Stomach Pains

Minor meltdown this morning, but first, let’s define terms for all you non-parents.

Drop-off Playdate: E.g. crack for the stay-at-home parent. This is when you leave your kid at someone’s house, and most kids love ‘em.

Fern, though, is a bit of a homebody.

So when promised (in the most! excited! tone! of! voice!) a drop-off playdate at her good friend’s house today, Fern balked hard, balked like a cat being put into the box that takes it to the nasty mean groomer who smells bad… she way balked.

And I needed Fern to go on that drop-off playdate more than I need air to breathe. I am beyond tired lately — throwing three parties in the space of a month, all in our newly-renovated home that still has no shelves but enough full, heavy boxes to recreate the Great Wall in the garage.

So I instantly pulled out every kid-convincing tool in the arsenal.

  • Logic. (“You like playdates! You like your friend! There’s real food there!”)
  • Appeal to self-sufficiency. (“You need to learn how to be at other people’s houses so we can teach you about snooping in medicine cabinets!”)
  • Bribes Rewards. (“Not one but two prizes from your prize bag when you get home!”)
  • Stonewalling. (“Well, you’re going, and that’s that!”)

It’s remarkable, really, that I managed to try so many strategies to convince Fern to go on her playdate — and all with exclamation points! — without even considering the one that worked, in the end: feeding her.

One hard-boiled egg, one bagel, one cup of milk transformed Fern from a jittery anti-playdate misanthrope to an excited pro-playdate proanthrope. When I dropped her off she gave me barely a hug before disappearing into the depths of the house.

So here’s the lesson: no more discussions, decisions, or plans are ever to be made before breakfast.

You’d think after four years I’d have figured that one out, wouldn’t you?