Let me tell you a story about a little girl. This little girl was about two or three years old when her parents were trying to teach her how to write her name. This little girl happened to have her daddy wrapped tightly around her little finger, so naturally had the promise of a brand new baby doll as a reward for being able to write out her name for the first time. She sat in her seat at the kitchen table, crayon in hand, concentrating over her paper and slowly and carefully wrote out her name. Later that day, she was taken to the toy store and the new doll was hers. Plus a bag of M&Ms.
A couple of days later, a thought occurred to the little girl. She looked at her new doll and remembered the M&Ms and went to find a piece of paper. She got up in her seat with her paper and crayon and try as she might, she just could not write her name again. She called for her daddy and showed him how distressed she was that she could no longer write her name. She was really upset about it! He showed her again, slowly forming the letters on the paper so that she could watch, but when it was her turn to try, she still couldn’t do it. The little girl started crying and her daddy comforted her. He reassured her that she could do it, but she was still so upset. Trying to make her feel better, he told her that if she could just try again, he was sure that she’d be able to write her name and when she did, they could go pick out a new toy. Wiping tears from her face, the little girl picked the crayon back up and sure enough, wrote out the five letters making up her name. Later that day, she was taken back to the toy store and picked out another new toy. And a bag of M&Ms.
The little girl grew into a bigger little girl. Big enough to have an allowance if she helped out with the house cleaning. The allowance came from her daddy and she was quickly able to get it increased from the original $2 each week, to $5 and eventually up to $10. One Friday evening as she was cleaning the bathtub, a thought occurred to her. She put down her sponge, grabbed a pen and paper and did a full inventory of the house, making notes as she assessed each area. When her daddy got home from work, she proudly presented him with a comprehensive price list for cleaning every piece of furniture, appliance, nook and cranny in the house. He looked at her quizzically and she happily explained that it no longer cost $10 for the weekly housecleaning. Her time was very valuable and this was a much more fair and accurate approach for her to be compensated based on the true volume of work that she put in. According to this list, she could now do about two hours of cleaning and make up to $50. The beauty of it was that in her current allowance bracket, she was cleaning for about an hour or more and only getting $10 each week. In her new fee schedule, something like dusting off her parents’ dresser cost $10 and only took her about ten minutes. Genius! A true and determined entrepreneur, she somehow managed to convince her daddy to go along with this and the next day, she made sure that he brought the price sheet with him to work so that he could make copies and bring them back home. From then on, every Friday she’d do her cleaning and present her daddy with the bill when he got home. And every Friday, he’d pay up.
I could give you more examples, but I think you get it. The little girl was giving her parents a run for their money. Literally. Well, the little girl grew up into a mommy and now has two little girls of her own. As karma would have it, one of the little girls seems to take after her mommy. She goes by the name of Little Boo and has been playing her mommy for two years and three months…
At six weeks, I started trying to give LB a bottle so that she could get used to bottle feeding and be ready to go to daycare at twelve weeks. LB did not just refuse to take a bottle; she would stiffen up, turn bright red and scream bloody murder the second that she saw a bottle coming near her. I tried all different bottles, tried having other people feed her without me in the room, tried feeding her when she was hungry, feeding her when she wasn’t hungry, feeding her when she was sleeping, you name it. Nothing worked. I felt hopeless for weeks and finally just three days before I was supposed to return to work, I made a panicked call to my boss telling her that I needed more time. I could not stand the thought of leaving her at daycare, not feeling confident that when it came time to eat, she’d take the bottle without a problem. Miraculously, that very night LB took a bottle for the first time and for the next two weeks I was able to give her a couple of bottles every day. I had peace of mind and an extra two weeks of maternity leave and she had more time with her mommy.
Here we are two years later and the babe who absolutely refused bottles is now refusing to give them up. We’re on day four of a cold turkey ban on bottles and she still will not drink her milk out of a sippy cup. Or so it would seem. It turns out that Little Boo is trying to run a long con on me. She was able to stall taking bottles as a baby for almost six whole weeks and now she’s trying everything she can to do the exact opposite when we’re trying to take them away. Except, she’s drinking her milk out of a sippy cup at daycare with no complaints. She even drank one cup of milk on Thursday with OB while they were waiting for me to get home from work. She thinks that she can wear me down and get me to cave and bring her a bottle. She won’t even take one sip of her milk when I give it to her, but it’s because she thinks I’m soft!
I guess she doesn’t know who she’s up against. Sorry Little Boo, but your mama invented this game. And everybody knows… you can’t con a con.