I'm guessing I'd be arrested if I did business like this, but with a 19 month old, it works a treat and I get away scott free.
You want to eat now Grace? Wash your hands first.
You want to go in the garden now Grace? Let's put the toys away first.
It works wonders with a toddler and I'm trying it on the Husband too.
You want sex tonight? Do the laundry first.
You want sex tonight? Do the hoovering first.
You want sex tonight? Mow the lawn first (yes it is possible, we've had a string of sunny days).
Of course Matt the Husband has a backbone and his own ideas about things and consequently the marital bed is about as active as a tortoise in midwinter. It doesn't worry me. He will cave before I do. And if he doesn't? I can live in a hovel. I like tidy, not so fussed about clean.
But back to Grace. Tonight for instance, Grace came home from nursery absolutely buzzing about her day. She chattered all evening, sat through a two course meal and had a run around in the garden with the dog before watching 'In the Night Garden' on The Box until 7pm. Hitting the remote as I usually do I'm met with a shaking head and a quivering bottom lip when I gesture it's time to climb the stairs. She digs her heels in, standing her ground and pointing at the tele to be turned back on. I stand firm, telling her Iggle Piggle has gone to sleep and now it's time to climb the stairs to have a bath and go to bed. She wavers, considering throwing herself on the floor and yelling her head off so I intercept with a well timed "Come on, let's climb the stairs. Your bottle of milk is upstairs for you..."
So we climb the stairs and before you know it, she's on the verge again, crying for no reason other than tiredness, sitting on the landing carpet refusing to be consoled or moved. I tell her her milk is waiting for her to have her bath but it falls short. She's wailing now, red faced and veins popping out across her brow. I'm clutching at ideas and there it is - BAM - a nugget of genius hits me between the eyes and I lay the bait. "Come on Grace, let's line your dummy's up along the edge of the bath. We can throw them in one at a time and then you can jump in to collect them all."
Worked a treat.
So she's sat in the bath, overtired, teary and ticking like a time bomb. Clean, but volatile. We try to extract said time bomb from the water only to be met with fierce resistance and screaming. She does NOT want to get out of the bath. I try with the lure of milk once she's dried and in her PJs. She shoots me a look that says she's just stuffed her face on pasta and strawberries, like a few ounces of milk would tempt her. So I resort back to the dummies. I get the bag they live in from her bedroom. It's a little toiletry bag, yellow, and she knows it's where the dummies live. She scoops the dummies up one by one, placing them into the bag. It gives her enough comfort to stand up to have the towel wrapped around her and we go, clutching the yellow dummy bag tightly under her arm.
It stays at her side, through drying, dressing and the bottle of milk that's been waiting. We don't have any more tears until the milk runs dry and we tell her it's time for sleep. Uptight again, she wails for a few short moments so I sing to her (it soothes her, to others it inflicts pain) and it works. She relaxes, stops crying and climbs off my lap and onto the bed where she snuggles up to the pillow as I pull the quilt over her shoulders. I think she's asleep before I leave the room. Bribery alive and well, and if it works, I'm not knocking it.
Talking of knocking. Matt the Husband has just loaded the washing machine and checked the weather report for the weekend. He tells me he's planning on doing the lawn first thing Saturday. Now who's bribing who?