Control the Child. Or something like that.
My sister dropped this pearl of mommy wisdom on me recently. She can’t take credit for it, though – Dr. Phil has it trademarked. I haven’t watched Dr. Phil in years, so I have absolutely no clue if he has any other parenting gems. But this one? This one I like.
Amelia and Ella will be two next month, and in typical two year-old fashion, they have started developing very strong (and sometimes odd) affinities toward certain objects, activities, food items, etc. Say it with me, people: currency.
Ella’s currency is easy – crackers, crackers, and more crackers. Keep ‘em coming, baby. She sat through an entire Easter Sunday Mass with nary a peep (if you discount the crunching noises). I bring an entire box of crackers with me to the grocery store and sometimes throw another in the cart if things get hairy. She just cannot get enough. She is equally obsessed with her “Baby”, a raggedy blue bear that I only allow her to have at nap and bedtime. I recently started using her love affair with Baby to my advantage. You may recall my documented struggle with tooth brushing. Struggle over. If she refuses to allow me access to the cracker chompers, I threaten to put Baby in time-out. Man, you should see how fast her little mouth opens!
Amelia, on the other hand, is my horse of a different color. She likes crackers but is no fiend like her sister. And, while she does have a rather strong affinity toward her stuffed kitty, it’s not powerful enough to allow Mommy a decent whack at brushing her teeth. Hrmph. She is much more stubborn than Ella (no clue where she gets this), making it difficult for me to find her currency. But, I think I may have found her one real motivator thus far – dessert. I got her to eat a serious serving of asparagus tonight just by dangling 7 piddly M&Ms in front of her. If she is acting up at dinnertime, I threaten to withhold her dessert privilege. Works like a charm for the half hour that is dinnertime. What of the other 11.5 waking hours, you ask? Yep, I got nothin’.
So, what about your kiddos? Have you found their currency? Do tell…