Today I ran a couple of errands with the kids. We struck out on our first two stops, at JCPenney and World Market, but were successful at our third, Meijer. Of course, Meijer had the easiest task: Stocking milk and eggs. The other two stores had a more difficult row to hoe: JCPenney needed to carry some cute maternity athletic pants (which they do not), and World Market needed to supply an (apparently) obscure Middle Eastern spice I'm looking for, Sumac (ditto).
But what I really want to mention about our errands is a special "Family Friendly" checkout lane I saw today at Meijer. I'd never heard of such a thing, so even though it meant waiting behind a lady with no family and a very very full cart, I was willing to give it a go. The premise is this: this particular checkout lane is not stocked with any sort of toys or candy, thereby reducing temptations for little ones. What they do not take into account, however, is that kids aren't only interested in toys and candy; Charis, for instance, is more than happy to while away our minutes in line playing with the bins of sundries like nail files and tweezers. And Judah isn't attracted to the candy bars, necessarily. He is also grabbed by small, brightly-colored bags of Trail Mix, which, while certainly a healthier option than a Kit Kat, are not something I'm going to spend money on. Long story short, I saw that the Family Friendly lane was every bit the minefield a normal checkout lane is, and I decided to go instead to the Express checkout lane, where there was no waiting. So while there was--gasp!--candy in the Express lane, we were not there long enough for it to tempt. We escaped the store without incident, and without candy. Take THAT, Family Friendly lane.
Speaking of avoiding candy, we've abandoned our sticker/sucker system of potty rewards.
It worked well enough in the beginning, when Charis was using the potty once a day. We can certainly allow one sucker a day for a reward. But when she started using the potty with more regularity (no pun intended) and was demanding several suckers a day, we knew something had to change. We shifted to smaller pieces of candy--whatever I had around--and that was fine, but she was still consuming more than her share of candy per day. Add to that the fact that if Charis has candy, Judah wants some, too, so then we had TWO battles to fight every time Charis used the toilet.
Two days ago, I had a brainstorm that seems to be working fairly well: pennies. Charis loves to put money in the piggy bank, so I decided to make that the reward. I counted out fifty pennies and put them in a bowl next to the piggy bank. Every time she uses the potty, she gets to put pennies into the bank. When she has transferred all of the pennies from the bowl to the bank, she gets to go pick out her very own candy bar at the store. That reduces us to candy every two weeks or so--certainly a much better ratio than 4 candies a day. Also, with pennies, we can subtract from the bank if she chooses not to use the potty as recommended, or up the ante with special large-amount penny rewards for bigger feats, like staying dry through the night.
So far, so good!