Around here, if I need someone to help out extra special, or be on their best behaviour, I have found out a little incentive that goes a long way is the promise of a trip to the Dollar Tree Store.
Today we had to take baby Bella to the Orthopedic company about 45 minutes from home. The only appointment we could work into our schedule this week was an afternoon one for today, which immediately sounded like a precarious plan. Mostly, because the 5 youngest kids would be joining me.
Jeeves, my ever-present "Manny" (who hates when I call him that!), travels with me on these therapy/dr. appointment trips. The kids were hyped up, and pretty excited to be seeing the way they were going to cast Bella's feet to make her new braces. The ride up was loud. VERY loud. Taco Bell was finished, pop had been spilled and I needed an incentive - quick!!
"If we can all be on our best behaviour today, after the appointment with Bella we can go to the Dollar Tree!" I tried to sound really excited, because I needed them to buy into the idea. Shouts all around : "yay!!!!" The last 10 minutes of the ride was calmer!! It was working!!
After jumping and running around the office, they settled in fairly well (for them). The office staff is very nice and the guy making the braces didn't seem bothered to be tripping over 10 little feet and before we left he had given each of the kids a rubber glove to blow up like a balloon. Good times. On to Dollar Heaven, uh, Tree.
I think one of the reason's I will try to shop at this particular store more often than the ones closer to my home is because with all the things my kids handled and misplaced in the store today, not one of the staff said anything nasty, hateful or out of place. And a couple times they could have had plenty to say with good reason. Usually we leave this type of store with my head hung low, wishing my kids could show a little less enthusiasm when we were out and about. We already stand out enough, you know.
But after handling all the possible options, each kid picked out one new treasure, one item, each, to take on our beach trip friday and ALSO an ice cream treat that was just begging to be devoured immediately. I had the kids move to the side and begin their ice cream as the cart full of items were being rung up and bagged, while people all around us commented on how brave we were to take this many kids out shopping.
I really didn't have the guts to say I was just making good on a bribe, but instead, I smiled, my friend Jeeves commented "they are all hers, and there's 2 more at home!!", and I loaded the cart to head towards home. Opening my own ice cream - a nice drumstick with nuts on top!! - we corralled the 5 youngun's to the door, and my ice cream plopped off the top of the sugar cone, leaving me with only half the treat I suddenly realize I had a huge craving for!!
Oh, but getting in the car, happy, sticky, ice cream smeared faces and treasures in the bags, I drove home thinking, how bad is it really (?) to bribe kids for just a small treat from the dollar store? Even though it ended up being 3 treats each, and a half hour of clean up in the van once we pulled into our driveway at home, it was worth it. Every penny.
Because they were all smiling, or sleeping soundly, all the way home.