Monday, June 25, 2012

Parenting Confessions #3-5: Lying, Lying, and Bribery

Everyone has that list of things that they will "never" do once they are a parent, right?  I never documented mine, but if you want to read some particularly hilarious I'll nevers (and see how she did), go over to Lacey's.  I think she owes us another update, I'm dying to see if she has broken any other rules.  

If I HAD documented my I'll nevers, I can guarantee you that I would have boldly stated that I'll never lie to my kids, and I'll never bribe my kids.  The problem with these "I'll never" lists is that, when making them, one has "never" had a toddler.  

I love Adriana more than anything, but DAMN she can be challenging.  I think I've mentioned this before - one of my parents top fightin' words when I was a kid were "Someday you'll be a parent, and I hope you have a daughter who is JUST LIKE YOU!"  I was also a challenging kid, so that was never uttered in a NICE way until my dad's choked up speech at my wedding.  That only took about 30 years.  

Adriana really is JUST LIKE ME.  She knows exactly how to push buttons, and how to bend rules so that she is doing every single thing EXCEPT technically breaking the rule (and she is extremely creative in finding ways around the rules).  She will look you in the eye to make sure you are watching when she's about to do something bad, and then laugh in your face when you try to put her in time out.  When she does go to time out, she pops out of the chair in about a half a second and gives you a big hug and kiss and says she's sorry, and when you try to tell her to get back in time out, she stomps her little foot and says "but I SAID I'm sorry!"  She loves to whisper the f bomb in the quietest voice she can possibly whisper, and when I start to yell at her, she will say "I said FLUCK, not the bad one".  She is endlessly stubborn and wants to do everything HERSELF and HER WAY, and god forbid if I'm DOIN' IT WRONG.    

If she is like this at 2 (she won't be 3 until October), I imagine that the teen years are going to be a blast.

Don't get me wrong - she's not like this all of the time.  She's often the most adorable, sweet, funny little girl in the universe.  The problem is that it's like a light switch, and I don't always know how to flip it or even what part of the house the damn switch is located.  

So here is my confession...

Sometimes I just can't deal with Little Miss Challenging anymore, and I get creative.   And by creative, I mean I lie or I bribe her.

Lie the first: So, about 6 months ago she dropped to 0 naps (unless I want a huge fight) and started the great toddler bedtime stalling tactics.  You can imagine how pleasant she was with the decreased sleep.  One day, I was half kidding around because we watched Monsters, Inc. earlier, and I froze right in the middle of her declaration of "I'M NOT TIRED!"  She stopped, and asked me what was wrong.  "I hear monsters...they only come when little girls don't go to bed.  Quick, quick, get upstairs!!!"  I have never seen her little butt move faster.  Not gonna lie, I still bust this one out sometimes.  She 99% knows it's a game, but that 1% keeps her going. 

Lie the second: We have been potty training since A was 15 months old, which means we have now been potty training for more of her life than not.  The most frustrating thing about this whole process is that she KNOWS how to do it, KNOWS when to ask, but chooses not to. It's all still 100% on her terms.  She will wear big girl underwear and pee on schedule most of the time, and will put on pullups on the days she won't sit on the potty (after a 5 min fight).  She refuses to poop on the potty.  I really, REALLY need for this madness to stop, because she has to be potty trained to start dance class in the fall, and I don't want her to miss a whole year of something I know she'd love because of her stubbornness.  One day, she was clearly on the verge of pooping, so I ran her into the bathroom and made her sit down.  Of course, she started crying and refused to poop.  I was so frustrated that the next thing that came out of my mouth was...

"OMG, I forgot to tell you about the fish!"
"What fish?"
"The fish who lives in the toilet!"
(She hopped off and looked inside)
"I don't see a fish!"
"Well, that's because she hides when she is hungry."
"Can I feed her?"
"Well, this is a special fish...she only eats little girl poop!" 

I might be the worst parent ever, but she totally pooped on the potty within 2 minutes.

I may bust that one out again, if I'm ever at that level of frustration.  I am gross.

Bribe the first:  We do a lot of sticker/reward charts (a good girl chart and a potty chart), and, as I mentioned above, Adriana knows that she gets to go to dance class if she's potty trained.  That's not what I am talking about here.  I am talking about the awesome parenting skillz I demonstrated this morning.  

