"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Bingo the RAD Way

As I sat in Princess's class waiting for the second grade Christmas Around the World celebration to start, I listened to Mrs. C. explain the holiday break Reading Bingo for Ice Cream and thought, frick. Because I forgot.

Buddy had this last year. There are 24 different ways or things to read and one free space. One bingo gets ice cream. Two gets hot fudge. Three, whipped cream. Four, sprinkles, and five, a cherry. Buddy was way pumped about it, and because he is a very fast reader, was done in about two days.

And I thought, frick. Because the only thing Princess loves more than a prize is going out of her way to not get one. So, with strict instructions from my husband, my dad, and Princess's teacher, I entered the holiday break with a shut mouth.*

The first week, Princess burned rubber. She read 12 books, at least. She had strict instructions from Mrs. C. that an adult had to hear her, and she only tried to get around it once. I thought, huh. What a pleasant surprise.

Then I snuck her paper out after bedtime and looked at it. And I thought, frick.

Because, well wait. If you are a RAD mom, you'll be shaking your head (either in agreement or in sympathetic disbelief) along with me, but if you're a neuro-typical mom (nice term for "normal"), you may have to suspend your reality for a moment. Because, there was no pattern whatsoever to the squares Princess had selected to complete EXCEPT that they all brought her within one or two squares of getting a Bingo. So, to clarify, even though with twelve books read she could already have earned hot fudge and be well on her way to whipped cream, she, in fact, has nothing. I want to believe it has something to do with her disorganized way of thinking. And it could. But. Honestly. How could it not be on purpose?


So it's Friday now, and last night I consulted Josh on how to handle this and we agreed that she definitely had not forgotten (she forgets NOTHING!!!) and I'd continue to keep my mouth shut, but have her pack up her back pack (and have her put! it! in! the! car!) Sunday afternoon. That way, it will cue her if she actually wants to eat ice cream Monday to (for the love!) read a recipe or read to Jorge or read to "someone you love," while avoiding the Monday morning scramble and scream fest because it's not done. Hopefully.

Today, actually, Buddy said something about it to her and she pulled it out.
Mom? Didn't we "read in bed"?
I read to you in bed.
But wasn't that "read with someone you love?"
I read to you, honey.
Oh. Are there any more I've done?
You've done the ones you marked and I signed.
(Deep Sigh) Sweetie, I told you. There is no "easy" way to do this. They won't get done by magic. You can't make one book count for two. If you want the prize, you have to do the work.

And she put the sheet in the folder and put the folder away.
So we'll see. I hope she does it. At least one. I really do. Because not wanting ice cream? That's just wrong.

*does anyone else get the sense that other people believe I'm a control freak?


  1. Control freak? Absolutely NOT! How about a person trying to maintain calm in her home?
    I mean, 12 books and no ice cream? That's you being set up and if you don't get sucked in to it you are getting a tantrum. And that stinks! It's the sort of thing that makes me NUTS.

    Treat yourself to an ice cream. And a bunch of cookies.

  2. I agree with Essie, you get ice cream with anything you want on it. May your Monday be great when it gets here, Oh and Happy New Year too!

  3. I'm just wondering why reading (which should be a joy in-and-of-itself) has to have such elaborate motivators. I used to do that when I was a new teacher, but as a mother I began to HATE it; my children, who'd previously loved to read, were now cutting back, adjusting to meet expectations, as it were.

    My son asked for a pillow for his 7th birthday (in June) because he wanted to be able to read in bed; by Christmas he was refusing to read at all. He'd imbibed the idea that reading was something that he really shouldn't want to do.... Add to that, every time he read something he was "consequenced" by having to write a paper, or in some way "report" on the book. I saw his point. That was my oldest son; we put him in Montessori school, then homeschooled and he's a reader today.

    Now, my youngest is NOT a reader; it is painful and difficult for him. But, I have noticed that the snappy little "programs" and rewards from the teacher just add an unneeded level of complication. And no motivation at all. (He is not a radish, but these things certainly do NOT bring out the best in him).