Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Magical Goodness of Cake

Cake. Everybody loves cake. For this fact, I am on-my-knees-in-reverent-appreciation grateful.

I am a flawed being. I make mistakes with amazing precision and regularity. I've been messing up since I was a small child and I don't see this engrained character trait changing anytime soon.

I am human. Making mistakes is what I do best.

Discovering North America was a mistake. So was the discovery of penicillin, the telephone and super glue. Making mistakes isn't always a bad thing, but when it comes to raising children, let's face it. Whether the little ones were planned or not, we try to do this parenting thing right.

The biggest mistake I've made recently is inadvertently rewarding bad behaviour. There have been a few behavioural issues around here that need to change (as in like yesterday) before uniformed professionals come to take someone away. That person will most likely be me. Some things have been simmering into what has become small grease fires, other things have violently erupted recently. This combination of petty annoyances that I've come to expect, mixed with behaviour that is totally out of character has become an intolerable situation.

I don't do Intolerable Situation. Something has to give and seeing that I own the house, I nominate the little folk. And I have a plan to blow the winds of change through here like an F5 tornado.

Some say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I don't think I can wait that long. Rather than trying to undo and modify undesirable behaviour in children that do not understand the concepts of consequence and reason, my plan is to encourage neighbourly traits like playing fair, sharing and honesty by catching the little folk in the act of being good. I hereby declare November as "Do-Dee-Do Unto Otters" month for us.

I only need three things. Paper... Check.    A box... Check.    Willing participants... Damn and Crap!

What can I use to get the kids to participate in my attempt to reclaim daycare zen? Oh, I know! Cake! Everybody loves cake! The winner of the Do-Dee-Do challenge gets to pick out their favourite cake (and share it with the daycare, of course). This suggestion is met with enthusiastic cheers and cries of "Pick me! Pick me!"

Willing participants... Check.

The "Do-Dee-Do" challenge works like this:

Print out tickets, aka Otter Points.

Give one to the child who is using the traits described in the book. Help them write their name on the ticket and put their otter points ticket in the box.

Otter points cannot be taken away, but no one gets any without earning them.

At the end of the month, count the tickets. The child with the most otter points wins.

The change is immediate! I am pleasantly relieved and impressed to see the preliminary trials have already been effective. While it may be a huge mistake to reward young children with a hearty helping of cake, I'm willing to take my chances if it results in change that is ultimately better for everyone. It's amazing what a kid will do for cake!

It's true! With a little creative thought, you can have the cake and eat it too!

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