Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Chart Situation

I once sat in on a talk by a fairly well known child psychologist who told the room, "If any one knows of a chart that works, tell me." At the time, my daughter and I were in the middle of a great chart experiment. Or, more precisely, Helen was hoodwinking me through a chart.

The purpose of the chart was simple: To help Helen get to sleep without me in the room. The incentive was straightforward: A princess costume.
The time frame was reasonable: Four weeks.

Plus, Helen had the idea for the chart, she made the chart, she kept the checks and ex-es on the chart. (A very bad bedtime meant she'd lose a check.) It was all terrific, until Helen got her costume. Then, suddenly, she couldn't go to sleep without me in the room. "I only did it to get the dress, mommy," she confessed.

As if I didn't know.

And yet. And yet! Here we are in the grips of another chart. This one was also proposed by Helen, drawn by Helen and is kept by Helen. What's it for? New food. Dinner has gotten to be awful around here. Helen eats nothing because she's bored with everything (and by "everything" I mean pasta, hard boiled eggs, carrots, cauliflower, hot dogs and the occasional fish stick). But her new friends at her new school are eating new foods, so she has a little bit of a peer incentive, even if the new food idea slightly terrifies her.

Anyway, here's how it works. She tries a food we've agreed on, she gets a check. After about 25 checks, she gets a (medium) toy. So far, she's tried raspberries (yuk), blackberries (double yuck), sweet potato (Yum!), and romanesco cauliflower (Yum!). I wasn't sure if the romanesco cauliflower should count because truth be told, it tastes an awful lot like regular cauliflower, which she likes, but it looks a lot different, so I'm sticking with it's status as new.

We'll see if after her (medium) toy she will still eat sweet potatoes. I think she might. I think we might have found a chart that works, but, then again, I've thought that before.


marjorie said...

I sympathize. I hope this chart works. Jonathan is all up in my grill b/c I still make separate meals (or, you know COMPONENTS of separate meals -- plain pasta, etc) for the kids rather than all of us eating the same thing. But it's haaaaard when they reject food! I am a whiner.

Robin Aronson said...

ok. i made the Best Chicken Ever last night and we all ate it! it was a first. no surprise, melissa's recipe from In the Kitchen witha GOod Appetite. stale bread. smother it with mustard, sprinkle oliveoil. season chicken cut up in 8 parts. put on bread. put cloves of garlic (unpeeled) thyme and olive oil on chicken. bake/ roast for 50 min at (i think) 450. use a thick roasting pan. everyone will eat it and your neighbors will come begging. it's all aboutthe bread (onto which you can squeeze whole cloves of roasted garlic like an extra yummy spread from trader joe's w/o packaging.

it was the first night i didn't make pasta in WEEKS.

Robin Aronson said...

it's a 425 oven

john cave osborne said...

sorry to blog-stalk you, but just a quick note. tell helen (love that name) our taste buds change every seven years. here's the deal though, you never know when the turnover happens, so you never know the next time you'll like something you used to dislike.

e.g. asparagus.