Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Reason Doesn't Work, Try Candy?

Raising (and taming) a toddler can be hard work, especially when they really really want to be independent.

When it's 30 minutes after the time you were supposed to leave in the morning (to make it to work on time) or 30 minutes past bedtime, I find that sometimes I give in (against my better judgment) to my very smart and crafty toddler's demands at the cost of many months of effort to develop tried and true ways of doing things.

This morning it was about 50 below outside. Well, it wasn't that cold, but it was one of the coldest days so far this year. Over the past few weeks, the Biscuit has been wearing a zip-up hoodie to school as his jacket in lieu of a proper jacket (in spite of my prodding). And not just any zip-up hoodie, but one that bears his favorite (current) cartoon character: Lightning McQueen. When it came time to get out the door this morning I knew I had to figure out a way to get the Biscuit to wear a proper jacket that would actually keep him warm on the playground so I did what any self-respecting toddler-protecting mommy would do... I took his hoodie off its hook and moved it to a secret location in the laundry room (hidden from view).

When the Biscuit went a-lookin' for Lightning McQueen and asked me where it was, I replied, "Hmmmm. We must have moved him." Now, yes, I feel terrible about it, but I would have felt worse if the Biscuit came home tonight with an even worse cold than he already has from standing outside in 20 degree weather (legs wet from going pee pee on himself). The Biscuit was visibly shaken by the change in his morning routine. I needed a distraction, else he might explode into a full-blown tantrum. Deflect! Distract! I had to think of something quickly!

And there they were... glistening in the morning sunlight: a bowl full of jelly beans.

"You want a jelly bean Biscuit?" The Biscuit moved closer to the stash of gem-like candy, reached his hand in, picked out a perfect green jelly bean, and popped it into his mouth of freshly brushed teeth. He smiled as he chewed. Mission accomplished.

In the van (oh yes folks, I do drive a minivan) on the way to school, I pumped him up and let him know that he gets to be a big boy today and show ALL his friends his big boy jacket (and yes this is the same "that scared you? jacket" that I've rattled on about before). Somehow, the magical high fructose corn syrup high stunted the typical tantrum-ish responses I'd gotten over the past couple of weeks relative to the attempts to wear the big boy jacket to school. The Biscuit instead responded with: "Okay Maminka. My yelly bean is stuck" (to his teeth).

In the end, he put on the jacket without a fuss at school (and told me that he even wore it on the playground). I truly hate lying (good ol' Catholic guilt setting in) and certainly don't want to set that example for my son, and I despise the idea of bribery or deflection tactics (such as candy), but as a working mom, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get to work on time. It seems all good, but I know that tomorrow morning I will be faced with how to offset the tantrum that I will see developing before me when the Biscuit demands a jelly bean. 1 day (and tantrum) at a time I guess.

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