Thursday, August 18, 2011
Day 1407 - Good Idea, Bad Idea
A few weeks ago, Emma began a phase in which she would constantly cry and whine and make up excuses to not stay in bed. We tried ignoring her, but that only made the crying and anger more intense. We tried reasoning with her, but that was difficult to do because of the crying and anger. Ultimately, it would end up with me losing my cool and both Emma and I would be crying and angry.
But then I came up with an idea! I recalled the days when we were trying to potty train the kids, and I made a potty chart. One night when Emma was crying, I told her that the next morning I could make a I Did Not Cry At Nighttime chart. And when the chart was full of stickers, we could have a pizza party. A genius and slightly fattening proposition, no?
I made a chart, taped it to the wall, and so began the experiment. Although Andrew was not a problem at night, I also made a chart for him so he wouldn't feel left out. The first night was a silent success! Nobody cried, and the next morning they both giddily awaited to put their first happy face sticker on the chart. Each night Emma did not cry, I patted myself on my back since the only thing Lisa would do was roll her eyes and toss old bread at my face.
But then it happened. There was the night that Emma began to cry. I reminded her that if she continued to cry, she would not get a sticker. I heard muffled whimpering, but it slowly developed back into crying. Emma got out of bed, laid down in the hallway, and continued to cry. I went upstairs and told her if she did not go back into bed, she would not get a sticker. No response. So I did what I always do when I had no other resort: I called for Lisa.
Unfortunately, Lisa was taking a crap in the bathroom (Yes, I do have to qualify it was the bathroom because she occasionally confuses the kitchen sink with a toilet.). I then made an ultimatum to Emma: If you don't get in bed by the time I count to three, then there would be no sticker.
I'm not kidding!
Don't make me do this!
Lisa, are you finished taking a crap yet?
Three. No sticker!
And then cue the uncontrollable crying. Emma started to kick the wall, tossed around on the floor, and went into hysterics. I went downstairs feeling bad, but I felt I did the right thing. If I gave her a sticker the next morning, then what was the point of the chart? I had to follow-thru with what the chart was all about.
Andrew didn't make the situation any better. I heard him come out of the bedroom and tell Emma, "You not get a sticker because you cry. But I get a sticker because I don't cry. Right, Dada? I get a sticker tomorrow morning. Emma you don't. But I do."
When Lisa finished taking a crap, she asked what happened. I explained the whole incident, and she agreed with the action I took. But Lisa also shook her head and clicked her tongue. I immediately asked her why she did the "You're a dumbass" look.
"You know, this isn't over with yet," she said. "What do you think is going to happen tomorrow morning when Andrew gets a sticker and Emma doesn't."
And that observation hit me like a 25 pound of sushi rice. But I decided to do what any good father/husband would do. That night, I set my alarm clock extra early so I could wake up and leave for work before the kids woke up. Good luck, dumbass!