Ice Cream Makes Maddie Smart

Maddie has a limited vocabulary.  And we were worrying that she’s falling behind the other kids her age.  Although she has a spoken vocabulary of around six words, (Dada, Mama, baba (ball), whea-whu (thank you), baebae (bye bye) and Popo (Grandma)), she didn’t always use them in the right context.


Momma:  Maddie, can you say “bye bye?”
Maddie: Po po.
Momma: No, that’s grandma.  Maddie, can you say “bye bye?”
Maddie: Po po. po po po po. po po po po po po.
Momma: Maddie, look at me.  Bye bye.  Bye bye, Maddie.  (Waves hand.)
Maddie: Pu-oh po.  Po po.  Puoh po po po.


You get the idea.  The same thing happened when we asked her to identify body parts.  If asked where her nose was, she’d slap the back of her head.  It may sound cute to you.  But when the other kids are reciting Chaucer and our kid completely ignores us, it gets a little frustrating.


Yesterday after dinner, I served a bowl of vanilla ice cream to my wife and myself.  Maddie saw the treat, and insisted on trying it.  Well, we decided to make her work for her food.


Momma:  Maddie, can you say “Ma ma?”
Maddie: Ma ma.


Yea!  Maddie got a taste of the ice cream.  “Mmmm!”  So we decided to see how far we could push it.


Momma:  Maddie, can you say “bye bye?”
Maddie: Bae Bae.  Ahhh.  (Opens mouth and leans forward.)
Momma: Good girl.  (Gives a bite of ice cream.)  Maddie, where’s your nose?
Maddie: (Points to her nose.)  Ahhh!
Momma: Goood girl!  (Gives a bite of ice cream.)  Maddie, can you say “thank you?”
Maddie: Whea whu.  Ahhh!


It was that easy.  Our girl instantaneously jumped one whole grade level in one night.  I know that we shouldn’t use ice cream as a motivator, but what are you gonna do?