It's a poem about a little girl who tells a story about being kidnapped. Let's just say I don't like imagining the graphic details about a little girl being chained in a basement. My mind fills in the gaps, and I don't need any help coming up with disastrous scenarios.
So, the first time I read it during night-time routine, I tried casually to say, "Let's read another one" and flipped the page. As Ellyn Satter says, a child can "smell an agenda a mile away."
M protested, but didn't make a fuss. The next time I did the bedtime routine, before we even sat down, she asked for the "jail one." I explained that I didn't want to read that poem, but there were hundreds of others. She replied, "I'll pick out a poem from the index." Harmless I thought (since M can't read or really tell numbers that way) but she went straight to it! (Dad has no problems reading the poem to her apparently.) Every time I read to her, she turns to it, asks for it. Last night there was even a bookmark on that page.
Is her fascination in the rhyme, the picture of a little girl chained up, the imagery, or the fact that I don't want to read it?
I'm guessing the allure is that I have singled it out. It just reminds me of how clever, how tuned-in children are to our agendas.
Are you struggling with foods you may have singled out? Do you talk about "junk foods" or "bad foods" or "red light foods?" Has it lessened or heightened your child's interest? What about your own interest in foods?
When talking with clients, I frequently find that the children who are "obsessed with treats" are the ones where it is often talked about, avoided, controlled, a big deal, forbidden, used for bribery, a production. Even the mildest restriction, like "these are red light foods, so we don't eat them often for our health," can pique a child's interest.
Here's an old post on sweets and treats with some more internal links for dealing with "forbidden foods."