Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Threats, Distractions, Warnings, and Bribes

aka "How to Survive Life with a Two-Year Old"

All day long, it's threats, distractions, warnings, and bribes.

Threats of punishment - if you kick me, then you go to your room!
Threats of fear - if you drink bath water, Mommy take away your bath toys!
Threats of reality - if you stand on your dump truck, you are going to fall down and get ow-y!

Distractions of choice - when you brush your teeth, do you want to use the red cup or the green cup? (always green)
Distractions of empowerment - do you want to take off your shoes all-by-yourself-like-a-big-boy or does Mommy do it?
Distractions of the physical kind - watch tv, while I shove stool-softening powder in your drink

Warnings about endings - In five minutes, Elmo is going to be over and we're going to brush your teeth.
Warnings about transitions - You're going to be taking off your Lightning McQueen crocs (the coolest shoes ever!) and putting on your ABC running shoes (no way as cool)
Warnings about inevitabilities - After three books, you're going to sleep... Okay, this is book number three, so after this one you're going to sleep. Really!

Bribes of patience - if you come for this long-as-heck car ride, we'll go to Old MacDonalds!
Bribes of reinforcement - if you poo-poo in the potty, you'll get a treat!
Bribes of compliance - if you let Mommy cut your nails, I'll give you four chocolate raisins!

Yes, I have used every single one of these, and actually all of them in the last 24 hours. No guilt. No regrets. When you're dealing with a two-year old, it's all about survival and preservation of sanity.

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