How to Motivate the Honey Badger

It’s been a busy and hectic week. This does not bode well for the Honey Badger, who prefers to enjoy life at her own pace. She would wear her pajamas all day long and hang out at home everyday if she could. She loooooves to be home. So, when it comes time for school, appointments, picking up her brother, etc, it’s a real humdinger to get her to get a move on. That is, for anyone except her Mommy, because I broke the code. I’ve figured out what motivates her: Competition. (She’s her mother’s daughter, that’s for sure.)

The other day, her Daddy was in charge of getting her out the door for school. Usually a very patient, and very calm man under almost any circumstance, he was exasperated and slightly defeated by her stalling tactics. It had been quite some time since he had taken her to school, and it donned on me that he wasn’t privy to the methods I have been successfully employing. I chuckled at his frustration, pulled him aside, and whispered, “All you need to do is figure out her motivation. It has to be a race.” He was simply trying to get clothes on her so that he could finish getting dressed himself. She was hiding under the covers, giggling, bicycle legs kicking pants off, refusing to comply. After setting her clothes out for her,  I said, “Erin – on the count of three let’s see if you can get dressed before Daddy!!!! One….two….THREE!” and we booked it out of the room. Immediately, she kicked it into first gear. In less than a minute, she was in our room, “TA-DA!!!!!! I BEAT YOU DADDY!!!!!”. Grinning from ear to ear, she was fully dressed from head to toe. Just not in what I had set out for her to wear. Don’t think she doesn’t have time to grab whatever she wants to wear. This same exercise was then utilized to get her to brush her teeth and brush her hair. She wins every time, and every time she is THRILLED with her victory. And, so are we.

There are also fun little games that we have come up with over the last year or so that still yield successful results from motivating the Honey Badger. Dylan and I discovered that if I ask him to let Rudy out, she will practically hurdle the furniture to get there before he does. So, whenever the dog needs to go outside, I look at Dylan and wink, “Dylan, will you let Rudy outside?” Of course, I say this loudly enough so that she’ll hear. And, as soon as the words “OK—” are even out of his mouth, she’s run full blast to the door and let the dog out. We do this ALL.THE.TIME. We can interchange it with “feed the dog”, “give Rudy some water”, or a plethora of other scenarios. You’d think it would get kinda old for her by now. Nope. She’s happy to beat her brother to it, for the thrill of winning. In all its glory, it did backfire on me once. Yeah, that day sucked. I truly thought she wasn’t going to get up and let the dog out because she was engrossed with play-doh. So, I nodded to Dylan to go ahead and let Rudy out. She was horrified. She threw her arms over her chest, and let loose a very loud, angry sigh. Furious, she stomped out of the room and spent the next solid hour in her room, sobbing. That wasn’t a good time. We learned from our mistake. Honey Badger does not like to lose!

One would think that food might also be a motivator for the Honey Badger. In many ways it is. There’s always the perpetual snack. But, to be honest, a snack is not nearly as thrilling as a victory over someone else. UNLESS. Unless you are the Honey Badger and you’ve already won the race and now, you have to take a stupid trip in the stupid car to pick up your brother from school. Borrrring. So, you give the Honey Badger a little snack of pudding and a spoon for the ride to school to pick up her bro. Then, you’re planted in the pick-up line, with all the other minivans, and you turn around to smile at your precious little baby girl and you see this:

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Just when you think they are gravitating more towards a human being, and further away from an animal… Wrong! This one is still just a Honey Badger looking for a thrill.  The most bizarre thing about this encounter: Shortly after I took this picture, I said, “I love you, Erin.”

She replied, very seriously, “Do you love me for who I am?”

I was floored. “Yes, I love you for who you are!”

She giggled, and said, “I love you for who you are too, Mommy!” Huge pudding faced grin.

WTF? She’s a wild creature that just keeps blowing my mind. Over and over again.

WE ARE HAVING A BABY!

