The story goes…My kids started camp last week, so to say that we’re in a state of change is an understatement. Although my 2-year-old daughter is participating in her current school’s summer camp program, instead of mommy-n-me, she’s being dropped off and doing it like a champ!
My son, on the other hand, has started camp at the new school he’ll attend come fall for the very first time. So that’s a whole new ball of wax. And that ball of wax includes a new parking lot, new classrooms, new teachers, new friends, new pick-up and drop-off rules, and new ID tags on my keychain.
And to top it all off, my son is also required to be 100% potty trained. Now, my little pisher is about 80% trained which means that 20% of me is totally nervous all of the time, that I will receive an angry call from disappointed administration. Yes, I know. Welcome to my completely insignificant, over-privileged nightmare.
But what’s worse is that all of these cha-cha-cha-changes are taking a toll on my baby’s behavior.
To say that my son is laid-back and happy-bordering-on-ecstatic most of the time is pretty accurate. The boy’s smile and laugh are constant and contagious, he makes friends as easily as Lindsay Lohan makes career mistakes, and while my daughter doesn’t always love following my rules (hold hands crossing the street-NO!; don’t take your shoes off in the middle of Target-NO!; stop rubbing chocolate pudding in your freshly washed hair-NO!), my son isn’t usually the argumentative type. Not that he doesn’t have his days, but normally, he’s a pretty easy kid to parent. Until this week.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not like camp started and he turned into a teeny, tiny terror, however all of the sudden, the little dude who would jump when I said jump is being a little defiant.
For instance, our new school/camp dismisses the kids onto the playground where all the parents wait patiently, with baited breath, to find out who’s done what to whom from the teachers. As the kids are released out of the classroom onto the playground, they barely acknowledge the parents except to drop backpacks next to their feet for safe keeping, before climbing onto the nearest piece of equipment. And I’m not against fun. I’m not even against too much fun. After all, I’d like to think at the ripe old age of thirty blah, blah, I’m still more fun than you can handle! Oy, even I know that’s not true, but there’s nothing wrong with telling yourself a little white lie, is there?
Anyway, as I said, while I’m all for a little extra curricular activity following camp, at some point, it’s time to go home, eat lunch and take
my a much needed nap. I appreciate that camp is sucking up all of my son’s daytime energy, but without a nap, he’s like a Gremlin after midnight, and I’m talking about Stripe, not Gizmo. So when a new mommy friend said, “You have your one bonus minute and then time’s up!” to her son and he actually complied, my head spun and I had to keep myself from shouting, “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”
What’s a bonus minute and what magical powers does it possess? I couldn’t believe how this Super Mom had gotten her kid to agree and, more importantly, STICK TO a one-more-minute-rule.
So with the pride of a mom who has discovered THE Holy Grail of parenting tricks, my new idol happily explained to a silent and eager group of parents, that she uses bonus minutes to get her kid to do what she wants him to do.
For instance, instead of trying the almost-always-ineffective 1 more minute rule, she now lets her child believe he actually holds the power by giving him 3 minutes to play on the playground PLUS one bonus minute. It’s genius!
I mean, who doesn’t like getting a little extra sumpthin’, sumpthin’? A work bonus, Weight Watcher bonus points, the bonus round on a game show…bonuses rule! I mean, can you imagine going to Neimans and having the salesperson wrap up 3 pairs of Louboutins and a BONUS pair of Fendi motorcycle boots just to get you to leave in time for lunch and a nap??? So why not use the idea of bonuses on my son?
I tried it. And it works! Both of my kids have taken to the bonus minutes for everything from bonus TV time to bonus before-bed-books to bonus Superman flights on mommy’s feet (which I use to replace
kickboxing classes and pilates all forms of exercise).
So while my sweet husband is still trying to stomach the expense of private education, I’ve already gotten schooled on the playground. And that, my frustrated mommy friends, is a total bonus!