Adriana has been having a REALLY hard time going to daycare lately.  I think it's partly the fact that she switched rooms and likes her old teacher better, and partly that she's been a little off ever since I went to Columbus.  Either way, the mornings she goes to daycare have been a royal pain in the ass.  She kicks and screams and scratches and sobs and basically breaks my heart.  "I don't WANT to go to daycare, mama, I want to stay with you!"  I decided that I just couldn't do it again this morning, and got out 5 m&m's.  She got one for putting on her clothes, one for peeing on the potty, one for getting in the car, one for letting me leave daycare without crying, and one if she was still being good 2 minutes after I left.  And you know what?  She was a freaking angel.

Overheard on the way into daycare this morning:
"Mama, I'm really sorry I broke my shade" (She broke it like 2 months ago, this was the first apology).
"Mama, can you put on toddler tunes please" (She's usually crying too hard to ask for music, and rarely says please).
"I am getting to be so big.  I can open grandma's fridge-e-rater."
And there was lots of smiling and giggling at various things as she cracked herself up in the back seat.

Moral of the story the first: Lies and bribes.  That shit works.

Moral of the story the second: Never say never. 

What is the most outlandish thing you have ever done to get your toddler to behave?


Lacey said...

Oh my gosh I am dying laughing at the poop eating fish! Desperate times calls for desperate poop eating fish stories! Seriously cracking up.

Adriana stories are the best best best. She is just the funniest little girl ever. I will laugh with you to keep you from crying through her teenage years! ;)

I DO owe an update on my 'nevers' and will get right on that. Promise.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I loved reading this. I have a couple of nevers, too. Like I will never let my child get away with misbehaving in public. That's... going to bite me right in the rear when I have kids, isn't it?

I got a kick out of the "fluck" story. We recently had dinner with some friends who have two girls about your girls' ages. There are two steps from the dining room down into the carpeted living room, and their mom told them explicitly that they couldn't eat in the living room. So they would sit on the top step BETWEEN the dining room and living room. And then, when she warned them again, they would sit on the bottom step and just look at her with such defiance! It was hilarious, but I'm sure it's infuriating when you are the parent!

Also, I was recently at the mall standing in line for Starbucks. In front of me was a mom and she had two kiddos who were sitting near the door and bothering each other. And she said, "If you don't stop hitting your brother, the mall police will come arrest you!" It was hilarious. But the kiddos stopped hitting each other! Lying FTW!

Mama Tully said...

I'm too tired to remember my nevers, but I'm SURE I had them. I'm right there with you on the bribery...m&ms are our lottery ticket too ;) I prefer to call it a "reward" though...makes me at least feel a little bit better about using candy to get my child to do everything I ask ;)

Erin said...

The poop fish story cracks me up.

I always said I'd never use the TV as a babysitter. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha.

Jessica said...

If I had nevers, one of them would probably have been I'd never swear at my baby. But I totally bust out the "what the fuck do you want" when a baby is screaming at me. It releases some of the tension very effectively. Sadly, both children are now too old for it. I try not to say it around kids who can talk.

Michelle said...

My mother-in-law actually used the poop eating fish story on Peanut. It helped push her in the right direction. Of course, I didn't care AT ALL at that point. Whatever worked. (She was over three when she finally potty trained.)

Now that I am a parent, I love hearing childless people say "I'll never ..." I have relatives now who are expecting their first child and I just chuckle and say, "Oh, just you wait."

d e v a n said...

Omg - poop fish! I might have to bust that one out!

Erica said...

Ha! I'm pretty sure if I told Anna there was a poop-eating fish in the toilet she would never set foot in the bathroom again. And I WOULDN'T BLAME HER.

Parental Control Software said...

The poop-eating fish story is totally owns.

Emily said...

Amen, sister. Lying and bribing are awesome.

Sometimes, I find that brutal honesty gets me what I want. For example, one night I was on the verge of smothering both boys because they were refusing to sleep. After I yelled, W broke out his "I so sowwy I make yoo gwumpy, Mommy," which normally gets me. That night, though, I went on a tirade about how I was mad about them not sleeping and it wasn't ok because they weren't listening to me and on and on. When I finished. His eyes were huge and he settled right down and was asleep within minutes. Mommy wins.

Wiz said...

Threats and bribes are how we operate in our family. It totally works!