Kim and I have a goal of getting our kids in bed by 8 pm on school nights. Any bed will do. We are not beyond bribing when Lost or The Office is on. Whatever it takes. Just find a bed, couch, or sleeping bag and keep it down.
On the weekends, we’re less structured and allow the kids to stay up later. When coercion and bribes have failed, I use the only tool I have left at my disposal: Offering piggy-back rides.
I don’t know what it is about a piggy-back ride, but the kids will do anything for them. Homework, chores, flushing the toilet – you name it and a piggy-back ride will get them in line faster than anything else I can offer.
The fact is I enjoy giving them to the kids. As long as they don’t strangle me by gripping my neck too tightly, enough oxygen gets to my brain and I’m able to make it through three tours for our three oldest.
I have to be careful to follow the exact same route through the house or I’ll be called out as having given a sibling a longer ride.
Tonight, Anna jumped on my back and I decided to change things up a bit. Lucky for me, Child Protection Services wasn’t in the neighborhood because I created a game called “Where Can Dad Put Your Bare Foot”.
The game isn’t complex. As Anna held on to my neck, I walked into the kitchen and held her foot under cold water from the tap. I then put it in the freezer and told her the microwave was next as she laughed and shrieked. She didn’t like the idea of her foot on the stove or in the toaster so merely walking towards both had the intended effect. How about a wet foot getting too close to a wall socket? I’m glad I was there to only simulate the shock!
Of course, Luca and Lincoln demanded the same level of danger on their rides. When I tried to substitute putting Lincoln’s foot in the dishwasher instead of on the stove he said, “Hey, Anna got to do the stove!!”
Games like this one and the Jaws of Death probably aren’t going to show up in any parenting magazines as recommended activities to do with your kids.
But I’m still convinced the games one makes up on the spot are the best.
When I dropped Anna off onto her bed, she gave me a kiss goodnight and asked if we could do it again tomorrow.
“Only if you’re not afraid of the waffle iron”