Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You Choose

This morning, I actually said to my daughter, “My hell Sophie! Take your toothbrush out of your butt!”

At school, we’re learning a classroom management program called “Teaching with Love and Logic.” A big piece of the plan is allowing kids to make choices whenever possible—thus letting them feel in control of themselves—their situation—and not having to take control by acting out and other things. So—instead of giving 4 homework assignments a week, the teacher trickily gives 5, and tells the students, “You can choose any 1 homework assignment to skip each week.” If you don’t care if a paper is written or typed tell the kids it’s their choice. This also gets you out of telling them what to do all the time, as in, “You can either talk more quietly, or you can come sit at the front of the classroom by me.” You get the idea.

Seemed reasonable, and as the Teaching With Love and Logic is based on Parenting With Love and Logic, I decided to try a bit of it with Sophie.

So at DQ yesterday with my mom, Soph was, of course, being a total spaz. I had to pee, so I said, “Sophie, you may either come into the potty with mom, or stand quietly next to Grandma." To which Sophie responded, “I’m going to look at the love day cakes!” and ran over to the freezer stocked with heart shaped ice cream cakes. I took a deep breath and said, “Sophie. You can choose between 2 things. Either come into the potty with mom, or stand quietly next to Grandma.” Soph looked thoughtful for a minute and said, “Look! That one has angels! Mom! Mom! That one is the cutie cutiest one. I want it! I want it! Can I have it?” So—I hoisted her in my arms squealing and took her into the bathroom with me.

After getting our treats, and were sitting at the table, Soph stood up on the bench and started climbing over the back. I said, “Sophie. You can either sit on you bottom next to Grandma, or sit on your bottom next to Mom. You choose.” She responded by throwing a leg over the back of the bench, (luckily no one was sitting behind us) waving her arm in the air, and yelling, “I’m a ropin’ cowgirl!”

Back to this morning—Soph (naked of course) was cruising around the house with her new $9.00 electric mermaid toothbrush. She was going back and forth between brushing her teeth, and experimenting with how the brush felt on different places. She put it on her forhead—on her foot. I should have seen it coming. So—I watch the toothbrush be poked between her butt cheeks, and for an instant think, “OK—what do I say. ‘Sophie, you may either put your toothbrush in the garbage, or wash it off and use it only for brushing teeth,' or maybe, 'Sophie, would you rather take your toothbrush out of your butt, or have me spank it?'"

In the end, I went with, “My hell Sophie! Take your toothbrush out of your butt!”

Today’s best thing about being a mom:
Ummm. I get more sympathy now?

Today’s worst thing about being a mom:
So—that freakin’ toothbrush was expensive. If I wash it in REALLY hot water, or maybe run it through the dishwasher, would it be super gross to still let her use it?


thelyamhound said...

I guess it sort of depends on whether the handle or the bristles made its/their way into the butt in question.

Offering choice is a good idea, but you kind of have to accept its limited applicability for a child whose level of coherence is still developing. My guess--granting that I'm not a parent, so I'm only theorizing--is that getting into the habit of offering her choices before inevitably offering imperatives will be good for you in the long run, because it will prepare you to offer her choices when she's actually capable of making them.

Funny stuff, as always.

patrice said...

oh, the laughter.

I do offer trent choices on a regular basis. I do it every single day. but I don't know if it works on kids sophie's age or disposition.

run it through the dishwasher. it'll be fine.

NME said...

That Sophie is SO spirited. She really is hysterical. It's obvious that she is going to be a kickass woman some day.

I think Sophie just has to get used to the option idea. I'm guessing employing a new parenting technique does not work overnight. Maybe she'll just need awhile to get with the program.

Dishwasher definitely.

~A~ said...

Oh honey, wash it in the dishwasher a few times it'll be okay.

Yeah, you have my sympathy which normally I tell people to find between shit and syphilis in the dictionary. But since I've BTDT and probably be there again, my heart goes out to you as I laugh. Honestly not at you this time.

Stine said...

Oh holy hell, my side hurts.

You HAVE GOT to send that story to some magazine somewhere. You and your child could win awards.

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

Okay am I the only thinking that an ELECTRIC toothbrush in the dishwasher might not work very well?

I'm thinking boiling water poured over it a couple of different times will be fine. Shoot I used to boil water (3 minutes in Microwave) and rinse toothbrushes after the kids had strep or if a friend was over and needed to brush and my kids didn't get deathly ill.

As for the parenting choices you can always add choice C get your butt spanked and A or B looks much better. I promise years from now (notice I said YEARS) you will be hearing Soph tell you "Your grandchild just......" and you can smile and say "Sophie hell get your toothbrush......." and laugh your butt off!

Rebecca said...

That's hysterical! You and Sophie bring so much laughter to my life! Thanks!

Sarah Letnes said...

Take heart. Someday you'll be able to tell her beaus that story, and it's a beauty.

I'd go with the boiling water and then soak it in Listerine.

shawnak said...

Ohhhh yesss, the laughter,please make it stop before someone comes in my office and realizes I am not working, but instead reading one of my favorite blogs!!!
I agree, boiling hot water for sure!

the beige one said...

"I'm a ropin' cowgirl!"



oh my...

herk said...

Missed the last week, and just caught up, wiping away tears of laughter as I went. Great stuff, especially this one.

Jacques Roux said...

"I'm a ropin' cowgirl", freakin' hilarious. Actually, all of this story (and all the others) are freakin' hilarious.

dishwasher, if the electrical part is detachable. Boiling water and antiseptic, otherwist. I and seriously recommend printing some of these little tidbits out to save them for when Sophie gets old enough, and using them for leverage when she gets to be a REAL pain.

But that's just me.

lonna said...

You know I wish that I had an answer about how to handle this type of behavior. We're full of it at our house too, but I haven't written much about it.

I feel so crappy since I teach college students/future teachers how to discipline kids between the ages of 3-8 and none of those techniques seem to work when I use them. Positive guidance my ass. It's more like strap the little bastard down until he can't move, but of course we don't do that. We just keep trying to talk him out of things and implementing time outs. Sigh. I really hope that someday this gets better for both of us.

amandak said...

Oh, that girl. A force of nature to be reckoned with, that one. I love it, love her, love you, and while I know it can be infuriating, hey, at least it's entertaining for the rest of us! Sorry I've been such a slacker in commenting, but rest assured, I read IT ALL.

Heather said...

That is SOO funny!! I'm sure at the time these things are very frustrating, but at least you get some good out of them. Entertaining the rest of us!! :-)

Kat said...

That is hysterical! I like how she seems to like option C - none of the above.

Boiling water kills all - as does a peroxide bath followed by rubbing alcohol followed by more boiling water.