Reward your inner toddler

Some people you just like instantly. Even if you’ve only met them online through their blogs.

This summer, my friend Isobel introduced me via email to Susie who is an artist and a writer. She is the same age as I am, and a mother of two kids who are the same ages and genders as mine. Now I read her blog, Inner Toddler. She’s so funny and real, I feel like she’s a friend.

I loved Susie’s idea to let her son give HER stickers for good behavior, and I want to give it a try. Who cares if it doesn’t last? Sometimes just a few days on a new kick can infuse a new strain of glee into my dynamic with my kids. I can’t do it justice by summarizing Susie’s post, so I’m just going to reprint her whole post here:

Nothing Sticks

We used to put star stickers on a calendar for my son when he had a whine-free day or some such other amorphous distinction. And we’d give him a monster sticker if he was bad. Or we’d threaten the monster sticker. He used to completely come apart at the very thought of a monster sticker on his calendar to the point where I just didn’t have the heart to ever give him one. Anyway, it never really worked, the whole sticker thing. Mostly because the reward was not for something concrete (really, is there ever a whine-free day? Let’s be honest with ourselves…). I could see how stickers might work for making your bed or brushing your teeth—these are measurable behaviors. Not for the absence of whining. But we also weren’t especially consistent, plus I could never follow through with the monster. Too damaging. I had wanted simple green dots and red dots but couldn’t find any. The monsters were actually super cute. Mrs. Grossmans. Love that woman. What’s my point here…

Anyway, a few weeks ago I turned around and told my son that he could give me stickers every time I did my workout video on a given day. It lasted for about three days. It appears that nothing really motivates me to exercise. Not even stickers. Plus, my two kids always felt compelled to do the exercises with me and I was often scared of dropping a weight on someone’s tiny toes. But the sight of the two of them, often naked, flinging their arms around and doing kicks and poses, looking from the TV to me and back to the TV—I could hardly contain my laughter. But even that’s not enough to make me exercise every day.

Oh Susie, I haven’t exercised for at least 16 days. You are not alone.

If you love Susie now, buy her artwork. Or read her blog.

MishMish Studio Artwork by Susie Lubell

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.