Lady C brings with her a whole new world of “firsts.” She’s just not like the other kids (which, I hear, is normal and expected, but completely inconvenient) so as she moves through these familiar stages, I’m met with new challenges. She’s the first of my 3 children to take sooooooooooooo long to potty train (my fault, not hers – I went and had a baby right when we were on a roll) thus she’s the first that I’m resorting to OUTRIGHT bribery. We’re in a one-for-one relationship with the peanut M&Ms.
It works in a mediocre manner. She understands what it is I want. She does not, however, remember to go the potty more often, like I’d hoped. Yes, I suppose that I could try to remember to put her on the potty more often and that has been discussed and even considered. It just hasn’t happened. I forget, okay? I have all these other children running – or sitting, in the case of Baby M – around and I cannot remember how long it’s been until the pee is dripping down her leg.
So I give up and put her in a pull up. I’m sure she’ll grow out of it by her senior prom. Or we’ll just have to buy a dress with a very full skirt.
And then she asks for her chocolate.
In other bribery news, Miss M, though she puts up a good fight right before bed, has recently been scoring buku bonus points for kind and thoughtful behavior. She’s rocking my world the way she’s considerate and forgiving even when it’s clearly undeserved (*clears throat and looks at oldest boy*). Just the other day I asked if she would let the dogs out/in, as they’re constantly asking for one or the other about every 5 minutes (I think they have a conspiracy). She immediately did it. No asking why, no “in a minute”, no straight up “no”. (I HATE THAT. I work VERY hard to whittle “no” from my vocabulary in favor of the nice smokescreen of redirection. They should have to reciprocate.)
Miss M just did as I asked without my needing to repeat, beg, bribe or threaten. It was like a breath of fresh air. (I looked at my imaginary friend with my Incredulous Look. She nodded excitedly in affirmation.)
So I gave Miss M an m&m.
(Now when she’s 500 pounds from overeating because she rewards her kindness with chocolate, she can tell her therapist it’s my fault. She’ll even have internet proof.)
Immediately, H boy wanted one. I explained why Miss M got one – because she was helpful – so he brilliantly offered to let the dogs out.
We’re missing the point here, buddy. (In fairness, I think they might have wanted out already. They hate me.)
Not lost on his memory, the next day he offered to let the dogs out. Pavlov didn’t need dogs, he needed toddlers and young children and 5 M&Ms. He has been incessantly offering to let the dogs out for days now. He finishes his task and looks at me and bats his beautiful eyelashes. Then I have to repeat once more that Miss M enjoyed that m&m not because she let the dogs out, but because she was helpful. And she didn’t do it because she wanted a treat, she did it because she had a good heart. She wants to help people and mommy appreciates this about her and mommy wants her to know that it’s the right way to live.
Mom, I’ll be helpful and let the dogs out, he says.
So, I gave myself an M&M for creating this whole train wreck. Why should they be the only ones to reap the benefits of my foolery?