Monthly Archives: November 2008

Bribery or Strategy?

img_3766My daughter is going to be a flower girl on Saturday, so we headed off on a mission to find gold sandals to go with her gorgeous dress. Unfortunately she was less than impressed about trying on multiple pairs of shoes, and it didn’t take long before she announced her need for a trip to the toilet. I sighed, hid the most promising pair of shoes under the rack, put her own shoes back on and dragged her out of the store. The toilets of course were miles away, and when we got there she didn’t need to go any more. I made her sit there until she did something! By then the baby was crying and we all wanted to go home, but there was no way I was leaving without gold sandals.

As we headed back to the shoes, we passed a donut stand. Without hesitation I did something out of the ordinary and stopped to order a donut. A big one. With Icing. And sprinkles. I knew it was blatant bribery but I didn’t care. That donut was my ticket out of the shops.

We returned to shoe shopping with the donut bag sitting temptingly on the pram. I assured my daughter that she could eat the donut when we got home if she was helpful with trying on shoes, and did what she was asked. I also made it clear that I would very much enjoy the donut myself if she chose not to cooperate. We got the job done eventually, but I really had to hold that donut over her little head. In the end we shared it. She had tried hard, but I didn’t want her to think her performance warranted the whole donut!

I wondered as I drove home whether I had sunk to a pathetic low with my parenting skills, or whether I had been quite clever. Is bribery always inappropriate, or can it be a useful strategy if carefully managed? Perhaps the frequency with which it is used is significant. If I used it as a strategy too often it would lose impact, and besides – I don’t want my kids to think they will always get a reward for doing what is expected of them. On a rare occasion however, I think it works , well… a treat.

What do you think…? I’d love your comments.

A Stormy Week

img_5018This week Brisbane has been hit by some very nasty storms. One in particular brought down trees and powerlines all around us, and many homes have been damaged. It’s been a chaotic, unsettled week for my kids and more storms are forecast. Here’s what I’ve learned so far from the storms:

  • Nothing brings a community together quite like a natural disaster.
  • It’s easy to take the roof over your head for granted.
  • 36 hours without power is a very, very long time.
  • Heavy hail on a tin roof is deafening.
  • Changing dirty nappies by candlelight is possible, but you are likely to miss bits which you’ll find in the morning…
  • I rely on the tv far more than I’d like to admit.
  • A gas stovetop is a blessing – you can still make a cuppa.
  • Melted chocolate is still good. Melted icecream isn’t.
  • If someone offers to cook you a meal, the correct response is, “Yes please!”
  • God is good.

Psalm 73 verse 28 says “As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”

Skirmish – Toddler v Mother

img_4040My husband played skirmish today. It’s a highly dignified sport whereby grown men run around shooting each other with paint pellets. He came home grinning from ear to ear, despite the fact that he was totally covered in angry red welts from where he’d been “shot”. He told me that he’d been on the front line, so he’d had to take a few hits for the team. Most of the welts will be covered by his business shirt on Monday, but there’ll be no disguising the bruiser on his chin!

While he was playing skirmish, I was engaged in a battle of my own: a battle of wills. It’s a highly dignified sport whereby a small child challenges a grown woman on, well, everything. My toddler tried my patience, tested my limits, pushed the boundaries I set, and tried to convince me that she knew best all day.

By the end of the day I felt like my husband looked. I too, had been on the front line, taking hits for the team. I too, had been required to cop it on the chin. I didn’t have physical marks, but I was emotionally black and blue.

It’s tough parenting a toddler. You have to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. I’m learning that it takes a lot of determination to wake up every day with a positive attitude, leaving yesterday’s battles behind. It takes courage to stand firm while they poke and prod and push. And it takes mercy and grace to calmly end each day, assuring them that you love them regardless of their behaviour.

Oh, and on the really trying days (like today), it also takes the listening ear of a mum-friend, a big bowl of icecream and a long, hot bath.

It's about time

I don’t think you choose to be a writer.  If you are one, you just are.  I’ve been a writer all my life.  As a child I remember narrating my life quietly to myself, as if each day was another page in my autiobiography.  Ok, so I still catch myself doing that sometimes! 

It’s about time I started a blog.  I have scraps of writing in notebooks, on pieces of paper, in word documents and of course, floating around in my mind.  They may, or may not ever be published.  They aren’t necessarily polished pieces of work.  They are just squiggles.  My squiggles. 

I hope you enjoy browsing this blog.  If any of my squiggles are useful to you in some way, please let me know.  It encourages me to keep putting my writing online!