Today’s topic is: “What was the hardest part of being a kid?”
For my 2- and 3 1/2-year-old daughters, there are several tough things about being young. Not being big enough to drive the car. Not being allowed to choose your own bedtime. Having to get out of the bathtub, ever. But I may have discovered a great new way to solve two major issues at once: learning patience and helping out around the house without complaining.
I call them **FIVE-STAR PRIZES**.
I took a half sheet of paper and put each child’s name at the top. Then I drew five large boxes in a row. Finally, I taped them to the refrigerator door, at little girl’s eye level.
Each day, when a child does something truly helpful for either of her parents, she earns a star in one of the boxes. Every day, she counts how many she has earned and how many she still needs. After five days (or more, if she skips helping for a day), she gets a really big prize.
Having both children participating at the same time helped motivate our less-enthusiastic helper. She wanted to be sure she got her prize on the same day as her younger sister.
After they earned all five stars (on the same day), I presented them with a new identical pair of baby dolls that I found at a second-hand store last week. They are soft and huggable (and machine washable). I let the girls look through my button box and choose which color eyes they wanted their babies to have. Then we spent the rest of the day trying out names for each of the twins.
I told them that sometimes parents name twins with names that rhyme. But when they suggested names like Ooguldy and Booguldy, I mentioned that some babies are named after flowers (Rose, Daisy, Petunia) or things in nature (River, Leaf, Aspen, Otter, Summer, Autumn) or even fruits (like Apple Paltrow). By bedtime, the twin’s official names had been decided.
Introducing Kiwi and Apple DeCook and their proud new mami and papi. (I can’t really explain why one of my daughters wants to be the dad, so I’m just letting them run with it. They say mami and papi because of Dora the Explorer.) At night, the girls brushed the twins teeth before their own and headed upstairs to sleep with their new favorite babies.
So for $3 each and four mismatched buttons, I got two extra pairs of hands while weeding the garden and didn’t have to unload the dishwasher or vacuum for a whole week. Everybody wins!
The trick will be to figure out what the next FIVE-STAR PRIZE will be. Please share your ideas in the comments.
~ Phoebe DeCook