TAKE IT EASY
Much as you all love to hear stories about my adorable
children, I’m sorry to tell you that sometimes they are impossibly unpleasant
little hellions. They fuss and fight and
argue and harass and poke and provoke and generally make each other, and
therefore their mother, quite miserable.
So, a few weeks ago, I imposed Behavior Management on them.
It works like this: I have a stash of red and blue poker
chips. At any time that I see a child of
mine behaving in a pro-social manner, I can, at my discretion, give them a
chip. Little Bit gets red ones, and
Tigger gets blue ones. Chip-earning
behavior includes playing nicely with one’s sister, sharing with one’s sister, not
picking fights with one’s sister, and refusing to take the bait when one’s
sister tries to pick a fight. They are
not allowed to ask for or demand chips.
I dole them out as I see fit.
When BOTH children have 25 chips, we go out for ice cream.
The change in our lives since we began this program has been
immense. I have sweet adorable children
again. They get along for hours at a
time, and when they slip into fussing at each other it only takes a reminder
about chips to chill them out. A few
days ago we had our first earned ice cream outing. Tigger got tangerine sherbet. Little Bit chose cotton candy flavored ice
cream, with chocolate AND rainbow sprinkles.
Earned ice cream tastes even better than regular ice cream.
I’ll take my Mother of the Year award now, thank you.
While the kids slurped the ice cream, a shirtless young man
came into the shop wearing his pants belted at low-hip level, with a good six
inches of his boxer shorts showing above them.
He looked to me like he was in his late teens, but he may have been late
twenties for all I know. I’m not so good
with ages these days.
Speaking of which, have you seen the new Superman, Brandon
grown-up? This boy barely looks old
enough to rescue Lois Lane
from a boring school dance.
Anyway, I pointed low-pants guy out to Tigger and told her
“never date a boy who wears his pants halfway down his legs.”
“Why not?” she asked.
“Bad genetic material.”
When we left, however, we saw him outside the shop, sitting
on a plastic chair on the sidewalk with a teen-aged or possibly 25-year-old
girl on his lap. I guess she didn’t
listen to her mother.
Now that it’s summer, we’re playing California rock while we zoom from place to
place in the minivan. Lately it’s been The Eagles Greatest Hits, especially Take It Easy. My five-year-old loves this song so much she
declared on a recent hot, sweaty, cranky afternoon, “if anyone feels sad, they
only need a drink of water and this music and they will be smiling.” Words to live by.