Treats are a tricky thing. Especially in our home since it feels a bit like uncharted territory. Nevertheless, we wanted to have a little something special for Sam as he began to take on more responsibility in his new role as Two Year-Old Big Brother.
Our home has one very eager toddler who loves to receive treats and two parents eager to give them. The excitement on our little guy’s face when he’s picking out his reward in Jelly Bellies is worth every penny in future dental bills.
Getting to pick out his favorite color only then to change his mind and pick out his new favorite color entertains him for a good three minutes (which is a long time in toddler minutes if you think about it). I thoroughly enjoy watching every second of the Grand Selection and end up competing with Joe over who gets to be the honored Giver of the Treat.
Our favorite way to dish out treats (and when I say dish, I mean one or two) is when Sam least expects it. I try to keep my eyes peeled throughout the day for little opportunities to affirm him for helping, obeying, or being polite without instruction. I’m far more delighted to give Sam a treat in these moments- almost happier than he is to receive it.
Treats become tricky, however, when the lines blur between earning a treat and expecting a treat just because it’s a Monday. Now I’m not opposed to an occasional treat “just because”, but Sam will oftentimes ask for one “just because” his memory of that tiny colorful jar is jogged as he walks through the kitchen. Our conversation goes a bit like this:
Sam: “Momma, I wanna tweat?”
Me: “I’d love to give you a treat, Sam, but you need to earn it.”
Sam: “I wanna tweaaaat!”
Me: “You can earn a treat if you help Momma with…(fill in the blank)”
Sam: “Two tweats?!”
For whatever reason, Sam has been under the impression recently that you can also earn a treat if you don’t do something. For instance, the other day he was playing with Peter and asked for a treat when he was done. When I asked him what he did to earn a treat, he excitedly said, “I no hit Petuh!“
I found this funny, because although Sam has poked Peter in the eye a time or ten, he hasn’t attempted to hit him. I guess he just resisted an urge and felt he deserved a treat?
Another comical moment happened last week when the boys were playing on my bed together. Sam leaned over and gave Peter the biggest kiss on his cheek…
Me: “Oh Sam, that is really sweet!”
Sam: “Tweat pwease?!”