Yesterday, I insisted that Claire (an almost 5 year old), clean her bedroom by herself. It was messy. Really really messy. And the girl does not usually clean, because Grace does it for her. But yesterday I told her that she could watch Curious George if she promised to clean her room afterwards.
Usually I would look at the fact that I allowed this kind of delay as a huge mistake.
And at first, it was. Curious George ended, I turned off the TV, and I wouldn't let her do anything until she cleaned her room.
She hemmed and hawed and tantrummed and moped. For two hours.
Then she nicely asked for some sugar toast.
I told her I couldn't give her sugar toast because it was too messy and she spills and takes it from the table to eat on the couch where it seeps into the crevasse to ever after stickify our clothing.
She replied, "PLEASE, can I have sugar toast? I'll eat it at the table, I PROMISE!"
And that's when I told her that I couldn't trust her promises because of the one she broke that morning about cleaning her room.
And, friends, props to that girl's sweet tooth. She went to her room, counting ten things at a time, and cleaned that whole darn thing.
And then, of course, I gave her sugar toast. At the table.
The next morning I was in the girls' room doing Grace's hair for school. I finished, and stood up to go accomplish some other task (you know, since basically every school morning I run around like a headless chicken).
Claire called, "Um. Mo-om. Aren't you for-GET-ing something?" and the sassy thing pointed to the hairbrush I left on the floor--the only thing messing up their still-tidy bedroom.
Maybe I should have called her on her lip. I didn't. 'Cause I'm pretty sure she was just repeating a lesson she had finally learned from me.