Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Carrots and Sticks: Mommyland Discipline

It has come to my attention that my kids require both more and more creative discipline than they've been getting.  Because it is now mid-summer and the fighting, bickering and not cleaning of the rooms is totally out of hand.  Time outs just don't work anymore.  I hate yelling at them because I find myself feeling like sicko Joan Crawford/Kate Gosselin hybrid.  Then I feel worse.  Besides, my mean mommy voice is tuckered out.  I count to three.  Then five.  I glare.  I discuss.  I create charts and reward systems that work their effective magic for days.  I do all these things on four hours of sleep per night.  And still, the naughtiness persists.

So I have decided upon a carrots and sticks approach, at least for the big kids.  Except in this case - the carrot and the stick are the sameMwah Ha Ha! That was an evil laugh.  Because I am so diabolical.  I pick the one thing the each child responds to the most and either provide or withhold that item to get them to do my bidding. 

Kate has worked her magic well because Thumbelina (age 7) will do anything in the world for shoes.  I held up a new pair of flip-flops from the Target clearance rack ($3.99) and she kept her room spotless for a week.  When she tried to carry her baby sister down the hardwood stairs upside down, she lost her sparkle-toe sneakers for two days.  She cried over that loss as if she has just been told the sun would never shine again.  Maybe I shouldn't blame Kate, I was just reminded by my husband that Thumbelina potty trained herself in one week when she was promised a snazzy blue bikini.

So apparently, this is what I have to look forward to:

Hawk (age 5) will do anything in order to play Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.  He is a man obsessed.  He loves Star Wars with the sort of passion depicted on the covers of romance novels.  It is the Bella to his Edward.  And he will not be denied his Wii time.  If he does something naughty and learns that he has lost 20 minutes of playing time, he responds in much the same manner as Luke Skywalker learning that Darth Vader is his father.  Except, imagine it being more dramatic and whiny (yes, it is possible) and involving copious amounts of mucous.

Then we have the exception...  Mini-Mini-Me doesn't have a carrot or a stick.  Mommy is both.  The baby is at a really tough age for discipline (20 months) as she remains an adorable, precious, squishy little cupcake baked by the devil. She could set fire to a swimming pool. She could accidentally create a dirty bomb using discarded diapers and Miracle Grow.  She seems simultaneously unnervingly brilliant and completely dense. In the way that my dog used to be able to do long division if you held a piece of bacon in front of him but would sometimes look bewildered when you asked to him to sit.

Sit? What is this 'sit'? I know not of this word...

She can wash her own hands, brush her teeth, go get her own shoes, grab a clean diaper (after she strips off in the middle of Starbucks), find mommy's phone, ask for juice or milk when she's thirsty... But she can't quite grasp that tipping over the kitchen trash can and playing in the garbage is not OK. So she has to sit on the step. And she hates to do that.  She gets all dejected and sad...

Against all of this silly background, I still don't think the Cap'n fully knows or appreciates what it takes to train his lil' terror suspects.   He comes home after a long day at work to greet the tired crew who for the past few weeks, are so happy to see him (and are so sick of me) that they suddenly change personalities into well-behaved 1950's television children.   So the Cap'n has a somewhat different picture of his little ones, and I have a feeling that it's in black & white and sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes.  Lucky Cap'n.

The End.

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  1. I am dying laughing. In my hotel room. With my similarly difficult to punish 11 month old. Have I told you lately that I love you? Sincerely. When are we going to run away together to a kid-free island populated by half-dressed hot men who want nothing more than to pour us another drink and listen to what we did during our day??

  2. FYI Waldo is actually hiding from Chuck Norris.

  3. The paragraph about Mini Me should be written in calligraphy and framed because it's so frickin brilliant.

  4. We have a similar prob, but with a 3 yr old and a 10 month old (ok, the 10 month old isn't naughty, I just can't get him to sleep past 5:30) who is on the move. So I hear all day "MOM!!!!! he's coming for my cars!!!!!!!!!!!! (baby scootching towards matchbox cars at the speed of, well, a 10 month old) and the 3 yr old is melting down quicker than Frosty in Pheonix. So, if said 3 yr old can't share, he loses non-sharable object for a bit of time. Doesn't sound so bad in theory, but imagine this going on for 10. hours. per. day.

    T-box much?

  5. When my sister and I were in high school, we never skipped school. Why? Because my mother informed us that if we ever skipped school, she would attend school with us the next day. She was serious. And would have done it gleefully.

  6. My daughter has found a website on the internet that she LOVES. It's all horse games and she's becoming addicted at 4 years old. So, when she does something wrong, that's the first thing to go. Haven't figured out something yet for my 16 month old son, hmmmmm. Any ideas about getting him to sleep through the night and deciding that 1 a.m. is not a good time to play after all?

  7. "...an adorable, precious, squishy little cupcake baked by the devil." Perfect. Just...perfect.

  8. I'm doing a summer boot camp with my six pack so that this year will run smoother *yeah right*. If you want some ideas, check it out:


  9. For the 10 year old, electronics are both the carrot and the stick. Time to be doled out and taken away, and this has worked for a few years. Whenever we ground, we ground from electronics. Haven't figured out what will work for the 15 month old twins yet...ha ha! Thanks for the funny, as always. Perfect!

  10. I find it difficult to punish my child, since it is still growing in my uterus. However, I have a 14 year old niece that is a *delight.* The only thing that works with her is embarassment. When she does something wrong, my sister tells me, her stepdad, grandma, etc and we all lecture her about it forever. Take away her TV? Go ahead. She doesn't care. The internet? Whatever. But embarass her? Oh hell no. :)

  11. I was training the new puppy not to chase the cats with a spray bottle of water the other day and accidently squirted my 5 year old as he ran by helping the puppy chase the cat. ( a behaviour we have been trying to break for WEEKS) Holy moly, it works on kids too!!! I know some parents would freak at this, but I'm at my wits end and at this point will try anything that works! (as long as it doesn't hurt them of course!) And really, who new how much fun it would be to squirt 'em when they really get geared up for mayhem!

  12. I need some carrots and sticks for my husband. So that he doesn't not undo all the training I've done with the wee one.

  13. @chacha - we had this with our 2. The solution? The floor is 'the baby zone' - if you don't want the baby to chew on it/knock it over/etc, don't put it in the zone - play on the dining room table or in your own room (or mommy's room...whatever. I just needed a designated 'baby free zone' with floor space). I had a friend who had good success using a camera to take pictures of accomplishments sure to fall to baby-zilla: build tower, take picture, now it's not the end of the world when, inevitably, the tower comes down...

  14. Buffy!!! LMFAO!!! I have dreamed of doing that to my kids when chasing the dog around. :-) Thanks for the funny Lydia. ;-) Summer is spiraling downhill over here too. Thankfully 7yo is at all week Cub Scout camp this week, so lil' sis and I get a break. :-)

  15. I once lost my schmidt so badly over picky-eating that I told my 5YO that if he didn't eat that pasta RIGHT NOW then I was going to serve him "POOP" for dinner the next night.

    He believed me. Totally freaked out about it.

    I mean, really, kid. Smarten up. Think about the LOGISTICS of that...

  16. Whatever clever and witty thing I was going to post has been completely outshone by the previous commenter's suggestion that she threatened her kid with poop for dinner. THAT IS AWESOME.




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