Bribes work great when you are dealing with 5 year-old girls.
My sister, Faustina, is extremely strong willed and bossy. She never does what I ask her to do without some sort of “inspiration.” So, I have come up with some good bribes that work almost all the time.
One of the most common bribes I use for Faustina is a free makeover. This includes eye shadow, lip gloss, blush, and on the rare occasions, mascara. She is not allowed to wear mascara because when she starts crying, it runs all down her face, and she can turn on tears like you turn on a faucet. She picks out the exact color of each, and if I make the slightest change, the entire opportunity is lost.
I used this the other day when I wanted to help her choose an appropriate outfit to wear. You never know what kind of attire this child has planned for the day. She did what I asked, and I started the makeover. She wanted bright blue eyeshadow to go with a dress she was going to wear. She wanted dark lip gloss and terribly gaudy purple blush.
As I was working on the eye shadow, my hand slipped, and I got some up in her eyebrow. I tried to fix it by doing it on the other side. When she went to look in the mirror, she had a horrified face, looked at me and said, “You just want me to be ugly!”
Another successful bribe I use is to bake something with her. She always wants to bake the same things which are blueberry muffins or brownies. I am sure it is because those make the tastiest batter. One day after she had been hurt by Simeon and was wailing with her ear-piercing scream and faucet of tears, I asked her if she would want to make muffins. Miraculously she instantly stopped crying, ran to get her stool and had it pushed up to the counter in 30 seconds.
Baking with Faustina takes great amounts of patience. She is super controlling and wants to be in charge of every little step. She watches you like a hawk to make sure you aren’t doing one step without her. She wants to crack the eggs, measure the salt, unwrap the butter and put it in. I can’t even put in the vanilla by myself. She starts doing taste tests after the butter and sugar are creamed. By the time we are ready to fill the muffin tins, we are short at least a muffin or two’s worth of batter.
Then she and I fight over who gets to lick the bowl or the spoon and beater. She always calls the bowl, so I make sure the spoon is full. This rarely gets past her.
The most recent good bribe discovery is playing games. She loves Memory Match and Sorry, so I tell her if she gets ready for bed by brushing her teeth and getting her PJs on, I will play a game with her. Memory Match is just a nightmare. It is a Dr. Seuss game, so it has pictures from different books written by Dr. Seuss. Somehow she got in her mind she can trade pairs. For her it isn’t how many pairs you get, but what is on the picture. Her favorites are Pup in a cup, the Grinch’s dog, Max, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown. After Memory Match, we start a game of Sorry. She doesn’t follow any rules and does what she wants to, but it gets the job done.
I think she has kind of caught on to my bribing technique because she is starting to try it out on me. They go like this, “Amelia, I’ll let you make me some eggs, if you give me a makeover.”
So far I can resist her bribes.
Amelia Bystry, 13, is a home-schooled student who resides in rural Princeton. You can contact Amelia in care of this newspaper at P.O. Box 340, Princeton, IL 61356.