(*may cause side effects, including loss of freedom)
Being a mom of six little children in this day and age makes me a little paranoid about going out in public. In this climate where one’s kids can be taken for some anonymous stranger-perceived “neglect” I try to make sure my kids don’t look “neglected.” This can be hard to accomplish with a son who refuses to wear long pants or long sleeved shirts in the dead of winter, or a two year old who insists on dressing herself (which means pj bottoms, a dress and a backwards shirt to top it off). Not to mention that no matter how long it’s been since our last meal, someone’s got a carrot moustache or something sticky in her hair.
One particular morning I had to run down to the county office to take care of something, bringing all the kids with me. I emphasized the importance of cleanliness and order, commanded that The Boy put on weather-appropriate clothing, and explained that I did not want people to think that my family wasn’t taken care of, especially when we are going to a government office.
Once there, I
bribed engaged cooperation during the wait by promising a peppermint candy after each 5 minutes of sitting still. They went along with the game and received their reward, and halfway through the second five minutes my two year old piped up, “Mommy, I want another govern-mint.”