Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In which I accidentally introduce my children to S&M

About a month ago the fundraising scam book fair came to the kids' preschool. I generally hate the book fair. I think the selections cater to the lowest common denominator of interest; too many books are designed for mass appeal and are based on the kids' favorite TV shows. There's not much that could be considered literary. Plus, because the books are so cheap, I find they're cheaply made. But curmudgeonly though I may be, I do my part; I buy each child several books each year. Because, you know, it's for the kids. The school takes a percentage of each sale.

Last month I spied these two epic works:

and purchased them because I knew we could never consider our library complete without them. At $1 apiece they were perfectly priced for my Stash, and my Stash is one of my Foremost Philosophies of Parenting. A mama never knows when having a bribe reward on hand will be timely. I bought these two books before the girls even knew the book fair had commenced, and I stuck them in my glove compartment.

Have I told you that L has been being a bratty little brat in the car lately? She's not only embracing being Two, she's embracing being the Middle Child. Poor E, L is just torturing her. They sit inches apart and L kicks and pinches her big sister whenever she gets bored. I've driven while holding L's foot. I've confiscated her shoes. I've threatened to have their daddy rearrange their car seats so that their baby brother sits in the middle between them, but I'm loathe to follow through on that threat because I don't really want to have to lift the baby into the middle seat every time we get in the car. So last night I decided to get creative. Remembering those hidden books, I told L that if we got all the way home with no being mean to her sister, there would be a prize for both girls.

Well, that got their attention. What is it? Can I see it? Can we have it? E immediately bombarded me with questions. L was intrigued but E, who has been remarkably restrained in the face of her sister's instigation, was the child whose attention I had really captured. I told her it was a prize to help L behave, but that if there was no fighting they'd both benefit. More questions: is it because it's one prize we have to share? Is it because it's too big to hold? L was barely paying attention but E, who has been well behaved all along, was motivated.

Quickly, L grew bored again. She pinched her sister. Hard. I heard E start to yelp but she caught me looking in the rear-view mirror. She forced a grin on her face and faked a smile. Hee hee! It tickles! L looked confused. E said it again. It tickles! Now I give you a tickle pinch! See, Mama? She's not hurting me; we're just playing! E pinched L lightly. Now you give me light pinches on my arms! Now I'll give you soft kicks. Now you give me squeezies! But hard is okay, but not too hard! Soon they were mutually abusing each other, but it was by agreement.

They spent the last ten minutes of our drive fighting, but it was mutually choreographed fighting. Do this hard but only a little hard! Not too hard! No, pinch me on my arms first, then my legs! Give me pinchies now! I pulled into the driveway. They were both covered in red welts. They were both smiling and giggling. They fought the whole way home, but they did so together.

Mama! See? No crying girls? Do we get the prizes now?

What could I do? I gave them the books. Pin It