if you give a kid a cookie

Before I had children, I loved the Laura Numeroff books.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If You Give   a Pig a Pancake

Now they just hit too close to home to be funny.

My children are the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig.

There is no end to their string of requests.

A big ball of string.

A big ball of never-ending string.

Unlike the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig, there doesn’t seem to be a coherent reason for the next necessity.

If you give a pig a pancake she’ll want some syrup to go with it.


If you take a boy to the pool to play he will ask for a box on the way home.

Non sequitur.

If you give a mouse a cookie he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.


If you give a boy a cookie he’s going to ask for 3 more cookies, a trip to the park and a piece of scotch tape.

Very long and winding non sequitur.

That is the root of the problem.   It appears that the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig are more reasonable than my children.

I am raising kids who are less reasonable than fictional barnyard animals.

Lately I have tried preempting the post-offering request:

When we go to the pool, mommy will decide what else we do and where we go and who we see and you will thank your dear mother for the trip to the pool and thank God for such a sweet mother.

When I give you this cookie, that is it.   I would be glad to offer a glass of milk to drink with it, but nothing else.   Not even scotch tape.

The basic problem with the preemptive post-offering request is that I am not as creative as my children and can’t even come close to covering all the crazy demands that they find so important.

So I just say NO.

And they just say WHY.

And I find myself in some crazy explanation why I don’t carry a box of 1000 paperclips in my purse that they need, that we can’t drive to China and that Venus Flytraps don’t usually eat people and aren’t sold at Target so we won’t be buying one today.

And this is where my boys could learn a lesson from the Moose, the Mouse and the Pig:   Reasonable requests are hard to turn down.

Of course you can have syrup with your pancake.

Of course you can have milk with your cookie.

I would need some syrup and milk too.

How can you have pancakes without syrup?

How can you have cookies without milk?

And while we are on the subject of things we can learn from fictional barnyard characters, I would like to point out that the mouse swept the entire house then washed the floors…


  1. this post is fantastic and soooo true.

    I love reading those books to my 9 month old. I’ll have to make sure to emphasize the sweeping parts 🙂

  2. my three boys talk like that too. it’s utterly EXHAUSTING, right?

  3. Thanks for making me laugh! This sounds just like some of the conversations we have over here.

  4. In the summer, it gets worse. 🙂 So true!

  5. At a certain point, the little boy started behaving like that…

    …and I stopped reading the books to him.

    Bad influence. I had him watch cable tv instead.

  6. So so so true! I took them to Target with the *specific intent* of buying some new beach toys. They wanted to know if they got a toy. Wha??

  7. We should meet at the Ben & Jerry’s over near Barnes and Noble. I have decided to get all into ice cream this summer. Until your kids get old enough to own and operate a sno cone stand.
    And hey I got a blog!!

  8. Oh so very true!! Excellent post!!

    And hooray for clean floors, I’m sure they’re very grateful 😉

  9. OH! We absolutely LOVE those books in our house here too!!! 🙂

    They’re WONDERFUL!

  10. I had a “If you give a ____ a ___” post swirlling around in my head last weekend….and now this is the third I’ve read since then! Great minds must think alike! ; )

  11. I am so behind on blogs and found myself deleting them without reading them, from my reader. So glad I read this, I love it… and it’s so true!

  12. Oh goodness this made me spit out sweet tea. This line was the one that ruined my couch – “I am raising kids who are less reasonable than fictional barnyard animals.”

    Thanks for that:)

  13. What a sweet post and photo. The whole time I was reading it I was picturing them with moose antlers, mouse whiskers, and a little curly tail. I’ll keep my fingers crossed your mouse gets busy on those floors…

  14. I’m with Shannon, I am raising kids who are less reasonable than fictional barnyard animals.  –> Too funny.

    After too many unreasonable requests and whys, I revert to a family favourite and holler, “I’ll slap you to sleep and then I’ll slap you for sleepin’!”

    Sometimes it works.

  15. I only knew about If you give a mouse a cookie because we got it as a gift. Now, I’ll have to go check out the others too. My son love the mouse book and asks for it at least once a week.

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