I Want Mommy!!!

I work hard at trying to give my kids the same kind of upbringing that I had and that includes my being a very hands on type of father. So you can imagine my surprise recently, when both my children decided that they didn’t want daddy reading their bedtime stories anymore… “I Want Mommy!” they both cried, on consecutive nights.

Let me tell you something about the type of story teller they have for a father. I have worked countless hours practicing my Mater and Dr. Doofenshmirtz impressions, so that come game time, I am ready to go. I don’t just read Pinkalicious, I AM Pinkalicious. Don’t even get me started on how many times I have watched Tinkerbell’s, Pixie Hollow Games, in order to get all the character’s names and voices juuuuust right! And, do they not remember the tears from my dramatic reading of when Barbie became class president and then got a chance to meet the first woman president of the United States?!

Well, just when I thought things couldn’t get any lower for this loving father, my son had one more surprise for me. While the two children fought over who got to have their precious mommy for story time, my son got up and left the room. I assumed he had accepted defeat at the hands of his younger sister, until he returned a minute later with a shiny object in his hand and a proposal for his lil’ sis.

“If you let daddy read your story, I’ll give you this money from my piggy bank”, he bribed as he slyly flashed the shiny nickel before her eyes.

“I WANT DADDY TO READ MY STORY!!” she proclaimed wildly as she snatched up the coin that Canada will probably do away with next.

And there you have it, folks. The pleasure of my company reduced to the cost of a big foot gummy candy. On the bright side, I have a persuasive son, a daughter who wants to make the big bucks and a wife who happily sits upon her throne, for now! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check the couches for more nickels.

An Argument Against Bribing Your Children

It’s not like I do it often. Frankly, the only reason I have ever done it is because, well, it works. As a parent, you know when your kids have that look in their eyes that says, “I am having a bad day and you are going to pay for that multiple times over!” For the most part, my policy is to just deal with it as it happens, but, every now and then you have a special occasion that commands precision behaviour. In these instances, I have been known to pull out the bribery card.

Recently, I can think of two such occasions. The first being Great, Great Nanny’s 100th birthday party. My logic for bribing them with a trip to the Dollar Store the next day was that you will rarely get a chance to attend a 100th birthday party and Nanny deserved the best behaved children in the land. Plus, at $1.15 each, it was a win-win! They were angels and did exactly as they were told the whole time. More on that later.

The next was my son’s first appearance on television. We were going to have a PlasmaCar race, which he as excited for, but first we had to talk to the morning show hosts and I was worried he would flee. I brought the Beyblade in the car with us that morning and he did a great job on TV and proudly held his new toy all the way home.

You’re probably thinking that everything worked out perfectly, so what’s the problem? Here’s a little story about how this strategy backfired on me. I came home from work the other day and was met by my 3 year old daughter, who was running towards me, arms extended, as she does every day. The conversation, however, was slightly different..

Daughter: “Daddy, I need you to buy me a new Rapunzel Barbie set”
Me: “Why? Did you break another Barbie?”
Daughter: *In her saddest face, nods head yes*
My Wife: “No she didn’t. Ask your son about it”
Me: “Son, why does your sister need a new Rapunzel Barbie?”
Son: *Smiles slyly*
My Wife: “I let her play on my iPhone while I was doing laundry, but when I came back, he had the phone. When I asked her why he had it, she answered that he promised to buy her a new Rapunzel Barbie set if she gave it up…”
Me: “Oh boy”

While my first reaction was to half be proud at his negotiation skills and hide a laugh, I quickly connected the dots and realized that I had created this monster with my recent bribery. I thought I was being clever by offering cheap toys in exchange for good behaviour, but missed the bigger picture issue.

The moral of this story is that KIDS NOTICE EVERYTHING! I will definitely think twice before I go to the bribery method again and I hope this story has helped newer parents in some way.