Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nurturing the Competitive Streak

We all know not to do it. And we all swear that we wouldn't dare. But on that one day, where you make the mistake, it makes life SO much more easier... and then you discover that you're hooked.

Trying to get Iman to do anything these days is a task and a half. Every day feels like a new battle, and somehow my cute little "yes mommy" baby has turned into the "I don't want" monster.

But one fine day (totally accidentally) we discovered the key to make Iman go. Not only does she listen to us, she does it willingly and with lots of excitement.

We've tapped into her competitive streak.

Now, previously dreadful tasks are fun and full of life. All we have to say is "Let's see who's going to win... Iman or __________?" And Iman is off.

Getting ready for bed used to be painstakingly difficult in our house. Every night there would be a struggle to get Iman into the bathroom, wash up, brush her teeth and get into her pajamas. We would try whatever we could to make it pleasant, but in a matter of minutes the whole thing would turn into a wild circus with Iman adamantly refusing.

Now the entire procedure is simple and problem free. In fact, it's even fun. After we tell Iman it's time for bed, we add on... "Let's see who's going to win today! Iman or Ayzah?" Omair and I take one child each and start the bed-time process. It's become a lot of fun. And secretly I even enjoy it. After the whole wildness of getting ready... we all cozy on the couch together for bedtime stories.

I know we're treading on dangerous waters. Children become obsessed with competition when simple tasks are turned into races. Winning become a necessity and it becomes increasingly difficult to handle losing. I don't want to turn Iman into one of those kids who just HAS to compete in everything. But believe me... these past few days have been so easy. Getting her to do things has become enjoyable, so I think I'll let my guilt take a side for a few more days while I enjoy a vacation from this "I don't want" attitude.


At 3:43 AM, Blogger Lorraine said...

Ah, but here's the thing, Hina...I think if we make things fun like that it can also send a very good message that the daily bits of life (like cleaning your room or yourself) don't have to be complete drudgery. I sometimes wonder if that division between work and play is always realistic. I think it's terrific that you've found a fun way to get over an annoying bump in the road and that it makes for a smoother, cozier time for the family. So much better than stupid battles and everyone going to be angry or frustrated.


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