Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Piggy Bank Discipline

In keeping with my new motto (Claudia Marie: ruining one kid's life since 2005), I tried a new disciplinary tactic yesterday.

To take you back to the beginning, we are having some trouble with hair-related implements around here. If my daughter does not approve of how I fix her hair in the morning, she somehow gets a teacher-type person to re-do it at some point in the day. Other times, she simply rips out the ponytail holder, barrette, whatever, and shoves it in her backpack. Her goal is to look like a homeless street urchin by the time I arrive on the blacktop at 3:33 p.m. She is successful more days than not. My daughter has curly hair that does, in my book, require some taming. And believe me, I try my best, but she is pretty determined. A future hippie, perhaps.

On Monday night, we went to Target and I bought her some new headbands and ponytail holders. She clutched them to her chest and grinned as though I'd made all of her dreams come true. We talked about how she would try harder to take care of these items, as they always seem to have a tendency to snap and jump off her head - completely of their own volition. "It broked all by itself!"

Fast forward to Tuesday after school. I arrived at the blacktop at the appointed time. Who came running towards me, you ask? Homeless street urchin. I frowned.

"Where is your new headband?"

She looked down at her shoes. "Um, in my bag. I broke it."

I sighed. Like most parents, I have grown a wee bit weary of buying things that are on the curb in a garbage bag within 24 hours of leaving the store. So, this is where I introduced the questionable parenting tactic.

"Okay," I said. "I'm taking one dollar out of your piggy bank to pay for the headband you broke."

Much wailing ensued. "Not my money! Not my mooooooooooooney, Mama!"

Then I pulled out the time-tested response that my mother used. "Why are you crying? I'm the one who should be crying!"

When we got home, I headed straight to her room and up-ended her piggy bank (which is actually a doggie bank if you want to be technical about it). I counted out ten dimes. It occurred to me briefly that I should actually take $1.30, because that would buy me two Diet Pepsi's from the machine at work. But, the deal was for one dollar. A perched on a plastic IKEA stool and watched, whimpering all the while.

Honestly, I have no idea if this tactic will make a difference or not. She is planning to blow the money in her bank on a trip to Toys R Us after her birthday passes in May, so I think she is at least aware that a dollar's a dollar. Or, maybe not. She saw me buying a 100-calorie pack at the grocery store and kept exclaiming, "THOSE COOKIES COST ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!?"

In any case, she can work it all out in therapy when she's older . . . or, maybe she will be too busy following what's left of the Grateful Dead around, with her unfettered curls bouncing behind her as she dances around a fire in a skirt that reeks of patchouli . . .


Audreee said...

I just don't see what is so wrong with being a hippy chick. A is a free spirit, I tell ya.

Anonymous said...

I have to go with A on this one- those headbands do break all by themselves. Let her look like a street urchin trust me people will be too dazzled by her personality to worry about her hair. I am looking at a picture of a certain mama from 6th grade and heaven forbid her hair is falling out of her barrettes.

Jodi said...

Great story!!! I love how you write, Claudia!!! :)