I WIN. Mitchell’s asleep.
The thought of Mitchell’s nap time gives me a panic attack. Seriously. It’s such a fight, and I’m rarely successful at getting him to fall asleep. So, like the awesome parent I am, I decided to bribe him. That’s right. When all else fails, I bribe.
Today, a box of 50 stamps arrived. He loves stamps. Therefore, I love stamps. For their usefulness. I showed him the stamps and told him he got one if he fell asleep at nap time. He repeated it a few times, trying to figure out a loop hole. Finally, he ran upstairs and in twenty minutes this was the scene:
Twenty minutes may not sound like a big deal, but this is a child who usually takes at least 45 minutes to fall asleep, even at night when he doesn’t fight it at all and just lays there patiently waiting for sleep.
Sure, the twins have been here all week and he’s only napped once. But I’d still say this puts to rest any notion of him just naturally not taking naps. He obviously can fall asleep, he just chooses not to. And the only way to get him to choose to sleep is to find just the right bribe.
Now, I sat there feeling awesome for about two seconds before I realized that this was clearly not the best approach to getting good behavior out of him. And then I thought back to all the parenting wins throughout his life. It turns out I use a lot of bribery.
Weaning: bribed with chocolate. Yep. When he threw an all-out fit for the boob, I calmed him down with a Reese’s, thus instilling a lifetime habit of stress-eating.
Shopping: bribe with food. At Target he gets popcorn. At the grocery store he gets the samples or, if the managers saw us coming and removed them all, a bag of fruit loops.
Potty training: bribed with M&Ms and Hot Wheels. Technically, still bribing. At this point I’m wondering if I’ll be following him around at high school going, “Good pee, Mitchell! Good job! Let’s go get you an M&M!” The process of peeing is so linked to M&Ms in his mind that every time one of the visiting twins went pee while they were here, Mitchell would stand outside the door going, “VERY nice pee! Good job! So nice! You want M&M now? Ok. I get you M&M because you peed in potty.”
I could keep going, but frankly, I’m losing respect for myself. So, maybe not technically a win. But close. In 20 years when he’s still living at home and demanding a car to go to college I might regret setting these precedents.