idea to The Little Man, who would be going in alone. I was a little worried there would be some fireworks, but I laid down the ground work and told him that after dropping The Red Baron off at preschool, he would be going to "Playschool" where he would meet friends, play with toys and have general fun and shenanigans. So we walked in, and he marched over to the admitting desk and said "Hey Friends! I'm here!" and didn't take a sideways glance at me ever after. It was almost magical.

So you can see why I think I might be onto a second career here, right? Social Marketing expert for toddlers? Sounds great to me. Anything to keep me off that unicycle.

The Red Baron from her command central.


  1. I just called COco to come over and see Anna...oh Mom , that is Anna when she was a baby. I want to see Anna when she looks like a princess. THis princess thing has got to stop. SO more pictures of Anna dressed as princess please...

  2. You are an inspiration to a newer mother! My boy certainly hasn't reached the age of verbal protestation yet, but any tips I can file away for later are most helpful. Great picture of the Red Baron, by the way.

  3. Ah yes, the greatest parenting skill of all is that of prettying up the ugly truth! To get my boys to eat meatloaf I bake it in a muffin tin and call the individual little balls "meat muffins". The boys snarf! Asparagus is "veggie swords", cauliflower is "snow trees", and brussels sprouts are "cannon balls". Let's make a kid-friendly cookbook, Trev :)

  4. I'm impressed. Those moments are nice-- though few and far between for me. The old tricks aren't working like they used to! Keep the hints coming.