appreciation deficiency (or, how not to get more ice cream)

I think many children suffer from Appreciation Deficiency. There are no known supplements.

Apparently, they eventually grow out of it.

Until this happens, I deal with the deficiency symptoms with varying degrees of maturity and patience…


I give my child an ice cream cone. No reason, just a suprise little treat for him. He takes it and happily starts eating.


He finishes it quickly.  

Ten seconds later…


Instead of "Thank you for that ice cream, Mama!" he asks for more.

I tell him no. Maybe later.  

The whining starts.


I explain the obvious. 


The whining continues.

I begin to explain that by showing a little appreciation he'll be more likely to get ice cream sooner. That whining for more is not a good strategy.

But he cuts me off.

Ugh. My answer ten seconds ago would have been "maybe after dinner" or "tomorrow" but now I'm irritated.

So I say "I don't know" with an aggravated and ominous tone.

He might have to wait a while.

I'm not feeling generous in the ice cream department.



I know my husband will give the same answer. We're a team that way. The evil ice cream withholding team.  

Oh, but he isn't done…


Simultaneously, I stifle my laughter and the urge to give him the finger.

I also devise a plot to make damn sure he isn't going to get one more taste of that pint in the freezer.

I'm going to eat it all after he goes to bed.

Who's the smart one now?



Don't feel bad for the little guy, he'll get ice cream again, I'm not actually cruel.

I did eat that pint though. 


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128 Responses to appreciation deficiency (or, how not to get more ice cream)

  1. Misty says:

    I love how you have to write that little subscript so that you don’t get hate mail from readers who say that you’re mean to your son…lol!! Funny post, as usual!

  2. Amber Dusick says:

    I know. I’m such a wimp. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Angela says:

    LOL this is spot on accurate! Especially with sweets it is all just more more more and no thank yous. Thanks for making me laugh out loud! <-- showing appreciation.

  4. Anastasia says:

    Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard. I can totally relate to this! I love it!!

  5. RC says:

    LOVE IT! And I hope they really do outgrow it.

  6. kim says:

    Love it! Wish I could tell you it gets better, but mine is 15 now and ummmm….. It doesn’t…

    I’ve gotten into the habit now, after about the 3rd time she asks when, I tell her “If you mention it one more time, you won’t get it/we won’t go AT ALL” Usually that shuts her up. Then she comes up to me and says “Um, you know that thing I’m not supposed to mention? What?! I didn’t say the words!!” lol

  7. Z says:

    I taught my daughter to sign “thank you” whenever she was given something before she could speak. It worked, as long as I never forget to thank HER, even when she gives me a piece of lint off the carpet. She gets really angry if I forget to thank her.

  8. leshelle says:

    How did you not hurt this child. I think I would lose it if my son implied that dad was smarter.

  9. Amber says:

    wow. It is so nice to know that I am not alone in so many of the situations you present to us! Thanks for helping me realize that I am NOT a crappy parent! Just the same as everyone else!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. maggiemoo says:

    Ha! It’s such an easy lesson, but yet the 7 year old and 9 year old in my house have not yet learned it…Silly kids!

  11. Amber Dusick says:

    I think most don’t grow out of it until adulthood. Or never? I know a few adults…

  12. Ginny says:

    Been there, sister! Oh, I loved this! That’s my four-year-old to a tee. Substitute “cookie” for “ice cream” and it’s basically the same kid.

  13. mommymichael says:

    When they ask for more, I just automatically say “nope, we’re all done now. but you can have more tomorrow.”

    That usually ends it before it stops.

  14. Annette says:

    This is my life. Thank you for not making me feel alone!!

  15. Melanie says:

    I almost did a spit take when I read this line: “Simultaneously, I stifle my laughter and the urge to give him the finger.” that was awesome. Great post.

  16. Desiree says:

    hrmmm im going to try this next time im dumb enough to offer them something

  17. JCCyC says:

    I didn’t. I give myself everything. (As long as I have the moolah.)

