Written by Baker on November 29, 2012
Even though I was late, I drove very slowly.
Kids were walking out the doors of the church and running to their cars. Their parents yelling for them to pay attention and watch for cars.
I pulled into one of the only spots left in the back of the lot behind the preschool entrance and jumped out of the car.
I walked briskly to the door, and took the steps two at a time up the stairs to the second floor.
Why am I out of breath?
I gathered myself around the corner and down the hallway to the clearly marked 4 and 5 year-old classrooms.
Milligan was finishing up playing in the room, the last one left to be pickup.
“Hey honey, I’m here – time to go!”
She whipped around a smiled.
“Hey… YOOOOU aren’t mommy.” She said as her smile turned a little sly, “What are you doing here?”
“Mommies busy, so I came to get you today… isn’t that cool?”
“Yeah… …. …. hey daddy?”
“Can we get a Cake Pop on the way home?”
A cake pop?
That’s a weird thought, I think she’s only had like two in her entire life.
“I was thinking you could get some coffee… some hot coffee, not cold coffee… and I could get a Cake Pop from the coffee shop.”
And then I realized what was happening.
I had likely picked up Milligan once or twice before that (I new it had only been a few times) – and each time I probably stopped by Starbucks drive-thru on the way home.
I hadn’t thought about it deeply at all. I just knew I needed some more caffeine and there was a Starbucks between the school and home.
Daddy and Milli were in the car together, so I likely got her a treat our of guilt. I couldn’t stop and justify Daddy getting something, without having to explain myself – so the easiest way out is a tasty, over-priced birthday cake pop.
What I had done was simple conditioning to her.
In her mind, when Daddy and Milli have time together – well, that means lattes and cake pops. Not going to the park, not building a fort out of pillows, not playing in the backyard, not even watching t.v. or movies.
Daddy and Milli time meant drive-thrus and sugar.
In the moment, on the spot, with no other visual cues, that was the very first connection she made when Daddy picked her up.