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Motivated By Food ...

School has started. I had mixed emotions.

Peenee's 1st grade class has a behavior system, Green, Yellow and Red light. Of course, all children are expected to stay on green light. Yellow light is a warning of sorts. Red light is not good!

I knew it was coming ... Peenee could not stay on "green light". Two days in a row he came home on "yellow light" One for not listening, the other for being silly during a fire drill. *Sigh* ... what is a mother to do? The first day I let it go ... talked to him about it and marked it up to him learning the rules. The next day, I think I did what any other frustrated mom of 4 would do ... I took away the outdoors afterschool, in addition to playtime with his best friend. Oh, the horror, I could imagine for him. He would be devastated and would remember this, that's right, and "green lights" would be in his future for all 1st grade days ahead.

There was horror alright ... plenty of it. Yes, he was stuck indoors, watching all his friends, best friend included, ride their bikes past our house, over and over again. He peered out the front window and whined, cried, pleaded, screamed, ending it with a statement of how I was the "meanest and worst Mom ever". Then it was silent. He was gone. All was quiet. Peenee had ventured off to play with his dinosaurs or read a book or whatever it was he went off and did. Being the "meanest and worst Mom ever" ... I wouldn't know. I had gotten through to him though ... and he knew I meant business. I sat, at my kitchen counter and offered Smilee a small snack, feeling proud, I had conquered the "yellow light" syndrome.

Looking back, it was just the calm before the storm. Peenee returned. He tormented Princess by taking everything she picked up from her small and curious hands, causing her to release a blood curdling scream, followed by a drop to the floor and a continuing cry. When I put a stop to that, he moved to Smilee, snatching away what was left of the snack on her tray and popping it into his own hungry mouth. She too broke out into hysterics and Peenee looked quite pleased with himself. He then made his way to the television and turned on the most annoying show ever. After I had listened to all I could take, I clicked the power switch and asked him to redeem himself and play with his sister nicely. Princess LOVES to play with the normally sweet and loving Peenee. He obliged and offered to give her airplane rides (He lays down on his back and lifts her up by her belly with his feet). Things were going great, and I continue to make dinner, until his airplane made an emergency landing, slamming the head of Princess into the coffee table. More screams. Spaghetti noodles boiled over on the stove as I tended to a "pretending to be hurt" Princess. Sporty arrives inside from a game of baseball with the neighborhood boys and I felt a sense of relief. Sporty and Peenee are always together, and him coming indoors would entertain Peenee enough that I could finish dinner. Without many more obstacles.

Sporty: "Hey Peenee! Wanna make a race track downstairs?"

Peenee: "Hey Peenee! Wanna make a race track downstairs?"

Sporty: "Knock it off! I'm serious, do you want to?"

Peenee: "Knock it off! I'm serious, do you want to?"

Sporty: "Quit!!!"

Peenee: "Quit!!!"

Sporty: "I'm not kidding, stop it!!"

Peenee: "I'm not kidding, stop it!!"

Sporty: "MOM!"

Peenee: MOM!"

AnIowaMom: Peenee, please stop!

Peenee: "Okay, Mom."

Sporty: "So, do you want to make a race track or not?"

Peenee: "So, do you want to make a race track or not?"

My head was going to explode. I was in my own personal hell. It was horror alright ... MINE! ALL MY HORROR! What was I thinking taking away the outdoors? I needed them outside to accomplish dinner. All I had now was 2 crying little girls, 1 angry son, a burnt dinner, a headache and another son who had learned nothing from my punishment.

That night, as Peenee was getting tucked in for bed, AnIowaDad leans in towards him and whispers, "If you stay on green light all day tomorrow at school ... I will make you the biggest chocolate sundae EVER! For dinner!"

Peenee's eyes lit up as he looked over at me, "What's for dinner tomorrow night?" I explained it would be Pork Chops, Cheesey Potatoes and Green Beans. Not a favorite of his, he squealed with excitement.

The following day as Peenee was leaving for the bus, a quick reminder was given about staying on "green light".

Wouldn't you know it? A promise of an ice cream sundae would do the trick ... a note from his teacher came home in his backpack that Peenee had a "FABULOUS" day!

Motivated by food! That's my Peenee! If only I'd realized the day before how easy it could be!

UGH...we all have days like that. Don't you hate it when punishments actually end up punishing YOU???

May the rest of your year stay on "green".

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As an American citizen I thank you, Eric M. Steffeney, for your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your family for all they have given for the cause of freedom. I will remember you, and I will teach my children to remember you. We are forever in your debt.