    I guess not having the moolah and wondering if I can land some freelance job before the next payment is my solipsist equivalent of the “But when???” whine.

  18. Becky F says:

    This is exactly the kind of day I am having! A little laugh is just what the dr ordered!

  19. Heather says:

    Two things cracked me up… While reading this my eldest asked me for another cookie instead of thanking me for baking cookies and letting her have one.
    Secondly, I sometime secretly give my daughter the finger, when I am in another room and she totally can’t see me. Yep, sometimes a four year old can tick me off that much.

  20. 0hMaria says:

    Kids do outgrow it, at least some of them do. I always tried to show appreciation as a kid (to the best I could). When I moved out, my appreciation grew substantially. Now that I’m the mama and my parents have graduated to grandparents, I have immeasurable appreciation for what they’ve done/do/ will continue to do. I also regularly apologize to them for how I was as a teenager.

    Giving them a grandchild has made up for it, according to them.

  21. Mari B. says:

    My favorite is when I let the girls make popcicles in our (cool, but overpriced)instant popcicle maker and then 5 minutes later they hear the ice cream truck and start screaming, “ICE CREEEEEA~~~M”. And of course, they totally melt down when I am so MEAN as to say no.

  22. says:

    Ahhhh. I love when I have to say no to teach them lessons and then they STILL don’t get it, even after my awesome mommy explanations. Funny thing is-after my third child and 9 years of motherhood-I still haven’t figured out the magic phrase to make them stop asking. Love. My. Job.

  23. Katie says:

    My 4 year old step-daughter is getting a birthday trip to DISNEY WORLD with her grandparents, yet when i showed her her little sister’s 1st birthday outfit (complete with tutu), she cried “its NOT FAAAAIR!”
    This is why 4 year olds do not get trips to Disneyworld for their birthdays.

  24. Crystal says:

    Hee hee hee! I love it.

  25. Julie says:

    This one has made me laugh the hardest! I’m still laughing! Wow, talk about a surprise ending on that one. Didn’t expect the “dad’s smarter” comment.

  26. Tasha says:

    My baby is only 15mo, and I am soooo not looking forward to moments like this one. My older kids are 9yo, 11yo, 13.5you and 17yo. I can testify they do NOT grow out of it. However, the debate gets condensed into something like:
    “Mommmmm, can I have a cookie?”
    “Can I have *two* cookies?”
    “Can I have *three* cookies?”
    “Why not?”
    “How would you like *no* cookies?”
    “Ok, 2 cookies is good, thanks Mom!!”

  27. Amber Dusick says:

    Wait, did you say “instant popsicle maker”? I don’t even know what that is but I probably want one.

  28. OMG – absolutely awesome!

    My 5yo has recently taken to hiding in the pantry (a tiny closet in our hall that can barely hold our food) and eating potato chips when I’m busy with my 6mo. Wait until I put a lock on that sucker!!!

  29. Amber Dusick says:

    It is good to know that works eventually!

  30. Nikita says:

    My mother had a very effective method… the more I asked for something the less likely I was to get it and the second I used a whining voice I was guaranteed to get nothing but trouble.

  31. Lisa says:

    I love his little stick arms holding his tummy!

  32. Katie says:

    Thanks for this post today – it’s the first thing that’s made me laugh in an otherwise very frustrating day. Love your blog!

  33. E.B. says:

    This is so offensive. I’m not sure why yet, but when I think if the reason, I’ll be sure to come back and tell you. Probably in ALL CAPS WIT BAD GRAMARR 2.

    My daughter is big with the drama. If I tell her no to ice cream, she says “ZOMG! I can’t ever have ice cream EVER AGAIN! I’m going to STARVE LIKE THOSE KIDS ON THE TEEVEE THAT HAZ NO ICECREAM!”

