By The Wiz
I, like everyone else out there, am not a perfect parent. But I do try to do the best I can, and there are specific lines I will not cross. (Insert image of Gandalf here, yelling “You Shall Not Pass!”) Well, since I’ve broken my wrist, one of my “lines” has not only been crossed, but to quote a line from Friends “You are so far over the line…the line is a dot to you.”
I am speaking, of course, of bribery.
With my first 2 kids, the only time I ever used bribery was for potty training. I worked well, and it became very clear to me that my oldest (at age two) had great bladder control when she peed 5 separate times in 20 minutes, simply to get the candy.
I had seen other parents use bribery often, and I had come to the conclusion that it was counterproductive, making their lives more difficult in the long run, and it wasn’t doing the child any favors, either. I read books that convinced me of its evils, and I decided early on in my parenting career that bribery was not going to be a tactic employed in this family (see above exception). And it’s really worked out fairly well…until now.
Toddler yells every time I come near him to buckle him into his carseat. “NO! I DO IT!” He arches his back, crosses his legs, shrieks, rolls over, you name it. Well, since driving around without him strapped in is another line I won’t cross, I have the option of letting him do it, which takes 20-30 minutes and is still unsafe, or I can wrestle him into submission. Wrestling him one-armed is a battle I can’t win. (I feel like the one- armed man from “The Fugitive” but without the whole wife-killing thing). He’s extremely strong and extremely wiggly, and he’ll win every time. But if I say “Hold still, let Mommy buckle you, and I’ll give you some chocolate,” he jumps right in, puts his arms in the straps, and the shriek fest is over. I simply have to wipe his face when we reach our destination. Hmmmmm……
Same thing with changing poopy diapers one handed. It requires him to lay very, very still of his own accord, which rarely happens, or I have to hold him down with my feet (”NO MOMMY!! STUCK!!!). Or I simply wave a cookie in front of his face, and he is as still as a statue until I declare him all clean.
Getting him dressed when he’d really rather play with balls…well, you can see where this is going. I have totally caved, and am now regularly using bribery, even though it goes against my sense of “good mommying”. The thing is, I want to go back to no bribes when the cast is off, and I know it’s not going to be pretty.
So if you see a woman driving around left handed, with a car full of kids and chocolate (or flavored Altoids work well, too, and don’t even require the face wipe. SEE how over the line I am, when I’m getting BETTER at it?), just pray for her, because she has fallen into Shadow, and I’m not sure even Gandalf can save her.
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