Winercise. It is the greatest thing of all time.
I lied. Many things are greater. But Winercise is one of my favorite things after a long list of necessities and major conveniences. I would not give up food for Winercise, but I *might* give up an air conditioned car during Utah summer for it.
Winercise happened when my friend had a baby. She had a baby, and we wanted to work out. So we started do exercise videos together in the evenings, and then we started having wine afterwards, and then sometimes it had been too hard of a day, so there was no exercise, but still with the wine. Mostly, though, it's a run or a video, and then wine. Jeremy coined the term. This is why I married him.
So tonight, Jeremy was gone, and Winercise was at my house. My children (*cough* Emmy *cough*) have not been super great at going to bed and staying in their rooms. In fact, they are terrible at it. They are masters at coming up with something just plausible enough that they can't quite be disciplined for getting up. Grace, for instance, knows that I have a soft spot for children with nightmares. I've had terrible, vivid nightmares for as long as I can remember, and so I'm overly sympathetic when she tells me she had a nightmare and can't go back to sleep. The other night, at 8:30, just two minutes after the last time I'd heard her finish a rousing rendition of "Jesus Loves Me," she came out to tell me she'd had a bad dream. That's when I knew she was playing me.
So, tonight. No Jeremy to field incoming children. Just me and my desperately needed exercise/social time (I joke about the wine, but mostly it's about the social time). I didn't know quite what to do.
This, my friends, is when bribery becomes very useful. It is not a parenting tool you should use often. Do you pull a sledgehammer out for drilling holes in walls, or hammering in nails? I do not think so, unless you are a contractor I hope to never hire.
No, the sledgehammer is a very specific tool. Use it too much, and you will get fired. Use it judiciously, and you have much power. Tonight I used the sledgehammer.
"Children," I said, just before bedtime. "Children, do you want a cookie with breakfast?" (we'd made cookies earlier this afternoon)
"YES GIVE THEM TO ME NOW"
"No, but if you want some for breakfast, hear my words." Grace is typically pretty attentive when I tell her to listen up, but Emmy is like a fly with ADD, at all times. Even she snapped to attention. Her head spun a full 180 degrees from whatever bizarre thing she was playing at the moment. "My friends are coming over. You may say goodnight to them when they arrive. But after that, do not come out of your rooms at all, except for legitimate bathroom usage."
They were still gaping at me, wondering when I would get to the part about the cookies.
"If you do this, you will get a cookie with breakfast."
They didn't say anything, but their faces said WHAT. "Yes. Cookies. With. Breakfast. Stay in your rooms."
I didn't really think it would work. I thought I would get at least four or five disturbances, despite the bribery, but it worked. IT WORKED. I came downstairs to get something ten minutes later, and it was dead silence. Grace was not fiddling with her farm animals in her barn. Emmy was not singing loudly about "You can do what you want to just go around and do what you want toooo!" (this is not an actual song; she just puts random phrases together in what must be a pleasing arrangement to her, and sets them to something tuneless and shouty) Complete calm. I resisted the urge to check on them and make sure they were alive.
Grace did come up the stairs once, but it was clear she was half asleep and confused ("I have drips. Here." She points to her foot, and she's wearing bright orange tights for no known reason. "It's okay, honey. We have a washing machine." "But I have drips." "It's all right, you can take them off or change if you want to." "Okay..."). I decided to still allow her the cookie.
Otherwise, they have remained in bed, quiet, since 7:30. This has not happened in at least a year. My friends, bribery is the answer. It works. It really works.