    Yes. Because no ice cream right now = no food ever again. Ever. I’m such an abusive parent.
    She should be grateful I remember to feed her at all.

  34. Marta says:

    Thank god I’m not the only one! My son seems shockingly unappreciative when I do these spontaneous nice things as well. My husband explains to me that I do them so often he now expects them, oops.

  35. Elizabeth says:

    Boy, did I need that laugh! Not two days ago my 5 year old was playing in her kiddie pool, I filled it up and then got a chorus of ‘it’s not full enough’ from her and her friend.

    It seemed to escape both of them that this was the second time I had filled the pool that day…

  36. lily says:

    Lol I’ve actually thought about doing just that because my daughter hides in the pantry as well lol

  37. lily says:

    My Daughter is asking for ice cream as we speak… As if im going to reward her for writing on my walls with black ink pen and taking her brother as a live canvas… Psh!

  38. Lissa says:

    If you replaced “Watching Dora the Explorer” with ice cream, I would swear you had a camera in our house. Sigh…

  39. crystal says:

    ahahahahaha.this is hilarious!

  40. Laura says:

    Lol! Oh my gosh, kids just know how to pick it, don’t they?!

    My husband has “excitement deficiency”- you announce something incredibly exciting or amazing, and if you’re lucky enough to get a response it’s along the lines of “Oh yeah.” Pffft.

  41. Dina says:

    Expert parenting there with finishing off the ice cream.

  42. Rhett Hoff says:

    Soooo true! Love the ending!

  43. Debbie says:

    Love this! My 6 year old son does the same thing. I call him my drama boy.

  44. foxes_garden says:

    Only sometimes? Good for you…

  45. Sara says:

    Is it just as funny when it’s the(my) husband who has the deficit and not the kids?

  46. foxes_garden says:

    This happens all the time in our house. With popsicles, cookies, TV, and anything else she takes a fancy to. I berate myself mentally for spoiling her so badly that she could develop this sense of entitlement. I wonder about mothers who don’t have enough to feed their children, and whether their kids whine? I wish I could believe that she will naturally outgrow this, but I suspect I will need to have her work in a homeless shelter or something to get her to that point…

  47. Erica says:

    LOL LOL gotta work the system. Just how many cookies CAN I have LOL Can’t blame kids for trying ๐Ÿ˜‰

  48. Becky F says:

    That is hilarious!

  49. TheUrbanMum says:

    8 year old
    Can I have one (substitute whatever here)

    Okay, just 1. No whinging for more.

    8 year old
    Great thanks. (lovely manners I think)

    5 mins later

    8 year old
    I’ll just get another …

    No, we had an arrangement.

    8 year old
    I don’t care, I want one.


    8 year old
    You are horrible, you never give me anything.

    under my breath (just my mind, my firm body, my blood sweat & tears)

    Then I go and eat whatever is left – and gain the pounds!!!!

    Next time

    8 year old
    I want a ….

    Help yourself – eat the whole packet if you like.

    8 year old
    Looks at me like I have gone mad – no…I only want one.


  50. Amber Dusick says:

    I wonder that same thing. What a fortunate “problem” we have on our hands.

  51. Amanda Reed says:

    My daughter had just finished eating something and when I told her she couldn’t have any more, she screamed and thru an epic fit, “YOU NEVER GIVE ME ANYTHING!!!”. Really?? I didn’t just buy you Subway for dinner? Oy.

  52. vanessa says:

    You’re nicer than me. I would have eaten that pint with him right there.

