Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bad Cop / Good Cop

It has occurred to me that a huge chunk of the behaviour of 4yo Pumpkin is designed to test my ability to not cause her any physical harm. It's hard, but I figured out long ago that I could cause her a fair bit of grief by taking away her favourite toy of the moment. Combined with a time-out, toy removal seems to cause her enough pain to gain her begrudging compliance.

This morning was no different than any other. Pumpkin refused to put on her own shoes, insisting that she needed my help, which she didn't. Sometimes I robotically put her shoes on just for the sake of getting her out the door, but today, I was a hard-ass. I really REALLY hate babyish behaviour when it's being performed by someone who isn't a baby, and I guess that my fuse is exceptionally short today.

"That's it! I'm taking away Mousey!" It's hard to believe that uttering such a stupid phrase gives me such a feeling of power, but hey, if Mousey works, then Mousey it is! Crying, Pumpkin had to put on her shoes and also didn't have her most important toy to take to school.

Those tears didn't affect me! I knew that I was ultimately being an effective parent, as I patted myself on the back after loading Pumpkin onto the bus.

A while later I noticed some scribble on the calendar. Pumpkin has her only show-and-tell for the whole month today, and today was now the only day this month where she didn't have some prized possession with her to show her classmates.

This will be the perfect punishment for her, I thought for half a second, before guilt took over my entire being. Grabbing my purse, Mousey, and some other toy option, I raced my butt over to the school, arriving just in time to catch the JK class lining up to go into the school.

Walking back to my car as I replayed the overjoyed, most beautiful smile that Pumpkin gave me when I showed up with her toy, I thought, 'Gee I'm a nice yet ineffective mom!'


1001 Petals said...

I find the threat more effective than actually taking the toy away. It's a bit frightening how much power a threat will have! I do countdowns going down from 5. I very rarely get to 2.

Gabriella said...

No not an ineffective mom at all! You made her day and I think that's most important.
If she didn't have show and tell that day I know you wouldn't have brought her Mousey.

I'm doing the counting to five thing's actually working.

Chantal said...

You did the right thing. I would have done the same thing.

BTW I fixed my e-mail thing. You should be able to reply now. Give it a try.
Thanks for letting me know.

Run ANC said...

Sometimes, you just gotta know when to fold 'em. You did good.