Elise saw a pizzeria in Rotterdam and wanted to eat dinner there. Of course, since we’re close to Italy, I assumed they would have at least close-to-authentic Neapolitan pizza, so I obliged, even though I had just come from my first day of work here, and the thought of going to a restaurant with Landon was less than appealing.
Upon entering, there was a gelato freezer, perfectly positioned at eye level for any 2-5 year old. Landon, being a child, immediately said: “Mommy, I want ice cream right NOW! RIGHT NOW!” and proceeded to throw a mini-tantrum, since the answer was, of course, ‘No’.
|The boy focused on his gelato|
At this point, foreseeing a struggle for the next hour, I offered Landon a deal: if he could make it through dinner without running away or screaming or throwing food or ‘accidentally’ falling off his chair (essentially, behaving like a rational human), and, of course, if he ate all the pizza we offered him, then he could have an ice cream of his choosing at the end of the meal. Elise looked at me like I must still be too jetlagged to know what I was asking for, but when Landon perked up, she agreed to go along with it. I’ll be honest – I was acting totally without faith; I figured that I would get at least a piece or two of pizza in before he became unruly, and then at least I would have an excuse not to buy gelato.
At this point, I’ll digress briefly. I assumed that a pizzeria named Angelo Betti in the Netherlands has a high probability of someone inside who speaks Italian. This is convenient for me, since my Dutch skills are exhausted after saying goedemorgen. So when the waiter asked me for the order in Dutch, and I just mumbled a little bit quizzically, he tried Italian, to which I then easily placed our order. This made me happy, because I could prove that I wasn’t just another ethnocentric American, and it made Elise happy, because she got to hear me speak Italian. I’m sure the waiter really didn’t care what language I ordered in, as long as I paid him in Euro at the end of the meal.
So back to the story…
|Landon with his cherry gelato reward|
Landon quite enjoyed his pizza, and ate more than we were expecting him to. There were one or two mishaps – his sipper cup ‘accidentally’ fell on the floor once or twice, and he slipped through the hole between the chair seat and back once – but all in all, Elise and I got to enjoy a relatively tranquil dinner.
So as to not make us think he had forgotten about the deal, as soon as he finished his last bite of pizza, he got off of his chair and, without a word, walked over to the gelato freezer. I followed him, just to make sure he didn’t do anything rash, and asked him which flavor he wanted. To my surprise, he picked cherry (which is a little bitter), and actually liked it; even when we offered him some of ours, he like his the best.
Moral of the story: Elise and I both learned an important lesson about how motivated our son is by dessert, especially when it comes to pushing the limits of what we think his 2-year-old psyche can handle.