Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Power Of Yes

Last night for Hanukah, we gave the kids books. In past years, we’ve given solely books, figuring that they get so many toys for Christmas, books are an easy thing to buy 8 of, and it freshens up the old bookshelves in just over a week.

Besides, after our first night of the donations (described in my “Best Laid Plans” blog), MLB and I needed a safe evening.

Tonight however, we decided to walk on the wild side again. Thanks to MLB’s creative gift-giving prowess (see “Mary Christmas” blog), she came up with an idea that cost us nothing (except patience) and the kids had a ball.

After lighting the candles and blessing them, we handed each kid an envelope. Of course Monkey Boy’s first reaction was “Are you making us give away money again?”

After assuring him we weren’t (to which he responded he would be OK with adopting more manatees – I think he secretly still aspires to having his name engraved in a plaque on Floyd’s tank), he opened his envelope to reveal Mom and Dad Coupons.

It was a booklet of 5 homemade coupons – 2 redeemable for an extra dessert, 2 redeemable for an extra bedtime story, and 1 redeemable for an extra 15 minutes of television. Monkey Boy read them aloud for Peanut who wasn’t sure she understood the concept.

Since we had just finished dinner and dessert, Monkey immediately ripped out a coupon for extra dessert and helped himself to an extra piece of cake. Clearly, HE understood the concept.

Peanut thought about redeeming one of hers for an extra slice of pumpkin pie (monkey see, monkey do – she’ll usually do what her brother does). But she was really quite full from dinner and the slice she already ate so we talked her out of it.

We hung out for a while after dinner. I played Digimon Rumble on the GameCube with Monkey Boy while MLB played Barbie Fashion Show with Peanut on the computer. Two Christmas presents the kids were dying to play with.

After play time, Peanut was digested enough to start thinking about pumpkin pie again. She forked over one of her dessert coupons and indulged. If Peanut was not getting the concept initially, she was now with the program.

When we herded the kids to bed, instead of protesting and beginning their usual stall tactics, Monkey and Peanut both whipped out their 15 minute TV coupons. They were feeling the power.

After 15 minutes of tube time, we finally got them into bed. Just as I tuck Monkey Boy in, he holds one finger in the air.

“May I get out of bed for a minute?” he asks.

While I was ready for bed myself, I knew what was coming. And he knew I couldn’t say no.

I nodded and he leapt from his bed to his desk where his coupon book lay. He forked over one of his book coupons and away we went into a bedtime story. In the other room, I heard MLB laugh as Peanut pulled the same routine.

After our books, as I tucked Monkey into bed once more, he said “I love these coupons. You guys have to do what the coupon says!”

I’m not sure what lesson was taught tonight. I’m not sure there was one.

One thing’s for sure, now that they’ve had a taste of the power these coupons give them, I’m thinking we go for TWO nights of coupons next year.

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