Posted by: ourbakersdozen | October 1, 2011

The Power of a Bribe


Cecilia is toilet trained and yes, yes I admit it – I stooped to bribing her. And it worked.  But it  did not take long to realize that I had outsmarted myself. I had created a semi elaborate system with a chart with stickers and rewards. Everytime she went successfully to the bathroom she got a sticker  and two smarties. Four stickers and she got a whole roll of smarties. Sadly that was almost our undoing as once she had earned her first roll – she could no longer accept that she only got two smarties for each of the next four bathroom trips.We persevered and in a week she was trained. Within the second week – she forgot about stickers annd most importantly forgot about the rolls of smarties or as she called them “my OWN candy!!” Somehow 2 individual smarties was not her own, but a whole roll was.

She had already been dry in the mornings for months and that, along with an ever tightening budget, led me to make the leap. What we did discover in this process is that she needs to be relaxed in order to use the bathroom. This means that first thing in the morning  she is not awake enough to go, so we learned to give her her space and she invariably let us know when she was ready. Once we figured this out we  had conquered all the challenges of toilet training. Or so I thought.

Recently she fell asleep earlier than usual and apparently with a full bladder as eventually she awoke, squirming and groaning – clearly in discomfort. Somewhat alarmed I tried to comfort her but quickly put two and two together and realized her problem.  Crooning to her I scooped her up and sat her on the toilet. Not even close to being fully awake she completely lost it and began to scream. I knew immediately her problem was that she was not awake enough but could not think what to do. I pulled out the usual tricks, water running down the sink and pouring warm water gently over her. Nothing helped and I could not appease her in any way. Finally  Hugo came in and talked to her in his quiet calm voice but that still did not get through to her.  I don’t which of us came up with the clever idea of asking her if she wanted her “own Candy”. Somehow this made it through the cobwebs of sleep that enveloped her tired brain and she nodded and calmed down. Hugo stayed with her while I rushed down the stairs to grab a small cellophane wrap of what felt like gold. By the time I whisked back up the stairs she was already back into her undies and resting in Hugo’s strong arms her head nestled sleepily against his neck. She stretched out a hand, grasped the offered roll and murmuring “my own candies” she fell asleep.

In the end what was almost our undoing saved the day!

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