Friday, June 12, 2009


We've returned from Utah. We are now home. I have many good stories to tell. But, also very little time.

So, here's a quickie.

The house is a mess. This is because my mom is out of town. She is apparently the only one who cleans around here.

So, in her absence, I was attempting to tidy, and insisted on Grace's assistance. She was not compliant. She refused for several reasons, including the fact that her legs were too tired.

Finally, she went to her room.

After pausing long enough between washing dishes to realize that she had disappeared and that I was no longer arguing with anyone, I called to her.

"Grace? What are you doing? You're supposed to be helping me clean!"


"Oh. Um, what does stresshling mean?"

"It MEANS someone who doesn't WANT to clean their room. It MEANS someone who doesn't want to do ANYTHING."

Huh. Totally stumped for a minute.

Time for a new tactic.

"Claire, would you please pick up these toys?"

Claire, of course, happily consented, toddling her little pidgeon-toed self around the room picking up toys. [I love the ridiculously-cute-and-helpful stage. It's my favorite.]

I congratulated her. Quite loudly. I kind of yelled, actually. And then I explained what I was rewarding her with. In loud detail.

Grace snuck out a few moments later and grabbed several plates for setting the table.

If you have any motivational tools for your children that do not include the exploitation of one child to motivate another, please share. I have obviously exhausted my limited resources of creativity.


  1. No I like your's. Since I don't have two I just have to clap for Brody like he doing something good in hopes he will do it. HAHA it actually usually works. It's so weird the same thing with my dog. If I tell him to come and he doesn't I follow with a good dog and he comes running. What a crazy family I have! maybe if I tell Jeremy great job doing.... he'll then go do it :)

  2. I'm stresshling too. I've been stresshling for DAYS. So glad to have seen you guys. Always wish you could have stayed longer...

  3. Candy. Lots of sugar. One of my cousins said once that if you don't bribe your kids, you don't know what you are doing. I'm sad we missed your trip here!

  4. I know I'm chiming in late, but I will add that this strategy works surprisingly well even with fake children. Specifically, with my son's cabbage patch doll. You don't want to brush your teeth? Well, BABY BUTTER and I are having SO MUCH FUN brushing our teeth and giggling and talking.... and suddenly tooth brushing is accomplished. Can't wait until my real #2 can become a manipulative tool. So handy!