Tuesday, July 27, 2010

S'more Experiements

In college, I majored in psychology and learned all sorts of interesting facts and most notably, I learned how to train a pigeon to turn in a circle when he saw a green triangle.  True that Einstein, as we called him, was quite an intelligent, bird but in the space of one lab session, my lab partner and I were quite behaviorists and were able to exact the desirable (albeit strange for pigeon) behavior from him. 

With this accomplishment under my belt, I believed that I could train my children to do whatever I wanted and the famous behaviorist, Skinner, would have been proud of me.  So, all behavioral skeptics will doubtless be unsurprised to hear that I now exclaim on a regular basis, "I could get a pigeon to turn in a circle but why can't I get you to do this?!"  Apparently, my children don't understand the psychological principles of behavior modification.  That, or they take a lot more incentive than my Einstein did.

Tonight, once again, Ethan and Luke decided that they did not want to eat dinner.  It did not matter to them that they had been begging for food merely a half hour prior to food being prepared.  Logic did not prevail, nor did threats of bedtime or begging or pleading from me.  So, I thought I would try to reward them in a very sly manner to provide them with the incentive to eat dinner. 

I made some s'mores for Brian and me. 

As planned, they immediately noticed and asked if they could have some too.  Of course they could, they just needed to eat their dinner first.  Even though they love s'mores, I have never seen more apathetic eating of dinner.  Ethan finally did more than an hour after I handed him his plate and Luke never came around.  He said that was fine and all he wanted anyway was the graham cracker. 

Never mind the fact that they have been begging me to make these s'mores for several weeks.  I think I have the two exceptions the rules of human behavior living with me in my house. 

But then, they are my children and very much like me and so there is a very good possibility that they are doing behavioral experiments on me just as I am with them and the s'mores...  So, who is the pigeon now?

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