Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Future Doesn't Exist

One of the lessons you learn as a parent of a toddler is that you never (and I mean NEVER) use a fun upcoming event or the possibility of something sweet in an attempt to motivate or manipulate them into doing something. These plans always backfire. This is why:

Scenario 1: the set-up

It is getting close to dinner-time. G must be getting hungry because she starts asking for snacks. I tell her that dinner is almost done and I show her the bean soup we will be having. She doesn’t want bean soup. She begins to protest. She has been crabby and contrary all afternoon.

Me: I know you are hungry hon, we are going to have some bean soup and if you eat all your dinner like a big girl maybe we can have a treat.

G: I wanna treat.

Me: If you eat all of your dinner.

G: No, I wanna treat.

Me: G, we can’t have a treat now, we are going to have dinner first.

G: I WANT A TREAT!!!! (commence sobbing and tears of sorrow) Iwannatreat. I wannatreat. Iwannatreat. (sob, wail, gasp for breath, rub snot into a facial mask)

Note to self: treats should ONLY come as a not mention treats until they are being given.

Scenario 2: the set-up

It is close to nap-time. G finishes her lunch; we brush her teeth, use the potty, and lie down. It is a sweet moment. There has been little protesting all morning. I didn’t have to chase her down. Lunch was not a struggle. Teeth-brushing was not a fight.

Me: Maybe when we get up from nap, we can go to the park.

G: (perks right up) I wanna go to the park.

Me: I know; we’ll go to the park after nap.

G: No, I wanna go to the park.

Me: I know G, we will go to the park, but you have to take a nap first.

G: I WANNA GO TO THE PARK (and………. wailing, sobbing, and gnashing of teeth)

G skips nap entirely and we spend the rest of the afternoon intermittently crying about not being able to go to the park because G did not take a nap.

Note to self: outings should ONLY come as a not mention outings until seconds before we leave.

Lesson learned: LIVE IN THE MOMENT!

Ah, life is full of hard lessons and I am always amazed at how much finesse is involved in “working” kids. I am now a much savvier mama. My dear hubby, however, is still learning this lesson.

…….and who am I to get in the way of a good education.


moseyalong said...

Oh, I so remember this.

And the thing that both comforts and gives parents the "when will it STOP" trembles is that just when you think you've got it down, those kids switch it up. So wait for it... sometime in the next year (or two), your daughter will start freaking out when you DON'T give her a heads up what's coming next.


WA said...

My husband and I call it "trick the baby" and are always trying to be one step ahead of the boys. We've got about a 20% success rate.