Friday, August 10, 2012

On the Ba-Lympics and Bribery

The Little Lady: I want to watch Mrs. Franklin in the Balympics.
Hubby: Do you mean Missy Franklin in the Olympics? 

We have been on an Olympic high in our house for the past two-weeks. The Ladies are way into the gymnastics and the swimming. Not only are they doing more flips over the couch and pretending to race in every kiddie pool imaginable, they are also asking for gymnastics lessons and pretending they are Gabby Douglas and Missy Franklin.

Reminds me of when my cousin and I did hours of cartwheels on the beach in '86 trying to convince anyone who would listen that we were Mary Lou Retton’s cousins.

While the Olympics is a great opportunity to teach kids about winning and losing, meeting goals and having dreams, parents need to seize this short window of opportunity for bribery purposes.

I have started bribing my children to behave with a promise of “medaling.”

Whoever finishes cleaning, eating, or brushing their teeth first gets the gold...

This is working wonders.

The Lady is nothing if not competitive. And while I will admit to having a wee bit of a competitive bone in my body, it is nothing like the competitive nature that her father possesses. It is impossible to play against him in anything. Not only does he always win, he is kind a jerk about it (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). After the Scrabble screamfest of 2005 we have decided that it is probably best that we try to be on the same team.

The Lady, besides being competitive, is also relentless when it comes to getting what she wants. She will wear you down. I will admit that I respect her tenacity and I think it is a good trait to have in life, but her dogged pursuit of the win is making me wonder if any local YMCAs offer Mock Trial classes to an almost 5-year-old.

So, when all forms of pleading, screaming, communication fail, if you make the suggestion that the Lady might get a gold star attached to a piece of paper or that she may win a hypothetical gold medal that girl will respond. She is clearly capable of listening to direction, picking up after herself and attending to her personal hygiene.

I don't even have to bribe her with an actual object. Just the mention of a medal is enough. Oh the possibilities. . . we might have knot-free hair, sparkling teeth--do I dare hope for a gold medal in good listening? I do. This is the Olympics after all and I dare to dream.

Just try it. Mention to your kids that they are in danger of not medaling in bedtime or clean-up. Tell them there is a chance they might miss the podium and you will see some kids called into action--children who deserve to carry the flag for your household.

I am thinking of building a podium in the living room. I am pretty sure I can find directions on Pinterest. We can have daily medal ceremonies complete with the Lady's own anthem, which I am pretty sure will be “Call Me Maybe.”
Source: via Israel on Pinterest

But move fast. .  .the closing ceremonies are approaching, and unless you DVR'd the Women's Gymnastics All-Around like we did, you may miss your opportunity to take advantage of the spirit and the wonder of the Games and harness it all for your benefit.


  1. Parenthood. . .its all about creative ways to try and control your children!