After hearing glowing reviews from friends who offered their kids “choices” I thought I’d try it with Ivy. Not to be mistaken for choices, “choices” are more like this:
You can keep eating or you can leave the room.
You can help me or you can play by yourself.
You can pick up your room now or you can go straight to bed.
I phrase the “choices” above in a friendlier manner and try to involve the word choose, amazingly Ivy thinks she’s getting to decide what happens and responds well to it. Hopefully it will take her awhile to figure out that it is just her manipulative mother calling the shots! Of course there are days when she makes poor choices, I try to go with it and cross my fingers that she’s learning something.
Today was one of those days. Today the choice was: we could go for a walk or get ready for our afternoon rest.
Ivy’s choice: Walk
Ivy being the helpful girl that she often is went and got both of us shoes for our walk. She returned with my flip flops and Johns flip flops. Now I can go anywhere in flip flops, and Ivy has been a good understudy but Ivy in her Dads flip flops is a different story. So it was “you can wear those but I will not carry you, or you can go get your own shoes”
Ivy’s choice: Wear Dad’s flip flops
So off we walked, and it all went swimmingly, if very slowly,there is not much speed to be had in over sized flip flops. Then we left the pasture and there were *gasp* BURRS and PRICKERS!!! Do you want to keep going though the burrs and prickles to the corn field or head home for a rest?
Ivy’s choice: Keep going
“MOM, there are prickles!”
“Owie!… Owie!… Owie!”
“MOM THERE ARE BURRS ON MY DRESS!!!”
Clearly a major problem was that I had not realized her dress was actually an extension of her body and therefore burrs caught in her dress would be causing Ivy pain. This was true even if the burrs were wrapped and tangled in the dress so as not to be touching her skin in anyway. Sadly this is not a new phenomenon, her pink blanket has the same attribute. In the car if Piper sits on the end of the blanket it’s all “OWIE! MOM, PIPER IS SITTING ON MY PINK BLANKET! OWIE!” so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, but it was a bit disappointing. A pink blanket that feels pain is inconvenient, a dress that has the same problem is downright ridiculous!
Ivy then decided the best thing would be to take off her dress.
“MOM THE SKEETOS ARE GETTIN’ ME!”
Soon after that she got burrs in her hair, and thought flailing around her head and messing up her hair would somehow help. Then just after we reached the corn field (the burr and pricker free cornfield) she decided it was time to turn around and go back home. All the way back through the 12 yards or so of burrs and prickers I heard pathetic comments like:
“MOM I HAVE BURRS IN MY UNDERWEAR!”
“MOM THE SKEETOS ARE GETTIN’ MY BUTT!”
Once we hit the relative “safety” of the pasture things improved until we got home.
Choice: Sleep with burrs in your hair or let me comb them out.
Ivy’s choice: comb them out
“OWIE” — – “Ivy I haven’t touched it yet.” —”BUT IT”S GONNA HURT!” — “Should we leave them in?” —” NO GET THEM OUT!”
Ten minutes later she was deburred, mostly naked, full of mosquito bites, tears, snot and on her way to bed.
While it seems that I may have spent an hour torturing my kid I was hoping she learned something from it, but I wasn’t convinced. When Ivy got up from her nap she came smiling down the stairs in new clothes and said:
“Look Mom I’m wearin’ my long sleeve clothes to keep the prickers off me!”
Then a few minutes later she showed up with some barrettes and said:
“Mom, you put these in my hair so I don’t get burrs in my hair?”
While I’m not counting it a true success until we head out on another walk it looks like perhaps something sank in!
The one thing I will say for Ivy is through all of her crying about burrs and prickly things, she never once asked me to carry her, even when her flip flops were falling off. I like to think this was because she knew that was the choice she made at the beginning of our walk. Unfortunately it also could have been because she was too busy saying “Owie!” Just picture a little girl with pink Care Bear underwear full of burrs walking determinedly, if very vocally though the woods, now tell me that doesn’t bring a smile to your face. I’ll keep giving Ivy “choices” and while I watch her figure things out for herself I’ll try to keep my giggling under control!