Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Catapult!" - Or No Good "Mommy" Deed Goes Unpunished

The song says, "Love is a battlefield." Well, the same could be said about parenthood.

My oldest  displays all the good tendencies of a firstborn, along with the bad. Smart, yet stubborn, always wanting to please us... so I have been attempting to do some creative parenting.

When my son mentioned he wasn't in the highest reading group, I wanted to motivate him. My husband reads to the kids nightly and I have been trying to do more read-aloud practice as well. The biggest issue has been his confidence.

Knowing that boys his age are highly motivated by their beloved LEGO sets, I gave him a challenge. I would buy him the castle set he had been eyeing in the store (complete with fire breathing dragon and catapult) when he moved up to the higher reading group at school. I laid out the plan. More reading together, daily work on his consant blend flashcards and sight words. It might take time, but we were going to put the work in.

His face just lit up and I knew I had found the perfect incentive.

Yeah, who's winning Mom of the year? Me. Just saying.

I had in mind that if he worked hard and did his best, I was going to reward him anyway. Advancement wasn't my main objective. Boosting his interest and confidence was. I hoped he would work hard for a few weeks and both of us would see marked improvement.

So you can imagine how surprised I was when the following day he told me he had advanced.

"What? How did that happen?"

"I went to Mrs. Miller and asked if I could be in the higher reading group."

Okay, so many Mom of the year wasn't within my reach.

Then the hounding began. I am sure you know how it goes.

"When can I get my LEGO set?" "Can we go to the store to get my LEGO set?"

His requests were relentless. Of course, I'm a Mommy of my word and I had promised him the set when he moved, so he was going to get his set.

We got the set while out shopping late the following night. It was too late to build that night, so he spirited the box up to his room. I went in later and set it up on a high shelf. We said goodnight and he was already talking about building his set the following day.

Fast forward to 3 am and my 6-year old bursts through our bedroom door yelling,  "Catapult!"

It is not the way I would wish my worst enemies to be awoken. My husband and I were shocked, disoriented and the yelling had woken up my 8-month old. My son had woken up around 2 am to start working on his beloved LEGO set. Proudly he wanted to show us the finished set.

Yes, I will not be making Mom of the Year. No, in fact I am convinced that no good "mommy" deed or clever plot goes unpunished. I don't have any further plans to motivate my son with bribes. His beloved set his been "put up" for an appropriate length of time. No more motivating my clever son. He is in no need of motivation and I would rather have my sleep. Now I just need to get him to focus his energy for good.

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