After Reid’s swimming class last week, I said, “Reid, if you fall asleep on the way home and stay asleep when we get there, I’ll give you a dollar.” Ken heard me and said, “If you do that, I’ll give you two dollars.” Reid confirmed, “You’ll give me three dollars if I go to sleep,” and we told her that she had understood us correctly. I’ve never given Reid money to perform a task. I try not to offer rewards since I need for her to do what she should independent of what bribe I can access. And that Tuesday night, I was joking. It was a safe thing to offer money for because it wasn’t going to happen.
Except. Except that Reid pretended to fall asleep when we turned onto our street. When we got home, I told her that I knew she was awake but would carry her in if she would come to my side of the car. Reid was shocked I could tell that she was faking and wanted her money anyway. This was my first warning of things to come. I said that I would pretend that she was asleep and it would be okay. I carried Reid upstairs and laid her on her bed and left the room. Her pretending to be asleep and me pretending that I was fooled.
Until Reid realized that Princess was not beside her. While we looked, Reid was crying. I told her that we’d find Princess. But that wasn’t why Reid was crying. The jig was up. Neither of us could fake our part – Reid was obviously awake and she saw her $3 disappear. My explanation that Daddy and I had been joking, had never expected her to stay asleep went over like a lead balloon. I ended up promising to give Reid the $3 and never to make such an un-funny joke again.
Fast-forward to this week… We never discussed falling asleep and certainly no money was discussed. Once again, Reid feigned sleep just before we got home. I carried her up to bed and took her coat off, all while she faked sleep. It seemed like she *might* fall asleep for real if I left her alone. Ten minutes later, Reid came downstairs with a look of reproach on her face. Apparently she thought I’d climb into bed with her, even though she was already fake-asleep. We trouped upstairs and she fell asleep for real. I was glad we didn’t have to have another discussion about sleep bribes.
Not that Reid has remembered to collect her $3 yet.