• kmpinkel

    Bribery the number one item in a parents arsenal. The Icee’s at target are great for bribes, FYI.

  • pixistik13

    she’s great. I loved that story. :)

  • Lisa

    That is awesome! Congratulations on a successful bribe! Well done!

  • http://smithshack71.blogspot.com/ SmithShack71

    Saweet! It feels like rainbows fart glitter when you know you leave your kids and they are happy. It’s the best. Good job, momma!

  • Melissa

    It’s times like these when I wish my almost 3 year old son liked Princesses….instead, I’d have to promise to get him another lawnmower, and not just a cheap toy one like he already has. It would have to be a big lawnmower, like daddy has. This is the kid who found a new hand truck in our garage, ran over to it and pointed at himself saying “this for Cruz?!”, like we had gotten him the most amazing gift in the world. Somehow, I don’t think a lawnmower blanket would be as exciting, but I’m willing to try as the morning drop-off has been excruciating lately. Loved this post.

  • wh0oznicole

    I use fruit snacks to bribe my 4 year old.

  • Jen

    Aw. Great story, and well told!

  • lam81208

    Dude. Loved this. Welcome back!

  • Misty

    This is awesome!

  • Heather Armstrong

    A lawnmower! Ha! Like, you’re not browsing the toy section. You’re in “lawn and garden” or “power tools.” Kids are such different creatures. Maybe a lawnmower blanket would work!

  • Heather Armstrong

    I’m guessing bribery with a 17-yr-old is a tad bit more expensive.

  • Heather Armstrong

    Those are in my arsenal as well. I keep finding them in my washing machine because I carry them in my pockets everywhere I go and forget I have them in there.

  • ChickWhitt

    I love it! Let’s be honest, we bribe ourselves every day. If I go to the gym today, I can have a cupcake later. If I don’t beat the children, I won’t go to jail today. Life is just lots of bribes.

  • Laura Nagler

    Thanks for reminding me that every kid has their issues. My 2.5 year old daughter has been holding her poop. She is not constipated. I repeat, not constipated. But the girl can hold it for a week. This has been going on for 6 months and we’ve tried all sorts of things. The latest attempt was to completely ignore the issue, aside from a sticker chart in the bathroom. When she gets 5 stickers she gets to watch a movie. Holy crap! Literally! I don’t know if she was just ready or if the movie reward did it (there were other bribes along the way), but we seem to be nearing the end of this horrible phase. It felt like the most awful thing in the world to me, but everyone has their thing and it could always be worse! Glad to hear your drop-off appendage is gone, watching them cry for you is torture!

  • harugirlie

    How was the 2nd day drop off?

  • rocknrobn

    So, when I was 3-4 my mom had to physically fight my gigantic morning tantrums before school and when dropping me off at school. She and my father were divorcing at the time and he had moved out. They had explained everything to me and thought I understood, but then one morning in the middle of a tantrum I shouted to my mom that we were all getting divorced and I didn’t want her to leave. To me, I thought divorce meant everybody left each other. I didn’t understand and she had no idea. Once we got that fear out of me I improved quickly. Sometimes it seems like our children are so smart and that they understand everything, but they really don’t understand relationship complexities and emotions, which is what they develop and strengthen in school. I can’t believe how insane I was with my mom. I still remember even now that I’m 32. Good luck and thank you for this website!

  • Jen

    Aw. Poor 3 year old you! That must have been really scary!

  • Heather Armstrong

    I’ve endured that with both kids, and it was so awful. I know how terrible it is for you and how terrible it is that you know she’s going through it. There is SO MUCH LIGHT at the end of that tunnel, I promise! I can happily say that I have absolutely no idea when my ten-year-old goes to the bathroom. I never knew that *not* being aware of my child’s restroom habits would be so joyous.

  • http://www.lifewithroozle.com/ Casey


  • Laynie Fingers

    You know, THIS is what a sponsored post should be- a real post, about real stuff, that just happens to tie in to a sponsor. You did good, Dooce… and so did Marlo. :D

    Is it bad I still think of her as Bobo?

  • Heather Armstrong

    Thank you so much. You know, I still call her Bobo sometimes. She always corrects me, but I do it anyway.

  • Heather Armstrong

    A little wobbly at first, but then I reminded her of the BLANKET! Once that word came out of my mouth she perked up, hugged me, and said goodbye. We’ll see if it sticks!

  • Heather Armstrong

    I’ve talked a lot about this with the child counselor. We’ve done a lot of work with Marlo around this issue, especially since my cousin “left” last year. I’m so sorry you had such a hard time. Kids are so much more in tune than we give them credit for. Much love to your three-year-old self.

  • Laynie Fingers

    Awesome… my husband calls her Bobo too. It’s too cute to let go of.

    I also clicked through to the post on Whole Fruits, and laughed til I cried at the story of the automatic toilet. I’m having an … shall we say interesting week thanks to coming off Cymbalta, so I can use every giggle I get.

  • Laynie Fingers

    My nephew used to be obsessed with vacuum cleaners when he was a toddler. To the point that if they went to a new person’s house, the first thing he did was ask to see their vacuum. They were in an airport heading for Disneyworld when they almost lost him- he’d spotted a vacuum and ran away from them in awe.

    Kids are weird.

