As a parent, my mom was wonderful because she was consistent and, in most ways, predictable. If you were refusing to finish your dinner, she would ask you your age and after you replied, say "5", that was how many bites she assigned (if you were particularly lacking, she might assign 5 bites of meat, and 5 bites of vegetables. But, it was still consistent (and seemingly fair since 5 is a good number for 5 year olds). Similarly, if you were acting out, you might earn 5 minutes of time out (unless you were 8, then it would be 8). It was predictable and consistent. It wasn't based on how well or poorly her day had gone, but on a specific strategy of parenting.
Then, sometimes, she would do something totally unexpected. Like the one time she served us waffle cone bowls and let us make ice cream sundaes for dinner. Not dessert. That was dinner. Once. It only happened once, but man did it stick! It was a beautiful thing.
She did special things for us and by making them out of the ordinary, they became extraordinary and that was awesome!