On Thursdays I am alone with the kids till 7:30pm and then I teach class from 8:00-10:00pm. Today is the last day of this craziness. Next week is exam week and vacation is soon in sight.
Two Thursdays ago when I picked Christian up from his class with both kids in the car he asked what was for dinner. I told him I made quarter chicken dumpling soup using the chicken potstickers that were in the freezer and the mustard greens that he picked up without my consent and expected me to cook with. Just speakin' the truth.
"Cool" he said but why "quarter chicken dumpling soup?"
"Because, I paid Enzo a quarter to eat it" I sheepishly replied, "Don't judge me. I love you. Bye." and off I went to my class.
I was embarrassed even before the proposition to pay my son to eat dinner was verbalized. But, I put my shame in time out and said "Enzo, if you eat your dinner without whining I'll pay you a quarter." Quarters are a big deal in his 4 year old world. Usually If I ever give him money it's always a penny, but quarters are bigger in size so they obviously have more value.
Enzo has a train bank that is getting filled up and I don't know if you ever had a piggy bank but there is something deeply satisfying when you drop a coin in a piggy bank. It can become an addiction and soon Enzo is asking "do you have a penny for my train bank?" about 5 times a day for his coin fix. If I have a penny I just give it to him. I never bribe him with money even though I am often tempted. How awesome would it be if he asked me for a penny and I said "only if you clean up your toys" and then in a flash he would clean up his toys, change his sister's diapers, wash my dishes all for one lousy cent.
Is that some beautiful economics or what?!
But no, I don't do that. I'm a decent human being with values and bribing is not one of them unless...
it's one of those baby Maria-trying to take her pants off-every five seconds- day. Then on those days I let the kids watch a video on the computer while I make dinner and when I get to sit down for dinner the only real thing that sounds delicious is peace and quiet.
On those days I may bribe Enzo with a quarter.
He agreed to the deal and ate all his soup without a single complaint, even though he made gagging faces after every bite. I just looked down on my plate half ignoring him and half ashamed to look at him. I can't believe I'm paying my son to eat dinner! Lousy. Simply lousy.
The next day I asked Enzo what he was planning to buy with all his pennies and his one quarter.
He looked at me as if I should already know the answer, in his mind it was clearly obvious,
"I'm going to buy flowers for you, of course, because you're my favorite mama"