Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Bribe, Therefore I Am

If the Super Nanny ever paid a visit to the Feldman homestead, I think she'd be giving me that old tsk tsk stare when it comes to my parenting style. You see, when my kids work my last nerve or whine to get their way or repeat themselves at least a dozen times asking for the same toy over and over and over again, I pretty much flip off the switch in my brain and enter into bribery mode.
I have found that a good old fashioned cash bribe can ward off everything from nagging, to fighting with siblings to repetitive questioning by a pre-schooler. In fact, just this past weekend, I dangled a five spot in front of my son to prevent him from spilling the beans on a surprise party for a good friend of mine. And guess what? The bribery worked! He kept his trap shut and the surprise went off without a hitch.
Briberies can take on many forms. I've been known to bribe my kids with ice cream, gummy worms, and if I'm really under duress, the dreaded Webkinz. If it means a little reward for good behavior will translate into a relaxing home environment, I say, what's the big deal? People get bonuses at work. Why shouldn't our kids get bonuses when they do the right thing?
Now while it seems my kids are destined for a lifetime of bratty behavior with my bribery tactics, I say my ingenious reward system is achieving quite the contrary. My kids know full well that bad behavior will not be rewarded but if they both participate in a "see who is quiet the longest" contest, the payoff might just be a trip to the supermarket where they can each select their favorite box of cereal that comes complete with a junky toy they'll both treasure for at least the next hour or two.
If they've really abided by the rules of the day, they may even earn themselves a trip to the local amusement park or if they're really lucky, they'll get a shopping jaunt at Toys R Us. So if Jo Frost came and observed my parenting skills, would I fail miserably with these ruthless bribery tactics? Probably, but all I can say is if the house is quiet, no one is fighting and they've put away all their toys, what's a little tchotchke or piece of candy to make their day...and mine.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Batteries Not Included

Can someone tell me the name of the person who invented batteries so I can personally send a letter to their family (since I know he's long gone by now) about how much I can't stand using them? It's bad enough when your child gets a toy for their birthday and the box mentions in fine print that batteries are not included and the person who purchased the gift failed to include those magical metal ingredients. And so, you're left with a kid who is super excited to try out his 5 foot tall remote control robot but all he can do is stare at it and pretend it works.
Here's the problem - it's not like I have C batteries, and D's and 1.5 volts and triple A's at my disposal. AA's? Sure, I have em - but that's because they're a staple item, like ketchup. But once you get those toys that take 39 batteries to power them up, we're pretty much up a creek without a paddle. While plenty of their double A toys are running smooth as silk and we even change the duracells from time to time, unfortunately, the complicated projects that require more juice usually wind up on a shelf collecting dust. Sure my son is excited for the moment about playing with his super duper action hero that can walk, fly and speak six languages, but let five minutes pass after I've told him we don't have batteries and he'll drop the gadget like a hot tamale and grab his Nintendo or hit the computer.
So the moral of my battery tirade is this - from here on out toymakers - make sure your toys are made with rechargeable batteries that are included in the box along with a charger. That way, your brilliant creation will get more play time with my impatient kindergartener. Not that I want to put the battery folks out of business, but who has time to find batteries, insert them with microscopic screwdrivers and then replace them once they've gone dead. Certainly not me...that's my kids - gotta run before they come at me with a toy that needs a triple C.

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