  • Jennifer Wagner

    We use the term “rewarding good behavior” instead of bribery…they are the same but it makes me feel like I’m actually parenting ;)

  • KristenfromMA

    I call my younger brother Bobo. For real. We are 48 and 45. ;)

  • Amanda

    We did something similar when my 4 year old girl started having horrific preschool drop-offs a few months ago. Ours was American Girl-related, and required a month of good drop-offs to earn the bribe, but it worked, and 4 months later, drop-offs are still going as smooth as can be! We reinforce it with the occassional smaller bribe too, though after the fact. Such as, hey you did great at drop-offs this week, how about we go get ice cream to celebrate? Keeps her on her toes : ) Hope the trend continues for you; it’s so painful to have to walk away from a kid that wants nothing worse than to be with you!

  • http://oddlovescompany.com/blog/ Katybeth

    This story made me tear up. Not sure why. Maybe just a bit bittersweet. I’m glad for you and glad for Marlo. A princess blanket was a wonderful idea. My Mom gave me her sun glass case and told me she could hear me if I talked in it. I believed her, it helped ease my anxiety.

  • Jasper

    Doesn’t her dad ever pick her up from school?

  • genoendicott

    I don’t think this was bribery at all. You had an honest conversation about a problem and offered up a reward. Now if it had been offered up in the middle of a melt down, now that is bribery.

  • Michelle

    Loved. This. Post. I didn’t even mind that it reminded me that I sometimes worry about the disneyprincessification of girls. I didn’t even mind that it was sponsored by Target. The glass in this post was brimming over with heart.

  • Jen

    Oh man, we are dealing with this right now with our 5 year-old daughter. My husband was laid-off from a job last summer that allowed him to work from home. It’s all our daughter has ever known – Daddy worked at home. He was always there. Six months later, after he found a somewhat suitable job that requires him on site daily, we’ve had huge set backs with drop-offs. Anxiety so bad she wouldn’t eat or sleep. We’re seeing a counselor but I don’t feel like it’s helping yet. We’re using bribes (we like to call them rewards but hell, they’re bribes) but have yet to find THE bribe that will turn this all around. Her anxiety and huge fits are tearing me apart which I know does not help. Most days I sit in the car and cry, too. I don’t know what else to do.

  • gabrielle

    My 4.5 year old son is also COMPLETELY into vacuums. They are, full-on, his favorite toy. To the point that my mom once brought her vacuum (affectionately named “Willy”) to visit us from 2,000 miles away. He now asks that “Willy” accompany her on every trip. Kids are so weird. (And awesome.)

  • http://www.livingthescream.com/ Living The Scream

    I can so relate to the whole bribery thing! It really gets them motivated. Also a lunch date with my Daughters Grandma is also the highest form of bribery over here! I seriously think they would choose that over a trip to Disneyland! well maybe not.

  • Emily Lopez Robinson

    Maybe I’ve been away but now you have sponsored posts?!?!?! All day are you thinking, “product placement…”?? I know you have to pay the bills, but is this the only way? The charm of your posts was always in the supposed realness and honesty but with, “This post is sponsored by Target,” at the top, I just can’t swallow any of it as authentic.

  • Mommiebear2

    Love her!!

  • Mamabella

    I’m torn between being desperate for Marlo to grow up so I can see who she becomes as an adult and being desperate for her stay exactly the age she is with all the charm that entails. She never fails to make me smile.

  • http://www.yourfridayafternoondistraction.com/ Joanne z Filmlady

    O.M.G. Best post ever. Thank you Heather!

  • http://www.happyfoodhealthylife.com/ Holly Waterfall

    oh yes, I am that crazy random person who cries over posts like this! I just felt so proud that she finally got it. Good job Mama. Bribery is a very real and powerful thing :)

  • Caroline

    Holding out for the perfect bribe. Well played Marlo. Well played.

  • lizandrsn

    What you call “bribery” I call tangible encouragement. Either way, it’s gets the results but one comes with less Mommy Guilt.

  • Teal

    I loved this post. I had that same anxiety when my mom dropped me off at preschool and kindergarten. I don’t remember what we actually did to help relieve my anxiety, but I think I just had to realize that my mom would always be there when she said she would be. She still is today.

  • Teal

    She’s done sponsored posts for a while now. Don’t read them if you don’t like them.

  • Teal

    Maybe I’m just being dense, (heh!) but if a person holds their poop for a week, don’t they then become constipated? That’s a long time to not go to the bathroom!

  • Teal

    Wouldn’t they melt if you washed your load in hot water? LOL

  • RzDrmS

    This comment made me REALLY happy.

  • RzDrms

    I genuinely don’t see how a blogger, writing on her own personal domain for which I pay nothing, can’t occasionally relate a very real-life anecdote to a product or company she uses in real life. Heck, I used Clorox Wipes about forty times today; I’d love to have gotten paid to tell millions of readers for what I used them. I did, however, greatly prefer when the reference was at the end of the post only versus at the beginning, simply because 25% of my brain is thinking about the product and when it’ll manifest itself, versus 100% paying attention to the stellar writing. But, again, it’s free to me, and this is HER domain. That she freely welcomes us to choose to visit or not is one of the many beauties of free speech (and free will).

  • Kelly Goodell

    I don’t care that this is a sponsored post – that finger pointing (MFer don’t you forget about that Fing blanket) is some funny shit.

  • Laura Nagler

    I guess that is technically true, that she’s constipated, because of the frequency. I just always think of constipation as being too hard or painful to pass. That’s not her problem, it is completely a control issue. She may decide to go, but only let out a little or she may not go at all. Either way it sucks!