  53. Jen says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for writing this blog. I think I may drive my entire friends list to drink if I share any more of it (I read the archives over the past week when I probably should have been doing yoga or pilates or folding laundry after everyone was in bed.) I have 2 year old twin girls and a 4.5 year old boy. Today felt long and I needed that laugh ๐Ÿ˜‰ Especially the Dad is smarter than you, thing. We had that discussion just tonight before he went to bed. I don’t think anything I said would sway him that I am just as smart…in my own way ๐Ÿ˜‰

  54. Sherry says:

    That is exactly how I’ve raised my kids, Nikita. If they ask for something in a store, they are guaranteed not to get it (I hate whiney greedy kids in stores). I do occasionally buy them a candy bar at the check out. They are both very polite kids, but every once in a blue moon they have to be reminded that if they “don’t say thank you for that candy bar, like, right now, it’s going to be the last one you see for a loooonnng time”. Probably some people think we’re mean, but really, we have to correct them very rarely. The rest of the time the kids are very polite. We are always getting compliments on their behavior (even after they’ve been over at a play date at a friend’s house, and we weren’t even there), so we must be doing something right.

  55. HeatherB says:

    This is so funny, and so true. My favourite line: “Simultaneously, I stifle my laughter and the urge to give him the finger.”

  56. Kerri says:

    My reply would have been “Yes, Daddy is smarter. He didn’t give you the first ice cream. Mommy has learned a lesson and next time I won’t give you any ice cream to begin with.”

  57. HeatherP says:

    I think my little girl would use “because daddy’s nicer” instead of smarter. he’s a push-over when it comes to his kids (just ask my 20yo step-daughter, lol).

  58. GrannyD says:

    Yes, OhMaria. The appreciation light bulb went off in my son’s head shortly after his son was born. Sweet revenge.

  59. Amber Dusick says:

    Yes, it went off in mine too, towards my mom. I think I called her and apologized even. “Sorry for those 18 years mom!”

  60. Hanging Chad Mamma says:

    Sadly in our home the tasty treat in this story could also be replaced with a:
    Movie/video game
    Fun outing
    or even tickle/wrestling/piggyback playtime w/parental unit
    and the script would be virtually the same – *sigh*

  61. Seriously, admit it– you have cameras in my home! You must! How else do you know EVERYTHING that goes on here?! LMAO! These are priceless!

  62. Ashley says:

    “Mommy can I have another treat”
    “Not right now, Sweetie”
    “But my tummy hurts”
    “Well a treat isn’t going to make it feel better”
    “Daddy, Mommy’s mad at me”


  63. sarah says:

    I would be like who’s the smart one now? And eat it in front of him all while going “mmmmmm yummmm this is the best ice cream ever!”

  64. Heather says:

    yep… no I want one too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  65. Amber Dusick says:

    LOL that is classic! So funny.

  66. Jennifer says:

    Love this! I want some ice cream now ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Amber Dusick says:

    I stopped doing laundry once as a potential cure. It didn’t work.

  68. Amber Dusick says:

    Now THAT is a good one!

  69. Jaspenelle says:

    Same here, my son will put his little (but mighty) fists on his hips and glare at me when I forgot (which is actually a touch similar to the sign for NOW.)

  70. Cassandra says:

    I just choked on my dinner from laughing so hard! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!! I have a 7 year old son, a 5 year old son, a 3 year old son, and a 5 1/2 month old son. The three oldest children are so ungrateful at times and I have done the EXACT same thing (with eating the ice cream). I’m worried that my baby will watch his brothers and learn to do this by the age of 1. I sure hope not! Thanks for the awesome blog!

  71. Robyn says:

    OMG I laughed so much I wet myself! Thanks for the extra washing ;-P

  72. Carrisa says:

    LMAO!! I loved the happy ending!! ;0)

  73. Thanks for the laugh!! I LOVE the *resisting the urge to give the finger*! Priceless!!

  74. Becky says:

    I’d have waited until she turned around and then given mine the finger, along with a dramatic rolling of the eyes while she went off to find “smarter” daddy. Mine always says “thank you” before she pans me.

  75. Erica says:

    That was hilarious! I have totally had that conversation ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. Zoe says:

    Can’t you just teach them to pretend to be appreciative?
    -mother of 6 month old twins

  77. Lisa says:

    I had to keep my ice cream in my neighbor’s freezer for months because my daughter kept sneaking it and eating it. I thought whining was bad!–but it turned out that capability is even worse! Totally ruined my husband’s and my usual late-night post-bedtime ice cream ritual, too.

