Monday, November 29, 2010

A little too young for the "Little Red Hen"

Valerie dumped out her crayons, then asked me for candy.

I told her she could have one piece of candy, but she had to clean up the crayons first. She started singing the "clean up" song, which gave me hope for a minute that she might actually do it, but she didn't even open the crayon tub. She just wandered back and forth across the floor, scattering crayons in every direction, happily singing the "clean up" song.

I spent about five minutes trying to explain to her that I wanted her to actually put the crayons in the tub, and that no, she couldn't have a candy until she did it. I finally offered to help her do it, and started cleaning up the crayons myself. I kept asking her to help, reminding her that she couldn't have a candy if she didn't help, only people who helped put away crayons could have candy. I cleaned up as slowly as I could, giving her ample opportunity to help.

Then all the crayons were put away, and I was faced with a dilemma. Consistency is key, right? Follow through with promises and threats? So, I got myself a piece of candy. I told her I was having a candy because I had put the crayons away. And I ate my candy, and I didn't give her any. And she started to cry.

I don't think she understood what was going on. So instead of teaching her a valuable lesson, I just ate candy in front of her and didn't share.

I hope one of us learned something today.


nosce said...

You know, at this age I often forget how young Iris really is. After she tossed a cheese stick wrapper over her shoulder with great abandon last week I launched into a lecture about how she is an owner of this home too and needs to take care of it, so please throw your wrappers in the garbage. My husband overheard me, reminded me that she's only two and has no concept of stewardship. Sigh. One can dream, right?

Lesson learned, mama. There's always tomorrow. And tomorrow, she'll be just a wee bit older to boot. :)

Alana said...

I would have done the same thing. I don't think she's too young to understand what happened. There have been many times when I had to follow through on something which resulted in tears and I thought, maybe I'm being too hard. Then, the next time the behavior came along, it was corrected. Time will tell, see what happens the next time you ask her to clean something up. She just might hop to it.