Ten Poops Away From a Tech Deck

Heard around the BlogLily household this morning, father to son, “Dude, you’re ten poops away from a tech deck.”

Translation? Well, we’ve instituted a little reward for doing what you should be doing anyway program — the idea is if you walk Archie ten times (over a one week period, the week being written down on a little anal piece of paper with squares for eligible walks, a picture of which I might even post at some point), then you get something called a tech deck, which is a ridiculous remarkable toy that’s essentially a small skateboard that kids do tricks with, using their fingers. That ridiculous amazing toy is the object of much desire among 2/3 of the BlogLily children, the other being more interested in getting to go to Dark Carnival, our neighborhood bookstore, and buying a comic book.

So. In what can loosely be described as an inspiration, I decided to throw in the chance to get a walk credit for every five Archie poops picked up in the backyard. Don’t work too hard imagining our backyard, okay? Some are willing to scoop poop if it means they’ll get a tech deck. Others need to be reminded. That’s what their father was talking about this morning.

Which brings me, as usual, to something profound. Okay. Profound-ish.

Rewards are not a bad thing. I mean, really, there are just some jobs that don’t float one’s boat. And there’s nothing wrong with a little incentive to get you going.

I’d love to hear about reward programs in other households. In fact, if you leave a comment about a rewards program, I’ll SEND you a reward of some kind. I have a lot of stamps. And a lot of books/cool papers/pens/pencils/rulers/paper clips/paper objects. I promise not to send you a poop. I couldn’t, really, even if I was that much of a weirdo because they’ve all been pretty much scooped up.

Happy weekend all!


17 thoughts on “Ten Poops Away From a Tech Deck

  1. Hmmm. A reward program in my household? Well the cats are oblivious to any such thing. They think they ARE the reward for anyone privileged to be in their presence. The dog is more eager to please, but he is also smart enough to know he’ll eventually get the treat anyway. I do sometimes try to use reward programs on myself… usually in scenarios when the pile of work on my the desk doesn’t seem to be disappearing on its own. But I am not very successful with these programs. Perhaps my rewards–usually food related– are too lame? Like the dog, I know I get the treat regardless. I’m trying to think what the equivalent of a tech deck might be for someone a few years beyond teen-dom.
    A fun post! Thanks, TJ

  2. I actually had quite a successful reward program going on with my son when he was about 9 or 10. It involved cleaning his room, which was absolutely the hardest thing in the world to get him to do. Every night before bed, we had “room inspection.” If he had cleaned up properly, he got a “Clean Room Ribbon”. When he collected 10 ribbons, he was allowed to draw a reward card from a jar. The rewards were usually small things – like staying up an hour late, or renting a video, or going out for ice cream. It worked like a charm for quite some time – until he became a teenager and was oblivious to rewards.

    I love the idea of getting a reward for picking up after the dog – maybe I’ll try that one on my husband 🙂

  3. Ribbons! What a great idea. And now you need to e-mail me your address so I can send you a REWARD. And you don’t even have to clean up after the dog to get one. xoxo,

    TJ, That’s a very good point about the reward being not-so-valuable when you are the giver as well as the recipient. I think you need to put the cats in charge of giving. They’re scrupulous, tough, distant, and fair. (email me your address, ma’am. And don’t worry, I’m not going to mail you anything weird.)

  4. Rewards. We should use more of them. We’ve been lighting a candle each time our almost three year old son uses the toilet. We sing “Happy pee pee to thee” (and “Happy poo poo to you” very soon I hope) he gets to blow out the candle and we all cheer. No doubt he’ll report us to his therapist someday.


  5. When I was teaching I used a lot of behavioral systems, one of them earned kids the reward of eating lunch in the classroom with me on Friday.

    Students who had a green card at the end of each day (a series of cards were set up in library pockets) earned a happy face stamp. Earning five happy face stamps on your card got you lunch with Miss Jones.

    Man, sometimes I miss teaching 3rd grade. Their highly sought after reward was to eat lunch with me.

  6. Not much to add on rewards, because Baby Smithereens here in my belly isn’t sensitive to it yet, but I laughed so hard reading your post that I felt the baby jumping up and down and wondering what it was all about… thanks!

  7. As usual a good read Lily.
    My girls always hated going clothes shopping in the city, and the only thing that would get them there was the promise of a visit to Macdonalds!-more of a bribe than a reward.
    Hope you don’t mind,I have put you on my Blogroll.

  8. “written down on a little anal piece of paper”

    How appropriate!

