Last weekend we piled the kids into the car to visit some relatives we hadn’t seen in a while. It’s a rather long trip, but we took advantage of the long weekend to head out on Friday and return on Sunday.
My kiddos bicker. Constantly.
We weren’t even out of the driveway when my Patient Husband broke up a fight. Then he said, “I’m thinking of paying you guys a 25% bounty on your allowance if you’re quiet in the car.”
I said, “Actually — ”
Back in September, when we took two five hour plane trips, a friend suggested I bring a roll of quarters and pay the kids a quarter for every fifteen minutes they were quiet.
Coincidentally (by which I mean, “God looks out for fools, drunks, the United States of America, and me”) I’d driven the Kiddos to the mall the previous day for several coveted objects. One Kiddo had a gift card to spend, and the other two had saved their cash. Moreover, Kiddo#3, whose allowance is paid in quarters, had brought a plastic bag of coins to the mall, and then given it to me when I’d paid for the purchase with a credit card. I’d tossed the baggie onto my dresser, but just before leaving, I’d grabbed it, thinking, “Toll plazas.” Which has to have been a supernatural prompting, since we have an E-Z Pass.
I said, “We should make the goal posts closer together. A quarter for every half hour they’re quiet.”
The Kiddos embraced this idea with enthusiasm. I should add: quiet enthusiasm.
At $2 per hour we in the car, that meant $20 if everyone behaved perfectly. (I didn’t count rest stops into the half hours.) My sanity is well worth twenty dollars. My Patient Husband was Patiently Delighted with the plan, and we initiated it.
It worked. Like magic, it worked. Every half hour, someone would sing out, “It’s Quarter Time!” and out would come the bag of change.
“How was the trip?” asked their teachers on Monday.
The kids replied, “Mom’s into all this enrichment stuff. We just kept quiet and sat still.”
I’m the worst mom of the year. I bribed my children to keep quiet.
I don’t care.