In terms of my parenting interventions turns out I can go pretty low. So last night one of my children, who will remain nameless, had to go to the bathroom. How do I know? Simple...she was doing that thing where she sits really still and looks like she is concentrating really hard on something. I asked her if she needed to go and I get the standard, "No", said with complete and utter disdain and of course the requisite roll of the eyes. A few minutes later she is doing it again. This time I tell her to go to the bathroom. Oh no mom, I don't have to go. Same thing a few minutes later. I tell her she needs to at least go and try...that if she holds it too long she could get an infection. Off she goes...I hear her go into the bathroom and close the door. I was only about 8 feet away from the bathroom...after the door closes there is silence. I don't hear her walking over to the toilet, I don't hear her moving around at all. A mere few seconds later she comes out telling me she tried and she didn't have to go...of course adding that she was right and I was wrong...again!
Shortly after her trip to the bathroom she is doing the weird sitting thing again. I tell her to go to the bathroom again. She reminds me that she doesn't have to go. I ask her if she really tried...for real. She said she did. I told her to look me in the eye and I asked her if she went in, pulled down her pants and undies, sat on the toilet and actually tried. Yup, she said. I knew she was lying. I am a mother...we ALWAYS know when they are lying. Truth be told it was kind of chilling how she was able to look me right in the eye and without breaking her gaze tell a bold faced lie. Again, truth be told I am not proud of the way I handled it. I have my degree in child development, I have been a preschool teacher and I have worked with children for 20 years now...I am better than this. But, I did it...I brought out the big guns. I know that it is over 6 months away but I brought the man himself into the mix...Yup, good old S-A-N-T-A! I did it... I asked her one more time, this time reminding her that Santa was listening. I have never seen a child jump off the couch and run to the bathroom with such speed. Now maybe it was because my allergies were making my head pound, maybe it was because I was pregnant and exhausted, maybe the thought of getting my huge belly off the couch to properly intervene and use this as a teachable moment about the importance of telling the truth was just too much work...either way, I got the result I wanted. Sometimes the good old fashioned threat of Santa not coming is enough. She went to the bathroom and I only had to exert a minimal amount of effort. Behavior modification at its best. Honestly, in the parenting world does it get any better?