Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wrapped Around My Little Girl's Finger

Can anyone say "No" to that face?
Lately we have been using a website at our house called The idea is pretty simple: you assign jobs to your kids. When they complete them they log in and check them off. Each job is worth points. Maybe 10 points for getting your homework done, or 15 points for loading the dishwasher after dinner. Then, your kids can cash in their points for rewards. There are a bunch of preloaded rewards, or you can make them up. You can even pick a toy from Amazon and then order it right from the site when your kids earn it.

We've been using it for about 3 or 4 weeks and it has been great. The kids have gotten pretty good and setting and clearing the table, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the family room before bed, etc. It still requires a lot of micro-managing (honestly, do kids just not see messes? When I point to the 55 pieces of trash on the ground and say "Now someone pick up all the paper on the floor" and all of my kids say "What paper?" I just don't get it.) but I feel like our kids are learning some responsibility, and the house is a little cleaner (and Amy and I don't have to do it all.)

We've gotten to the point now where the kids have enough points to start redeeming them for prizes. My boys, of course, wanted lame things like new texture packs for Minecraft or some virtual coins so they can download new Pokemon for Pokemon Tower Defense. But when Lulu, my 4 year old daughter, saw that one of the rewards was "Date with Daddy" she immediately declared that that was what she was saving up for. I mean, if that doesn't melt your heart, what does? She could get a new small toy, or a trip to the pool or whatever, but she wants to spend the day with me.

So today was the day to cash in. And I felt like because she had worked so hard and saved her points and been so good and agreeable about doing her chores, we needed to do something funner than just a trip to the McDonald's playland. So we went to lunch and then to the Zoo. As we were getting ready to leave, I said to her "Should we have Mom come to Lunch with us and then you and I can go to the zoo for our date?" and there was a long awkward pause. She answered "Um, let's just start our date now and go to lunch with just us."

I've joked before that Lulu is my favorite. She's not really, even though she is by far our easiest kid to raise (and don't tell me she'll be a terror when she is a teenager. I refuse to believe it.) My boys are amazing - funny, sensitive, smart, energetic. I think the world of them.

Honestly: when did she get so cool? Clearly I am the Nerdy Dad in this picture. 
But when you are a Dad and you have a daughter, there is just something different about that relationship. She's my baby and always will be. And I never want her to not be the smiling happy little girl she is now. Part of it is that I know that there are so many forces out in the world that are going to try and make her feel small. So I want her to know, no matter what, that she is loved, safe and important. And part of it is that I don't want her to date (or marry) a jerk so I want her to think I am the most awesome person ever so that any lame hipster dude named Blaze or Kagen who wants to date her has big shoes to fill. And I just like to make her laugh and smile. Which is why we rode the Carousel two times today. (Also, because she really wanted to get the zebra and she didn't get the zebra the first time.)

Yes, I am a pushover. And yes, Lulu's 500 point reward cost about 5 times what her brothers' 500 point rewards cost. But she's my little girl. And I wanted her to have a great day, and we did. And I realize that some day she probably will think I am lame and ridiculous (please see above photo for reference) so I should try and have as many of these kids of days as I can while they last. Even if I pretend she has to "earn" them by picking up the 55 pieces of paper left on the family room floor. Seriously, does no one see those things but me?

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