I have been struggling to devise a workable schedule. Between Robby's kindergarten obligations and my working, I feel like I am frantically spinning my wheels yet little seems to be accomplished. Yesterday I worked on reports for the few hours Robby was in school. I had a work meeting scheduled and, left with no options, I had to take him with me. I packed a lunchbox full of snacks, his fully charged DS, and an assortment of quiet art supplies in the hopes that he would be entertained and let me work.
The 45 minute drive to my meeting was spent with me firmly informing Robby about my expectations. I expected him to be quiet and polite. I hoped that the promise of doing something special, should he behave appropriately, would seal the deal.
My meeting ran long, lasting over two hours. Despite my fears, Robby Rotten never emerged. My little guy spent the entire time quietly playing, and I even received compliments from others in the waiting room about my child's behavior! I could not have been more proud.
As soon as we got to the car, Robby reminded me that he was promised something special. I quietly sighed, disappointed that I had resorted to bribery instead of simple expectation to secure good behavior. After all, Robby should behave because it is an expectation, not because he is promised a reward. In my zeal to have a successful meeting, I felt like I broke the cardinal rule in parenting: "Thou shall not bribe thy child."
My internal reprimand was interrupted when Robby began to speak. "Momom, since I behaved, you said that I could do something special. Do you remember?" I told him that I remembered, and prepared to talk him down from an outrageous and unrealistic request like "I want to go fishing at the aquarium."
As I buckled him into his seat he continued with his request. "Well Momom, I was thinking. I really really REALLY want to stop and buy you some flowers. But there is one problem, I don't have any money. Can you please give me some money so that I can buy you some flowers? I know how much you love flowers, and I love you."
I regret that I bribed my child to insure good behavior, but I felt desperate to keep Robby Rotten at bay. I am not perfect, and I'm doing the best that I can in this new situation. I must be doing something right because Robby's request was not for himself but was for a gift for me. We stopped at the store and he picked out what he swears is the prettiest flower in the whole wide world- a bright yellow pansy plant. Sometimes I am reminded that I do have the sweetest little boy!