    Vincent doesn’t quite get the idea of prid pro quo yet, so it’s more like, distract him with something he likes & fool him into eating while he’s otherwise occupied. It’s amazing how easily his mouth opens when he’s absorbed in something. But it helps not at all to get him to eat things he doesn’t like.

    Thank you for my prize — I just love the gem-colored binder clips!

  9. I reward MYSELF. Probably the greatest reward I ever thought of was when I was in labor with my daughter, and everyone was crowding around telling me that if I couldn’t push her out within the next five minutes I would have to have a c-section, since she was at a funny angle and had the cord around her neck. And I said, “Self, if you can push this baby out in five minutes, I am going to buy you a new pair of sneakers.” And I did. I love those sneakers.

  10. as a parent of a baby and clueless about how the next decade will unfold, you don’t know how much i appreciated this post, lily. and the comments, too.

    i was riding the subway in nyc once when some pre-teen kids broke out into a rap about how they weren’t gang bangers, they stayed in school, etc. and when they were done, they went around for donations. one kid came up to me and i said, “virtue is its own reward.” he looked at me like i was an idiot, which i was. so i gave him a buck.

  11. You know, I think you’ve put your finger on the incipient anarchy around here lately – everyone is too old for rewards. Well, apart from my husband, but he sort of demands them, if you know what I mean, and for the kind of thing that might not seem to warrant a reward on the female scoreboard. But I used to use them often with my son. Alas, it’s been a long while since he’s wanted anything he can’t buy, or get by other means (absence of computer time is easily solved by going round a friend’s house). I shall have to think about how to upgrade the rewards system.

  12. Litlove, Incipient anarchy indeed. My strategy is to keep the boys poor….

    Bookfraud, You are going to be a fabulous dad to the preteen set. I’m glad you gave those kids a buck. Virtue, in fact, IS its own reward, but there’s nothing wrong with sweetening that reward a little.

    Ella — SNEAKERS! You are a brilliant woman. I’m not sure I could have come up with a single thing I’d want in a situation like that except to be put out of my misery.

    I’m very glad to hear you liked the paperclips Marie. They were carefully selected with you in mind, you know! As for Vincent, I can see him, his little mouth opening and closing as you recite Gilgamesh or something to him and then pop in the peas. (Good luck with that food thing, by the way. Ellen Satter — or is it Satler? — has good things to say on this subject. One of my favorites is called “Child of Mine”. If you can’t find it, e-mail me and I’ll look it up.)

    Why thank you Kristin. I am also fond of the word “poo” because it is so AA Milne-sounding.

    D&R — I’m thrilled to be on your blogroll! Rewards/bribes — I hadn’t thought about the distinction; thanks for mentioning that.

    Dear Pauline, Glad to hear that baby’s jumping around. And you sound great too. What a lovely adventure to be embarking on.

    Hi Abi, I can see why your students were thrilled by that lunch with the teacher reward. We missed our other date last fall, you know. Some day when you feel like getting out of your home office, why don’t you come to the city? I’ll take you to the nice cafe at the Asian Art Museum. And congrats on your upcoming wedding, by the way.

    Ben, A candle!! That’s so, so, well, catholic! Send me your address. I have the perfect reward for you.

    And all you others — you email me, okay? I have a lot of stuff I need to mail out.

    you can e-mail me at bloglilyatyahoodotcom.

    xoxo, L

  13. our house is now interested in the idea of money, with little idea of what it really costs for anything (e.g. $50, that’s not much mom!) Hrummmph. Oddly enough even when everything is expensive it works really well to keep the jobs very small, and get an immediate quarter. Lots of them. For saying thank you, for not losing one’s cool, for doing something i ask right away (rather than later)…One event could be worth several quarters…And the sort of amazing thing is after giving a quarter, for example, for mopping up the bathroom after a shower…the mopping up happens daily without any expectation of the quarter. Now THAT’s an investment.

  14. We also have those lovely little Tech Deck Dude toys at our house, so I had to laugh reading your post. I reward the guys with a trip to Target where they can pick out an item (on a very limited budget). This is after at least ten jobs/good deeds. After reading your post, I think I need to get them on dog poop patrol, though 🙂

  15. Ah, rewards. We’ve been struggling with various types of sticker charts for a while since dudelet finally recognised that insisting that pretty much any voluntary act not causing actual damage rated a sticker was kind of missing the point. We do have to ring the changes every few weeks, though, or he just gets bored and forgets about them. Main tasks eligible for stickers at the moment? Being good with dudelette, going to bed nicely…And the rewards? I have a nasty feeling that there’s probably more icecream and sugar involved than there should be.

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