Was that wrong?
It’s just that I am so very, very tired of the fleece sweatpants. The never-ending rotation of red, green-with-orange-piping, and black. The floods. The boy has a drawer full of jeans and cords, but he is passionately attached to the fleece sweatpants. Each morning, I offer up a different pair, and each morning I am cheerfully rebuffed. “No,” says Rowan, “I just think I’ll wear my red pants today.”
What is one supposed to do in the face of that kind of resolution? Bribe with chocolate, of course.
Actually, I prefer think of it as a reward rather than a bribe. As my friend Michael, the child psychologist, says, a bribe is giving chocolate before the pants are on; a reward is given after. In fact, I went one step further: I gave Rowan half the chocolate right after he put on the corduroys, and promised him the other half at the end of the day — assuming he kept the pants on all day. “Okay,” he said. “But if they get wet, I take them off.” Fair enough.
In our house, we have fingernail gelt, a little-known Jewish tradition that has its roots in the traditional giving of chocolate gelt — those gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins, for the uninitiated — at Chanukah. Fingernail gelt is given not after the menorah is lit, but rather after all ten of the grimy, scratchy, blackened fingernails on my three-year-old’s hands are clipped off.
We also have leaving-the-library gelt.
And now we have pants gelt, too. I’m sure parenting experts the world over are sighing disgustedly at my tactics, muttering things like “slippery slope” under their breaths, but I don’t care. My boy is wearing cords. My boy is wearing cords.