Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bribery: It Works

Little something I want to tell all you moms who are brand new at this whole jig.

(My disclaimer I put in every post: I've been a mom for five years.  I really don't know shit. But I do know slightly more than I knew five years ago.  There ya have it).

Somewhere, along the way in your parenting journey, you'll stumble across people who act like "bribery" is a four letter word.  It is not (um, hel-lo, b-r-i-b-e-r-y.  It's a seven letter word.  Duh).  They will act like bribing a kid to be quiet in church or to finish their dinner is synonymous with giving them the go-ahead to commit a mass murder.

These people?  They are wrong. 

Bribery works, y'all.  And it works well.  Oh.Yes.It.Does.

Think about it like this: we convince adults to go to work and do something they really don't want to be doing for eight hours a day, five days a week by bribing them with the promise of a paycheck at the end of two weeks.  We bribe adults with the knowledge that they'll own a vehicle out right after making monthly payments on it for six years.  Bribing does not set kids up for entitlement.  It merely prepares them for responsibility.  And that's some real talk, y'all.

I started working on potty training K1 before his third birthday.  He did great.  Three days of sitting him on the throne every 15 minutes and - Voila! - he was going on his own, not having accidents, just merely being King of the Toilet.  Way to go K, way to go Mom.

Then.  For whatever reason, he regressed.  At least one accident a day.  Wanting to wear pull ups all day long (I'm not one of those who swears off pull ups -- but we only use them for nighttime and going in public until I'm 110% confident that we can go to Walmart without me having to haul ass to the bathroom and peel wet clothes off a tiny body).  I was frustrated, aggravated, irritated, agitated -- you pick the adjective that ends in -ated.

But.  When all else fails (or if you're smart just do it the first time) bribe.

We promised the kid he could pick out a new toy car if he could go a full week without having an accident.  And guess what?

He's the proud owner of a new car that he swears is Chick Hicks -- just in yellow -- and I'm the proud Mom of a kid who hasn't had an accident in three weeks.


P.S. If you leave me a comment telling me your kid was potty trained in 15 minutes when they were 18 months old, I will punch you in the babymaker.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Small Town Southern Man

And he bowed his head to Jesus
And he stood for Uncle Sam
And he only loved one woman
He was always proud of what he had
He said his greatest contribution
Is the ones he'll leave behind
Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town southern man

I don't remember who started it or when it started.  But every Christmas, PawPaw ended up with a bow on his head.  We have pictures - year after year - with a red bow or a partially smooshed silver one, maybe a green ribbon or something in shiny gold perched on top of Pawpaw's head.  As the years went by, his hair got thinner and he went from looking like the Pawpaw of our childhood to more like his own daddy, our Granddad.  But the bow.  It was always there.  Always.

My PawPaw passed away last Wednesday, the 10th.  He won't be unwrapping presents or eating ham with us this Christmas.  In fact, Christmas this year will probably be quite sad.  I'm hoping, though, as he's celebrating the birth of the Savior from his perch in Heaven, when he looks down on our celebration, that he'll have a bow on his head.  That is my favorite PawPaw memory.  That bow, that's how I always want to remember my PawPaw.

I'll remember bowls of ice cream or cornflakes for a night time snack. I'll remember dominoes played on an old piece of cardboard.  I'll remember helping pick up eggs and feeding the fish in the pond.   I'll remember all you can eat catfish.  I'll remember riding in an old pickup truck with the windows down and a dog in the bed as we went to pick up something from the feed store or the hardware store.  I'll remember fried fish and homemade ice cream.  I'll remember the "no Whammy, no Whammy, no Whammy!" show and westerns on the TV.  (To be honest, there are only a handful of things that I can ever remember being on my grandparents' TV: a gameshow of some sort, a western of some sort, Law & Order, the Cardinals, wrasslin', and . . . Howard the Duck.  It still makes me giggle when I think of how my PawPaw liked that movie).

My PawPaw was a great man.  Everyone who came to comfort us, grieve with us, and show us their love in the past several days has reiterated that over and over: "Dollen was a great man."  And he was.  He was a hard worker with an amazing and impressive work ethic.  He loved my grandmother fiercely and all he seemed to ever want out of life (other than perhaps a new llama or a set of peacocks -- both animals they  had on their farm at different points) was for my MawMaw to be happy.

We know our PawPaw is in a better place.  We know he is.  He knew he was going "home" and even let his minister know that he was ready.  He's with his parents.  His body is free of pain.  There is a lot of comfort in knowing we'll see him again one day.  But it's still sad.  It's sad that J may very well be the only of my children who remembers his PawPaw -- and his memories of him will not be strong and vivid.  It's sad that my grandmother lost her husband, who was once the boy she and her own Daddy picked up hitch hiking, of 59 years.  It's sad that such a great God-fearing, salt of the Earth man is no longer in this world.  It's just sad and it hurts and it sucks.

His legacy speaks for itself: three daughters, six grandchildren, ten great grandchildren, and a church full of lives he touched and people who loved him.  This world had him for 81 years.  He was my PawPaw for 31 years.  And while I wish we could have another decade (two, really, or perhaps even three.  Four?) with him, I realize how fortunate we were to have him as long as we did.  How fortunate we all were and are that he is our PawPaw and that we had him in our lives for as long as we did.

He said it's alright cause I see angels
And they got me by the hand
Don't you cry and don't you worry
I'm blessed and I know I am
'Cause God has a place in Heaven
For a small town southern man