After every play-date with my friend Katie and her children, I feel like I’m becoming a better parent. I have observed how she interacts with her kids and I’m inspired to try new parenting techniques. If only I could figure out how to do and say what I just watched.
Monkey has working on learning to listen & obey Mama. That is kind of all encompassing, since Mama says things such as, “be nice to your sister” or “stop” or “hold my hand to cross the street” or “go to bed.”
So obey your Mama, because if you don’t listen and obey, something will happen. Something unpleasant which will make you wish you had obeyed. There will be some mystery consequence as soon as Mama thinks of something epic.
Tonight at dinner, Monkey asked for cheese, and I had a genius idea. I cut 4 pieces of cheese. I gave Monkey two pieces and said, “you can have the other two pieces after you eat all the food on your plate. So once all your food is in your tummy, you can have these two pieces of cheese.”
I have to clarify that the food needs to be “in your tummy.” Because food being “all gone” could mean on the floor, in the garbage, or in Mama’s tummy.
The two pieces of cheese sat where Monkey could look longingly at them while she ate her food. Half way through dinner, Monkey somehow ended up under the table. I said to her, “please sit down and finish your dinner, so you can have cheese.” She said something incoherent about wanting to play, so I said, “I asked you to sit down. Are you going to listen to Mama and obey?” No. “Ok, but you’re not going to get cheese.”
Then I had another genius idea. As long as the cheese is in sight, Monkey still thinks there’s a chance she might be able to get it, but if it’s gone, it’s gone. I could put it back in the fridge, but she knows it still exists. So I said, “I’m going to eat your cheese.” Monkey was in her seat in record speed, but not before one piece of cheese disappeared into Mama’s tummy. “There’s only one piece of cheese left, so you better stay in your seat and finish your dinner, or Mama will eat that one too.”
Monkey stayed in her seat, finished all her food, and was given the one piece of cheese. She broke it in half, and said, “look Mama! Now I have two pieces of cheese again!”