'Turn around and eat your dinner, or there will be no ice cream.'
What a boring, yet effective mantra that one is.
Yes, I know you're not meant to enter into dinner negotiations, or make a big deal about meal times with your little munchkins. And sticking to the philosophy that if they're hungry they will eat does make sense. But you don't want them to starve do you?
Then again, you don't want them to have broccoli issues either. Or - even worse - ice cream issues (as in only wanting to eat it).
Mia, who is now two-and-a-half going on 13, has been great with food so far. She eats all the good hearty basics, from sausages and lamb chops to broccoli and carrots.
She even fancies some deluxe toddler items like olives (minus the pips), that yummy pine nut pesto that we crack open when people come over, and - surprisingly, because I can't stand them - pickled onions. Although, sometimes she has to spit them out when they're too sour - which is quite a sight to see because her cute wee face starts screwing up more and more until she can't take it any more and she regurgitates it.
She also desperately wants to devour the sprouts that I put on our sandwiches for lunch. You know the sort, those small, dry, broad bean-like things with a small shoot coming off them. She loves the look of them, the feel of them, and at the start at least, the taste of them, but she just can't get them down. They end up coming back out after five or so minutes in various sized chunks.
The thing is, recently she's started to play up with her food.
She's become a little more fussy, but the main problem is she's started doing the thing all kids love to do - play with their food rather than eat it. You know, like squashing peas on the table, eating the tomato sauce with a spoon, and the occasional bout of spitting things on the floor.
And yes, yes, I know kids only wanna have fun. But I clean up the bloody mess.
It's incredible though, that they know just how far to push it. Not so far that they miss out on ice cream, but still enough to have a little bit of mashed potato fun.
Or is that just me being a push over? It probably is because in our household the ice cream almost always makes its joyful and delighted way on to the dinner table - and doesn't she just love it.