    See, I don’t think it’s mean to eat all the ice cream after your kid is asleep! We do that normally–no motivation required. She doesn’t need ice cream. She’s not the one who listens to whining all day long. ๐Ÿ™‚

  78. For a real lesson, I’d eat it in front of him, not after he goes to sleep. ALL of it. {Bwahahaha} That’ll show him how “stupid” I am. ;P

    I’m just saying…

  79. Heather says:

    They don’t outgrow it. I’m so sorry…

  80. Heather says:

    I love that you had the urge to give him the finger! Haha!

  81. BJ says:

    I have just discovered your blog this week. As a mom of six, I have to say, your humour about the realities of motherhood and children is so wonderfully engaging and spot-on! I need the laughs you provide to keep my perspective with my own gaggle. Thanks!

  82. Deb says:

    Yup that line made me laugh loud enough for my dear husband to look up from his book and give me a “what’s so funny” look.

  83. Julie says:

    Oh that doesn’t work? I’ve considered it, but I had a feeling all it would lead to is a bunch of dirty laundry.

    Boy do I love your delivery.

    My daughter is 7 and she’s starting to outgrow that. Though it’s kind of there before, empathy starts to really kick in at five, but has a long way to go before it’s fine tuned. And I think appreciation comes with empathy. Of course, when they are first born, they seem so thankful even for warm sweaty milk on a hot day. Maybe the answer is never introducing ice cream?

  84. LOL! Your sons are basically slightly smaller, male versions of my 2 daughters. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve been down this road many many times. And yeah, I’ve eaten many pints after bedtime! ๐Ÿ™‚

  85. Julie says:


  86. Rachael says:

    Are you sure you were no at my house? Because I think this plays out just about every day.

  87. That’s *exactly* what I would have done! I’m glad I’m not the only one here…

  88. Kelli says:

    This is so typical. My son would get a toy car. His little face lights up! He beems a big smile! My heart melts! He opens his mouth and out pops “I want another!!!”

    Gee, thanks kid.

  89. AWESOME!!!!!! That is ME, too. I have done various stuff similar to that. LOL I always thought I was the only one.

  90. Love this line, as well!!!
    PERFECT to how I feel sometimes…

  91. mummyoftwomunchkins says:

    me too! I’m a mean mummy hahaha

  92. Karrie says:

    LMAO! A friend saw your site and said it made her think of me…on account of the same type of crappy pics on my blog! Now I am thoroughly enjoying reading your stuff!

  93. mummyoftwomunchkins says:

    hilarious. and spot on!

  94. Debby says:

    This happens with us too – works great.

  95. Liz says:

    You are so hilarious!

    I love you. lol

  96. says:

    That’s why my mother called it the Music Truck. When we were old enough to know what it actually was we never asked for any. I’m not scarred for life. And since it wasn’t a magical part of my childhood so I don’t feel obligated to let my children run after the ice cream truck. However, getting the hubby to agree is a different story…

  97. Rebekah says:

    I think I have appreciation deficiency because I always want a second or even third serving of something sweet. And even worse, I don’t stop myself and hide in the pantry or wait until she’s busy to sneak my other servings.

  98. I find quitting isn’t effective because I run out of underwear. Passive agressive things like stacking his dirty laundry on his pillow every day until he learns to put it into the hamper however did reach him….eventually. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  99. Jessi says:

    this is so accurate it’s scary. well done.

  100. Kid Id says:

    Found you via Momalog. Man, that is spot on! Very funny! With my older child, I can at least now reason with him and inform him that ongoing whining will cause me to lose interest in giving him ice cream in the future. The toddler doesn’t get it yet, so I’m always trying to decide whether I really want to be nice and punish myself.

