Tuesday 7 February 2012

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Entertaining the Non-Rider - The Food

I don't know if my kids have realized it yet (yeah right), but it's possible for them to play their parents off against each other. While Lori and I share the same general theories when it comes to parenting, there are slight differences in the way we go about implementing them. For instance, while we generally don't buy food in theme parks since it's usually cheaper to fly back home and make your own lunch than to eat in the park, there are ways to be allowed a quick visit to an ice cream stand or a candy store. This works particularly well for my daughter while we wait for the others to go on a ride, but there are certain rules that have to be followed to make this happen. At the risk of spelling it out for my kids, here is the process to follow:

Rule #1 - Always go to Dad - When it comes to food, Dad is the soft touch. I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anybody, and it certainly doesn't to my kids. Lori used to like taking me grocery shopping with her, but it got too expensive with all the extra stuff I kept throwing in the cart, so now I'm not allowed to go anymore. Your odds of talking Dad into stopping somewhere for a snack are pretty good. Besides, there's no point asking Lori. In her world cake, pies, and ice cream are how you start your day, and if you wanted a treat you should have gotten up and had breakfast with the rest of us.

Rule #2 - Never ask in a crowd - Dad may think with his stomach first, but his wallet is a very close second. If you ask while all your siblings are around, I'll do the math and figure out that 5 ice creams at $6 each is $30 and that's more than I'm looking to spend. If you ask me while it's just the two of us killing time though, that's only going to come to $12, and that doesn't seem too bad. It's a faulty system, because if each kid asks me individually I end up spending $36 and eating three ice creams myself (Wait..where's the problem here again?), but it seems to be the way my mind works. When it works. Lori's still convinced there's an on/off switch on my brain and it might be stuck in one position.

Rule #3 - Always ask for something Dad likes - It's another psychological rule as my kids are big enough now that I know I'm not going to get any of their food, but the fun of going up to the counter and ordering two special treats instead of the one that I was always limited to as a child (and as a married man) is a huge swaying point. It has to be something I really like though. There's no excitement in going to the counter and asking for a plain vanilla cone, and if you ask for something with Nutella on it, you've blown the whole thing. We might as well eat the veggies that Mom packed for us at that point.

Rule #4 - Always pick an out of the way snack stand - Nothing brings a sneaky snack to a crashing halt faster than the rest of the family walking up on you, so always choose a place to eat in a back corner somewhere. This decreases the odds of being stumbled upon, but if you do see family coming, remember rule #4b which is give all the snacks to Daddy because he eats faster. This of course leads to rule #4c which is don't believe Daddy the first five times he tells you he sees Mom coming.

Rule #5 - Don't rat out Daddy - After you convince Dad to let you have a treat, don't come to dinner that night and announce that you don't want anything because you're still full from the ice cream. Just suck it up and eat a little bit, or if you're really that full a simple "I'm not that hungry" will suffice, although it's bound to arouse Lori's suspicions. Let's face it though, I'm not really putting anything over on Lori. She knows exactly what happens when she's not there to supervise. So why does she let me get away with it? It might be because of what happens when I'm not there to supervise....

Up next: Entertaining the Non-Rider - The Shopping