Bribe Not Accepted

Once upon a time I lived in Mozambique. Antonio was a superhero of the Port. He had a friend on every shift and ably imported every vehicle for the staff at the Embassy and every endless shipment of household goods. For 20 years he built contacts, no, relationships, over forms and customs fees.

Fees. You might not know that we don’t pay bribes to expedite shipments for our folks overseas. It’s not uncommon to wait four months for your own sheets and towels, the anniversary espresso machine you got from Aunt Cindy, practically all of your clothes (is that a hole in my favorite sweater?), and, in some places, the 1000 rolls of toilet paper you’ve imported in anticipation of certain scarcity. A gift at Christmas, certainly, but we don’t come to an understanding, expedite, or grease the wheels. I’m an optimist.

In fact, bribery doesn’t actually work on everyone. You knew this, of course you did. For instance, my child is absolutely immune to bribery. She’s immune to incentives. There’s some mystical formula that results in her doing something when I ask her to do it but I’m pretty sure it involves the phase of the moon in relation to the growth of an obscure moss in Peru. If there is a bribe that RR will respond to, I haven’t found it.

So here I am, at home. At home instead of at work. Setting a timer over and over while my almost four-year-old (28 days and counting) tries to figure out how her bladder works. I’ve done the math – since Saturday I’ve heard the timer go off 96 times. Another 96 if you count the times the “it’s okay to get up now” bell has gone off. It’s working when nothing else would. We had to retreat to the small, standalone potty and put it about four feet away from her, but she’s starting to get it.

Yesterday, she went to school in the morning and we retrieved her after a midday email saying that she’d peed through four outfits in as many hours. That’s backward progress and, to be honest, Debra and I are done. So here we are at home, trying to make the seemingly impossible connection between internal triggers and bodily functions. Today’s achievement (so far): mama! when I cross my yegs I have to go!! Once I helped broker a peace treaty. This was way more rewarding.

Speaking of rewards – blue lollipops seem to do the trick.

blu tongue

P.S. Is it dirty pool that I’m feeding her popcorn to get her to drink more? I don’t even recognize myself anymore…

5 Responses

  1. Fingers crossed that this does the trick! Good luck!

  2. Without the bribes, I’d have no workable parenting technique. Good luck.

  3. That picture is adorable!! I’m glad to hear the timer is working, and she’s definitely making progress. I actually let the boys have watered-down juice whenever they wanted, just so they’d drink more during potty-training. Good luck!

  4. We’re also potty training. Bribery and corruption are rife. Stickers are the ultimate currency for bribing the twins. Thomas the train stickers are my secret weapon for when I nees big incentives.

    Today I washed poo out of underpants and scooped more poo out of the bath. I give up!

  5. Ugh. I am not looking forward to this time period in my house! I am amazed at your perserverence and that in the picture above, you are smiling still and not wearing some sort of permanent grumpycat-esque face. An inspiration.

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