  101. Becky says:

    Amber, you keep me in stitches! I love your sense of humor & your posts keep a smile on my face. Raising kids is tough, you put it into words, the words we all are thinking! Thanks for keeping us laughing. We love you!

  102. Cracking up over the stifling laughter/giving him the finger part. I had this same scenario with homemade popsicles that looked like sail boats today. No appreciation. I kinda don’t want to go to any more frozen sailboat trouble!

  103. shannon says:

    Omg! First of all, I am pretty sure you live with my middle child! And second I think I love you. So nice to find a place that tells it like it is.

  104. Kat says:

    To the people who think you’re mean… I’d just like to point out that your kid just called you stupid. Withholding ice cream is on the nice end of the scale of possible replies! If I were as mean to my kid as he is to me, he’d be in therapy forever. Good thing moms are tough.

  105. Jessica says:

    Why are you so funny? This blog made my day. I think I can officially say I am addicted to crappy pictures!

  106. This would have been so much better without the disclaimer at the very end! I’m guessing you’ve received hate mail before and that makes me so sad!

  107. Amanda says:

    Yeah. Good luck with that. Everyone tries. What Amber writes is what actually happens. Just wait.

  108. Vanessa says:

    I went downstairs this morning wearing a shirt I’d unearthed from the back of a dresser drawer. My 12-year-old saw me and said “Where did you get that?!” as if I’d sneaked out and gone clothes shopping without her. I said “It’s old, I just haven’t worn it in a while,” and she said “Can I have it?” Talk about entitlement – she literally wanted the shirt off my back! (For the record, I said no.)

  109. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Gosh I love this blog xD

  110. Tanya says:

    This is awesome!! This is why we wanted to wait to give our son sugar, esp. ice cream. We gave him his first push up at the community pool this summer (he was about 26 months old) and when he ate it all he wanted another. When we said no, he actually cried. For a while. I felt bad but I was proud I didn’t give in ๐Ÿ™‚

  111. Rebecca Raguso says:

    Ahhh, thank you. We go through this with Goldfish, CheezIts, cookies, and anything else that catches my 2 year-olds fancy.

  112. Kelly says:


    That is all I have to say. ๐Ÿ˜€

  113. Kali says:

    No icecream for you!

  114. Dana says:

    Hee, Hee, Hee! Will we ever learn?!

  115. clarawieck says:

    NB: This stage is immediately followed by the stage where they don’t bother to ask, they just sneak into the kitchen and eat the whole pint before you get to it.

    That’s when Mommy graduates to being the only one with a driver’s license and funds to go OUT for ice cream.

  116. Charlise says:

    OMG, I’m crying!! LMAO

  117. Beth says:

    I used to get “I love daddy more than you”. The first couple of times, I cried. Later, I said good go bother him then and leave me alone.

  118. Greta says:

    Surely you don’t ACTUALLY have a hidden camera in my house…although it certainly seems like it.

  119. Michelle says:

    OMG… I subscribed to your blog and I have to say, it’s hilarious reading these. I always get a laugh bc I know exactly what you are talking about. Thank you for your honesty and for making my day! ๐Ÿ˜€

  120. belladune says:

    ahahaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh my life.. my life!!!!!! that’s to damn hilarious. I’d have eaten that ice cream too.

  121. Annie says:

    I’m crying with laughter now–which kind of hurts because I’m at work and have to do it silently!!!!

  122. Shaby says:

    I also don’t put up with whining for things in the store. Before we walk into the store I look my 2.5 year old in the eye and tell her that the snack that’s in my bag is the one she gets and we’re not getting anything that’s not on the list (to which she’s required to answer “yes mommy”). It also helps that we keep strictly kosher, so when she asks for something and I say, “sorry baby, it’s not kosher”, she doesn’t bother asking again.

  123. Tiffany says:

    I’ve been there and done that :):)

  124. Jaime says: