Monday, June 6, 2011


Before I had kids, I would watch parents bribe their child to get the child to do whatever it was the parent wanted.  I remember thinking they must not be good parents.  Good parents are able to tell their child to do something and the child listens.  Bad parents who can't control their children resort to bribery.  Then I had children.  And if my prior thinking is correct, I am a bad parent.  I am not above bribery.  In fact, I bribed Drew yesterday and Kayley today. 

Today I took Kayley to the first day of her summer session of gymnastics.  She had a new teacher and I knew it was going to be rough at first because she is very shy around new people and is shy at the beginning of each class, but usually she sees the other kids participating and she joins in after warm ups (she always refuses to do warm ups).  Well, she was the only one in her class today.  I knew the minute we walked out onto the floor that today was going to be a challenge.  She refused to do any warm up with the teacher.  She sat on the floor and just looked at the teacher.  Then she put her head down and looked up at the teacher with a pout on her face.  So the teacher skipped warm ups and took her to the first circuit.  Kayley refused to do anything in the circuit.  Finally, I got her to agree to do a sommersault down the incline mat.  She walked over, jumped up on the mat, looked at the teacher, looked at me and sat down at the top of the incline.  She was having nothing to do with it. 

I tried everything.  I tried encouraging her to do the things she loves in that circuit (sommersaults, swinging on the rope).  I tried telling her I was going to take her home if she didn't want to participate.  I even asked her to please do it for mommy.  Nothing.  I can only imagine what her teacher thought of my ability to get my daughter to listen.  Then in a moment of desperation, I went to what I knew would work at least once.  I asked her if she wanted a tootsie roll (one of her favorites) and her eyes got wide and she smiled and said, "yeah!"  So I told her that she could have a tootsie roll after class if she listened to her teacher.  She went on to do every activity with a huge smile on her face and talked nonstop to her teacher as she did all of the circuits.  When we got done, she gave her teacher a high five and we walked off the floor.  Then she looked up at me and said, "I want my tootsie roll."  Good parenting will start again tomorrow.

Drew's bribery began on Sunday.  Drew has been sucking his thumb since he was 4 or 5 months old.  His dentist pointed out that his stuffed animal that he sleeps with is likely a trigger.  That stuffed animal was Frog.  Little Frog to be exact.    As you can see, Little Frog was definitely a trigger.

Drew and a very new looking Little Frog

Drew and Little Frog
Drew always held onto the Little Frog's leg with his right hand and sucked his right thumb.  Every time.  The dentist encouraged us to get rid of Little Frog.  One day, Grandma mentioned to Drew that Little Frog was torn and not very nice anymore.  Drew agreed and threw Little Frog in the garbage.  We were so excited!  Our problem was going to be over!  But, Grandma had bought another frog for Drew a few months before, Big Frog.  Drew turned right to Big Frog. 

Drew and Big Frog
You can't see Big Frog very well in this picture, but he was bigger than Little Frog and it was as if Little Frog had never existed.  We did limit Drew to only having Big Frog for naps and bedtime at night (Grandma and Grandpa were sometimes more lenient as you can see from the picture above).  For the most part, he only sucked his thumb when he had Big Frog.  We were convinced that when we got rid of Big Frog, we would be done with the thumb.  We talked Drew into sending Big Frog home with Grandma to Phoenix so she could give him to a little boy or girl who didn't have any toys.  Drew agreed.

Our plan backfired.  He started sucking his thumb every time he was in the car, every time we read him a book, every time he watched tv, etc.  We have tried encouraging him and praising him when we saw that he wasn't sucking his thumb.  I told him that babies suck their thumbs, but big boys don't.  He responded that he thinks big boys should suck their thumbs and babies shouldn't. 

Drew went with me yesterday to buy presents for Kayley's birthday.  He saw a monster truck and said he wanted it.  I said no.  He said he REALLY wanted it like that should change my mind.  I told him I would buy the monster truck and we would leave it in the box and he could have it when he goes one week without sucking his thumb.  He readily agreed.  Then we got home and he begged me to open it!  I didn't cave and he only has 5 more days to go until he gets it.  He was very proud this morning when he got up and told me he didn't suck his thumb the night before.  He did great in the car today and when I read him his books before bed.  Fingers crossed this bribe works.  Or can we just call it a reward for good behavior? 

Drew holding his new monster truck.  Still in the box.

1 comment:

  1. I miss frog, too! We had a good four years together! I do hope your bribe works, for Drew's teeth's sake.