Greetings! Before I fill you in on our big news, let’s get reacquainted. It’s been 3 weeks since my last post. Utterly unacceptable. I’m not sure how I got to this point. Oh, I know. Christmas hoopla, New Year’s hoopla, New Year’s Day Flood in my Basement, the Flu, and so on. I’m just glad to be back. Actually, what has really hindered my progress lately, is the Honey Badger. Her school is undergoing construction, and they had to extend “Christmas Break” until 1/14/13. She’s not real hip on going with the flow; she marches to the beat of her own drum. That pretty much consists of wearing PJ’s no matter what time of day. And, since it’s winter, she likes her silk, sleeveless nighties best of all. (During the summer, she wore only footed fleece pajamas.) Honey Badger don’t care what season it is. She likes to wear her PJ’s wherever we go, and pack about 3 extras in her bag.  She likes those extras in case of an emergency. Getting her out the door is literally most of the battle. After that, she’s a happy little camper. Once we step foot back in the house, though, she disappears to her bedroom to get new PJ’s on before you can blink your eyes. She’s a very complicated HB.

Anyhither, let’s get back on track. The Baby. Am I having a baby? Good God, no. Do you think I’m insane? I tiptoed quietly into the bathroom this afternoon to, you know, go potty BY MYSELF, when it trotted in and declared to me, in the most serious tone I’ve ever heard it speak, “Mommy, I’m ready to have a baby….a REAL LIVE one, all by myself.”

Let’s stop here for a moment. Lots of things were going through my head, but the intent, imploring, naive face was too much. I felt awful. It needed to hear the truth, and quickly.

“Sweetie, you are WAY too little to have a baby.”

“I know…”, it said, “I need to be in high school first.”

Um, negative. “You need to get MARRIED first!”…..says the mother that had a child out of wedlock and we both turned out just fine, thank you very much.

“I know, Mommy! I’m going to marry Dylan [NO!], then go to college [YES!], then go to high school [IT’S SO CONFUSED!].”

“Erin, that’s a looooong wa -”

“I know, Mommy, I just want a baby for ALL of us to have!!!”

“Erin, you have a lot of time, like many, many, MANY years before you have a real, live baby, honey.”

“It will need a changing table, a rocker, and diapers!”

“At some point in – ”

“AND A CRIB!”

I must kiss it and reassure it. “One day you WILL have a baby, but not for a long, long, time….when you’re a grown-up.”

“Oh!!,” it exclaims, as the light bulb goes off in its head, and it runs to its room to pull out all of the baby things I’ve ever saved for her. “The baby can wear THISSSS!!!!”…..she proclaims it. So loud and proud to be getting ready for the baby’s arrival, which is set to come, in her mind, at any moment.

Quite possibly, the scariest part of this entire scenario, is that for the next 30 minutes, she dragged out things that were exactly what a baby would need. She was spot on. Bibs, sleeping, eating, clothes, I mean, we are covered. Honey Badger is not playing games!! To take a break, I interrupted the imminent arrival of the baby to make some banana bread. I thought it might distract her. It did. Until bedtime.

Her poor Daddy is sick in bed with the flu. He had a rough day, and went to bed at 6:30pm. I got everyone fed, Dylan’s homework and studying done, then I thought both kids were in bed, and I was working in silent bliss.

It was still awake.

I quietly made it to her room to investigate. I caught her playing in mid-act. Discovered, it blurted out, as if we were so stupid to not think of it before, “THE BABY NEEDS BABY TOYS!!”.

I guess we’re not over it. She was tripping over her words and excitement to tell me what more she has stockpiled for The Baby. It all might as well go into a time capsule, because this baby isn’t coming anywhere near us for another 20 years. We will make do with her Christmas gift of Baby Alive (AKA “Baby Shits Her Pants”, “Baby Chokes on Food That’s Been Caked on For Many Days and Hardens”, or a plethora of many other colorful names). Ah, well, what can you do.

Here is a picture of my Modern Day Mother Warrior…..in her, uh, Jake & the Neverland Pirates outfit from Xmas. I’m sure she’d make an awesome Mommy right  now. I mean, Flash is still alive and that’s HUGE.

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