Sometimes I forget, because I don’t want to have kids, how good I am with them.
Last night I babysat and the kids and I ate pizza and salad for dinner. One of the kids, the 8-yr. old, had somehow gotten some of her pizza and a few pieces of lettuce on the floor.
“Wow, look what’s down there,” she said.
“I see. And you know you’re going to have to pick that up.”
“But I didn’t mean to drop it.”
“But I don’t wanna do it.”
“Well, thank you for offering, but that’s not an option.”
Negotiation, for me, at that point was over. I figured she knew what the expectation was and she could pick it up in her own time (or spend the rest of the night at the table, whichever).
About 10 minutes later, when the other 2 kids were done eating, they asked, “Can we have ice cream for dessert?”
I noticed that she still hadn’t picked the food up and I immediately remembered a story my dad told me from his days in the National Guard. During training, they’d have to carry 20 lb. packs on 20-mile hikes (or something like that). There was a time when one of the guys didn’t want to do it so the commanding officer said, “You know what? That’s okay. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off and relax? As for for everyone else, add 10 more pounds to your pack and add another 10 miles.”
That guy never asked off again.
In remembering that I realized I was presented with a gem, so this was my response,
“Yes, you can have ice cream as soon as she cleans up the mess underneath her chair.”
The floor was clean within 60 seconds.
If only I weren’t so contentedly self-absorbed, that could be my life all the time!