Experiment: Day 1

Posted by on Jun 27, 2011 in Mothering | 2 comments

My kids are probably like your kids.  Or maybe your kids get along all the time and the only thing they drop on each others’ heads are kisses and sunshine.

The past few weeks around here have reminded me more and more of the epic battles of my childhood, the one that involved who would win at selecting the Saturday morning cartoon. We didn’t own a remote control and, in fact, our screen often flickered down to one small line of indistinguishable nothingness without any warning.  We would pound the back of the television with our tiny fists until the image popped back out.  It was amazing the kind of force we could muster when tv was involved. Whoever was currently winning Battle TV would position themself directly in front of the screen while essentially hugging it so that the other person both could not see the screen and could not change the channel buttons. Of course, the other person could never do those things AND beat the person who was almost watching television at the same time.  We were ruthless.  There was sometimes bleeding.  It was always really violent, but carefully never loud enough for the parents to intervene.

That last part there is where the four-year old and two-year old who currently reside in our home are different.  They haven’t learned how to be quiet about it. Instead they scream. They holler. They hit and kick and punch and moan and sometimes, she bites. It is never over the television.  It is usually about Piper wanting to play with Gideon but him not having the time to spare making his Lego creations. And it always makes me feel crazy. I ask myself the same question mothers everywhere and Rodney King have asked themselves.  Why can’t they just get along?

Initially they can’t get along because they are self-centered little sinners who have no power to overcome their flesh on their own.  But things have changed there for him, I think. Not for her, yet, although we are praying.

In an attempt to regain my sanity, I decided to see if a reward could change the game.  All the discipline after the fact and all the discussions on the topic have, to date, net me zero. The Sunday sale papers proved just the right impetus for the experiment. Slip and Slide meet the coveted status of four and two-year old desire.

It works like this: If the children can go an entire day without fighting with one another, they will get a star for the day.  Once they have accumulated seven stars, we will buy the slip and slide.

They agreed to the terms yesterday and I figured this was going to be an exercise in futility.

Until today happened.

And they did not actually fight with each other, save one tiny mishap with a reminder about the prize about 8:30 in the morning.  They are both in bed right now and there is nothing but stars in their eyes.

I’ll let you know when they earn another one.


  1. Good idea, Kim! It’s amazing how our sinful nature needs a lot of help. I’ll keep this idea in mind.

  2. My older two actually do get along amazingly well. They’re really weird, and I count myself extra-blessed. The third one is more of a fighter, but she hates stars, LOL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *