The great dessert standoff— who will win?!!

It all started at dinner last night. Zoey was at improv class so it was just me, my hubby and Holden, only Holden was acting super whiney and complained he had a headache.

ME: I’ll turn the music down, buddy.

HOLDEN: No! No music at all!!

Ummmm, I wanted to tell him to talk nicer, but I didn’t have the energy. So I just turned it off. Which sucks for me because I get like crazy annoyed by chewing so music helps me. A LOT. But I get it, if you have a headache, you don’t want music. So we ate in silence. Well not really because the whole time Holden was super chatty and peppy and he seemed totally fine.

So after a little while (of me wanting to stab my eardrums out from all the loud chewing) I stealthily turned the music on but kept it very low. Yayyyy, he didn’t notice!! At first. But after about five minutes he suddenly realized I had turned it on and FA-reaked out.


ME: Oh, sorry, buddy. You seemed better.

And honestly I think he was totally fine and it was more of a control issue, but I didn’t feel like arguing so I flipped it off again and we all went back to eating. 

And then at the end of the meal, he jumped up and went to the pantry to grab dessert.

ME: Holden, you’re not feeing well. No dessert tonight.

HOLDEN: Just a cookie.

HUBBY: We don’t put cookies in our body when we’re not feeling well.


ME: Nope, you have a headache, remember?

Because that’s the rule in our house. You complain about not feeling well, no dessert for you. 


ME: You didn’t five minutes ago.


HUBBY: Not tonight, Holden.

(insert a crapload of crying and getting mad and at one point he even took two cookies out of the box and threatened to pop them in his mouth and we threatened him with no dessert for a week)

Anyways, I got tired of listening, so I spoke quietly to him as I walked out of the room.

ME: Holden, I’m going into the living room. If you want to do your reading with me, I’ll be on the couch.

HOLDEN: I’m not reading with you unless you start being nice to me!

ME: I am being nice to you.

HOLDEN: Then give me dessert.

ME: Not tonight. I’ll be in there.

And at some point he joined me. Kind of. He sat on the chair farrrr away from me with his books and sulked.


And every once in a while I would look up and say in the most chipper voice I could muster up…

ME: There’s plenty of room over here if you want to come read to me.

HOLDEN: ONLY if you let me have dessert!!

ME: Nope. I’ll be over here if you change your mind.

(insert more sulking)

ME: I’m pretty lonely over here. I could use a hug.

HOLDEN: Not unless you let me have dessert.

ME: Okay, well, I’ll be here.

He was leafing through a Magic Tree House book (here’s a link to them in case you don’t know how AWESOME these books are). They are wayyyy too hard for him to read on his own, so I decided to try once more. We’d been sitting there in silence now for almost twenty minutes.

ME: Hey buddy, do you want to bring that over here and I can read it to you?

HOLDEN: Only if…

And I knew what he was going to say.

HOLDEN: … you come over here first and give ME a hug.

Wait, what?!! He’s giving in?! The standoff is over!!!! I stood up, walked to the chair, and smothered him with the biggest hug ever. It was pretty clear he needed that way more than he needed cookies. And he completely forgot about being mad at me and we cuddled on the couch and read the Magic Tree House book together.


I won!!!!!! I WON!!!!!! Not because he didn’t get dessert. Not because he ended up caving in. But because I stuck to my “no-bullshit parenting” style and I’m pretty sure I know what the prize’ll be. An awesome kid. Hopefully. Maybe. Fingers crossed. I mean there are a million other ways I might screw him up, but at least I did the right thing this time. 

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There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Helen at 12:30 pm

    I’m the same way when it comes to being the disciplinarian in the house. My husband tends to cave in more and give in to my son sometimes, but not me. It’s not easy being the bad cop, but it pays off when it builds character in a kid.

    My son loved the Magic Treehouse books when he was little. He had a whole collection of them. He’s 16 now and loves to read. We sometimes have to tell him to stop reading when it’s late at night and he has to get up early for school.

    By the way, I love your couch!! It looks like it could seat so many people!!

  2. Nikki G at 1:22 pm

    Way to “stick to your guns!” I especially liked how you didn’t continue the power struggle and moved on encouraging him to snuggle with you and read. You’re a great Mom!!! Thanks for sharing. Love reading your blog (and both of your books, too)!!!

  3. Stacy Scanlon at 11:33 pm

    Way to go mama! I’m definitely Team No Cookie! I’m also a school librarian and I love the Magic Tree House books. Thank you for still reading to and with your kids. It is so important!

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