Monday, February 27, 2012

Pickles: The Best Reward

We are always trying to find ways to motivate our son to do well in school. And lately it has been a challenge. He has either been uninterested in any possible reward, or perhaps just unable to control his behavior in school.

But this past week, we found something that he was motivated by: pickles.

Kai’s favorite restaurant right now is Fuddruckers. Fuddruckers is a fast-casual, hamburger restaurant. It is more expensive than McDonald’s, with grilled-to-order burgers and fresh-baked buns. But what sets it apart in my son’s eyes is the fresh produce bar.

The restaurant offers a wide selection of choose-your-own fixins to top your burger. These include fresh tomatoes, onions, and lettuce, as well as more unusual toppings such as cheese sauce, honey or spicy mustard, and even pico de gallo.

But Kai doesn’t care about any of that. He just loves the pickles.

At McDonald’s, he will pick off the two pickles on the McDouble burger and eat them first before he touches the beef or the fries.

And at Fuddruckers, he can have as many pickles as he wants (or at least as many as Mom and Dad let him have). And that makes it his favorite place to go right now.

A few weeks ago, we had told him that if he had a safe week at school, we would go to Fuddruckers. Alas, he has hardly been able to stay safe for one day, let alone for a whole week, so we have not gone to Fuddruckers in a while. My wife and I even stopped telling him about the possibility of going, as we didn’t think he could accomplish the goal.

But on Friday afternoon, he came home from school, announced that he had stayed safe all week, and wondered if we could go to Fuddruckers. It was a holiday-shortened week, and his overall performance at school was just so-so, but he did stay safe. And we wanted to reward that. So, we went to Fuddruckers that evening.

Because the burgers are made to order, there is always a wait for the food. It is not as long as the wait at sit-down restaurants, but it is longer than at McDonald’s. And that wait is still difficult for Kai.

To fill the time, we try to get him to use the iPad, but he never wants to. Instead, we walk around the restaurant and see the numerous sports memorabilia. We get our drinks. And hope that our buzzer goes off quickly.

When our order is finally called, Kai is a happy kid. He can’t wait to go up to get the food with me. And then we head over to the produce bar to load up on the pickles.

It was a nice way to kick off the weekend.

The key to happiness is pickles! Now you know. :)

* * * * *

Our snow from Friday morning did not last long. Warm temperatures yesterday melted much of what had fallen. But it was around long enough on Saturday to go sledding and have a snowball fight.

With the way our winter has gone, it might be the last snow of the season. So, we really enjoyed it.


  1. Love the snow pic. And wow, is that restaurant really called that??!! definitely one not to have too much drink in ;) glad to hear you've found a reward for now, long may it last!

    1. Steph, Ha! The restaurant is really called that! Yes, hopefully he will remain motivated enough to go again that he will stay safe.

  2. The simple pleasures in life are usually the best! :)

    We've just had more snow here...with another couple of days to go. Nothing too heavy...but it is nice.

    1. Sounds like you are enjoying the snow. Let's see if you feel the same way in a few more days... or perhaps in a few weeks. ;)

  3. Oh, I wish we had your snow! We didn't get but a few floating flakes.

    Love the pickle story! And good job for Kai staying in the safe zone all week. That is wonderful!

    1. It didn't last long, but it was nice while it was here. Which is a change from most winters when I'm sick of the snow by this time.

      Thanks, Betsy.

  4. Yuji, you HAVE to check out
    They come to our farmers market and they ship in the US. They have the BEST freaking kosher dills I've ever had.

    I love pickles. My mom said the first time that she let me have a bit of a pickle my eyes bugged out and I grabbed the whole thing. She said "ok, I guess she likes pickles!"

    1. Molly, I love this! We will have to try it! I like their description of their Kosher dill pickles... "our Kosher Dills have that classic taste that you pickle mavens are dying to nosh on!" I think Kai is on his way to becoming a pickle maven! Thanks!


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