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Lessons from Losing Dessert

We aren't a dessert-every-night kind of family. In fact, we're more of a dessert-once-a-week-if-you're-lucky type. So it's a big deal when our kids get a cookie or a scoop of ice cream or a cupcake or what have you. A few nights back, they had been primed for chocolate cake. But William was having trouble controlling his hands at the table. He "dropped" his fork. And then he did it again. And Peter told him, "If you drop your fork one more time, you lose your dessert." Soon enough, fork on the floor. Dessert lost.

He burst into tears. I use the expression intentionally. For William, tears come in force, springing forth from his eyes as if he has suddenly become a cartoon character. In this case, not only were the tears spouting across the room but he also stood up in his seat and ran in place as a means of protest. "But I want it!"

It would have been so easy to give in. I was tempted. I started giving myself reasons why he could have cake–he's so young... they never get dessert... if we just gave him one more chance.

But Peter held his ground. "I'm sorry, Buddy. You lost your dessert."

Another round of waterworks.

William finally calmed down and asked to be excused, and then Penny ate her cake with gusto.

We all walked upstairs to get ready for bed. Right before he brushed his teeth, William looked at me with an expression that signaled an epiphany. "Mom," he said, "I will eat dessert in the morning."

But by the morning, he had forgotten about dessert. I can only hope that he will remember that his dad loved him enough to say no.

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