Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Bribe

This weeked was adoption overload. Even for me. I attended a meeting put on by my agency. It was titled Post Adoption Blues. Uplifting, hmmm. Then Sat. night the Jean McLeod chat. You know the one that sort of made me feel like a heinous mom over the sleep issues. And yet another event on Sun, the over the top Fall Festival. (Sat. and Sun were FCC related and happen only once per year.) Thank God, although I expect these events to be a little more tolerable when I am not the volunteering goob in one more year.

So after the festival of of 10,000 maniacal children running amok I sat down to think. Main Muffin Man and I are so lucky. This little kid we know and love is pretty damn healthy and happy, some could argue well adjusted too. After hearing about serious post adoption blues, and developmental delays, and sensory integration, and bonding and every adoption should be thought of as possible special needs. Aaack, this girl's head was a spinnin'.

So, I have decided not to stress anymore about our little sleep issue, or lack there of. Last week in total desperation I resorted to bribery. No, it wasn't a "rewards system" or postitive reinforcement. It was an old fashioned and truly un-PC bribe. I am not exactly proud of myself or anything. But I'll be damed if it didn't work!

Here's how it went down:

Me: We are all very tired today because you were up a lot last night.

Ava: Yeah.

Me: Do you know why?

Ava: Well, I wanted you to arrange my covers, and then get me water from downstairs and you won't do what I want you to do so I throw a fit.

Me: I know babe, but you have water next to the bed and you are very good at covering yourself up. And you know you can always come tell Daddy and I hello in the middle of the night but then you have to put yourself back to bed.

Ava: Ok. (Insert..this is the 800th conversation like this in the last year.)

Me: Want to try something new?

Ava: Sure.

Me: Is there a new toy you'd love? (Sleep deprivation will cause acts of desperation, it is sort of like the decision drink ocean water if you are stranded.)

Ava: Hmmm... A yoyo.

Me: Excellent. How many nights do you think you should have to stay in your bed and not throw a fit in the middle of the night to earn a yoyo?

Ava: Five.

Me: Wow, that's a lot. How about three?

Ava: Sure.

So that was it. I told her every night if she got scared she could come and get us but then she had to put herself back down. No more temper tantrums.

You know what happened? It worked, I know I am more schocked than you. The fourth day we all marched off to Target as a family for the yoyo. She then decided that a yoyo was no good. We compromised on a Little Pony.

She hasn't asked for any more toys and we are 3 nights plus 3 more! I will not say the kid's a sleeping champ...for then the sleepy bribery gods will strike us down. And I know I deserve it.

So, take that parenting experts...I'm officially lowering all standards.


Colleen said...

Ohhhhh, I love this post. I still have a 4 1/2 year old who joins us in our bed each night and I am such a Nanny 911 loser that I just let her stay.

I like the bribery tactic. Very cool.

Johnny said...

Hey, you "take the money and run". Do whatever gets you through the night. I cheat. I offer a bribe...and then conveniently forget to offer it, if she can't remember. Bribes and lowering your standards works both ways!

Kendra said...

Whatever works, my friend. Whatever works. Don't feel guilty about offering a bribe to break a bad habit. That's just life. Once the habit is broken, you won't need the bribes.