My wife, the mother of my darling children, has essentially instituted a system of bribery in an effort to get the kids to behave in the way that she'd like. I know, I know. I can hear your sharp intakes of breath and the collective clucking of tongues as I write this. However, I'm pretty sure all of you who are intaking your breath and doing the clucking of your tongues had your kids YEARS ago. Kids today are far more trickier. In the olden days, a simple threat of "Just WAIT 'til your dad gets home" was enough to straighten out most behavior, no matter how aggravating. That doesn't work these days. Between the much longer work hours (to take advantage of our overseas employees' time and running "lean") which frequently causes us dads to get home after the kids' bedtimes - or close to it, and the fact that our kids are networked to every OTHER kid in the WORLD via AIM, Facebook, and Texting...well, they have us trumped. They are like "The Borg." They can now analyze and detect a threat when they hear one and immediately adapt the appropriate counter-measure. Who's in YOUR network?
Also, my friend Melanie happens to be a psychologist and even she laments not being able to outsmart the kids. I don't know all the details about psychology, and I'm pretty sure that when they go to psychology school they have to sign paper-work where they agree to not give away the secrets of the field. Also, I believe that anytime someone starts getting close to discovering their secrets, one of the Psychologists writes a self-help book where they propose yet another way that you are not responsible for your problems...the masses are easily distracted by self-help books where things are not your fault...and the true secrets are safe for another 6 months!
However, and understand that this is just conjecture due to the secrecy surrounding psychology, I believe that it is possible for all psychologist to read your mind AND reprogram you through invisible rays they are able to emit from their eyes. It's ALWAYS the eyes. Never look a psychologist in the eyes unless you are CERTAIN they are on your side!
The point is, if a psychologist with brain reprogaming invisible eye rays admits that SHE can't outsmart her kids, WHY CAN WE NOT TRY BRIBERY!??!
I think I've made my point.
So, what my wife has come up with is a system of bribery she likes to call "Mommy Bucks." She likes to call it this, because that is the name...plus she actually made up some "Mommy Bucks" that look like this:
That is one stylin' mommy on that bill! The idea is that Dianne could award mommy bucks for unasked for good behavior. The unasked part is key. The bucks are awarded for things like cleaning something up without asking that doesn't belong to them, being exceptionally helpful to their sibling without being asked, taking care of a household need without asking, etc. You get the idea. At some point, an arbitrary number of mommy bucks (which have no cash value) can be exchanged for something. For the youngest, this something is usually some trinket or toy that is slated for "giveaway/throwaway" in the attic. Genius. No expense, even! This is taking "no cash value" to the next level! For the oldest, well, she's 13. There is almost no chance of her ever getting a mommy buck. We'll cross that bridge when we get there, I guess. If it should happen, I'm guessing a trinket from the attic won't really cut it.
So, in one respect, the "Mommy Bucks" have worked out pretty good. Rachel, the youngest, even tries to think of ways which might result in her gaining the coveted "Mommy Bucks." Take this example from this morning:
Dianne (Mom): Really. What is it this time?
Rachel: Everytime that you are practising the piano, and I don't BOTHER you, I could get a "Mommy Buck!"
Dianne: But, yesterday when I was practising you were CONSTANTLY trying to interrupt me to tell me something.
Rachel: I wanted to tell you about this "Mommy Buck" idea!
Gregg (Dad): (to Dianne) Ask her if she knows what irony is.
Dianne: (laughs, then, to Rachel) Do you know what irony is?
Rachel: (ignoring Dianne's comment - of course) I said BOTHER you. Telling you something important or something that is an emergency is still OK.
So, I guess that is a half-win, half-lose scenario. Rachel's got the right idea, but we need to work on what constitutes "an important/emergency."