Last Sunday I was at my wit’s end. The girls had been fighting for days and it was not stopping. Bird gave Mare a bloody nose on Saturday. Mare bit Bird’s finger on Sunday. And that is just two examples – there were more. It was relentless.
Bird asked as I was making dinner on Sunday if we could go to church. Um, well. I had planned on us all going to the pool, but, sigh, ok. She and I would go to the 6:00 pm mass. Mare heard this and decided she wanted to go too. That idea did not go over well with Bird. I knew perfectly well that the only reason Bird wanted to go was to be alone with me. And the only reason Mare wanted to go was to prevent that. But I told Bird that I could not tell a child that they couldn’t go to mass with me, no matter their motives. Bird wailed the whole way to church and my nerves were frazzled.
While in church, I reflected on all the fighting and decided on a plan. As we exited, I told them that I had come up with a reward system to stop the fighting. If there were no fights that included any kind of bodily harm, I would take them to see the knew Nanny McPhee movie the next weekend (obviously we don’t go to many movies in the theater – this wouldn’t work for every family.) They were thrilled. They got along beautifully the rest of the evening. Monday was wonderful as well. Tuesday we had a flare up that resulted in a slap; Mare teased, Bird lost her cool. I lost it because of *my* disappointment. It had been so nice! But after running upstairs when I told them they had “ruined” the plan (I know – mature use of words on my part) they quickly got over it and were upstairs talking. What? Unheard of. Usually I would be hearing slamming doors at this point. So I went up and told them that since they had sorted out their differences so quickly, I would give them back the movie if the rest of the week went perfectly. But no popcorn or drinks since they did slip up. Yeah – I know. Not exactly consistent. But the progress! I couldn’t bare to take away the goal completely when it had been working so well.
And perfect it has been. No fighting at all. Amazing how they can turn it off. Mare was tired last night (Thursday) and tried to tease Bird. I heard Bird tell her repeatedly “I’m asking you to stop Mare! Just stop”. This response from Bird is unheard of. It is how I have trying to get her to respond for years. Mare wasn’t stopping, but luckily I got there in time to intervene, and we continued on towards our goal.
The result has been a more pleasant household all around. No screaming. No bickering. I’m not on edge. John’s not on edge. Bliss.
I can only hope I keep bribing them into getting along. We are approaching the holiday season, so plenty of movies should be coming out. And someday? This bribe might be come a habit.