04 February 2010

of course you can have a ball

When I was still in the classroom, I didn't believe much in reward systems.  I taught high school students, usually freshmen, and I had a clear belief that students should not be rewarded for expected behavior. I lived much more comfortably in the world of consequences.

No, you don't get a reward for being on time -- but I will email the world, to include the principal and your parents, if you are tardy.
Yes, I am happy that you did your homework each and every day for a month, but, sorry, no free time in class as a result. Don't even think about a free homework pass.
Of course it's great that all 27 of you were present for class each and every day this entire week -- make sure it continues.
And so on and so forth.

And then along came my Young One.  I haven't been in the classroom since she was born as I had a slight career shift; however, I am certain that her presence has changed my outlook on certain things.  For instance, I now am a great supporter of bribery. Yes, bribery.

Reward system or bribery. . . however you choose to call it, it's essentially the concept that the kid gets a reward for a certain behavior.  I, after having tried all other interventions known to me, have resorted to bribery. . . with toys.  Bad Momma.  (Note:  Richard supports my efforts wholeheartedly.)  We are still having issues in the mornings;  I think much of it is contrived.  A recent bribery session in our house went like this:

Me:  Honey, if you can go the entire week -- all five days -- with good mornings at school, then  I will get you a little surprise. No fits. No crying.  Big girl all week long.

Her: I want a ball like Davide has.  Davide has some balls and that's what I want.

Me:  A ball?  Absolutely!  A ball!  Of course you can have a ball. Five days.

With little inquiry, I discovered that the ball in question is a Bakugan ball, and that they can be difficult to find at times. I rushed to the toy store that very same evening, and voila!, like magic, I found the hard-to-find Bakugan ball, though the selection was limited.

Now, you know, when I offered the bribe, I was planning to shell out about five dollars max, and when she requested a ball and told me Davide has many of them, then I thought sure that I was safe.

In the local Italian toy store this little toy with his magnetic card costs nearly nine euros -- that's a little over thirteen dollars, for one stinking Bakugan.   Thanks to a text tip from a friend, I found a three-pack of them this week in our convenience store on the post:  three Bakugan for twelve dollars.  Whoa!  

Why are toys so incredibly expensive here?  I later found six Bakugan for eighteen dollars on Amazon, with free shipping!  Same toys -- they cost four times that in Italy.  I know that the exchange rate is partly to blame, but still, come on, give me a break.  

As far as toys go, Bakugan is considered a toy for boys in these parts and is quite popular with American and Italian boys alike.  
Makes me smile that my girl cherishes hers.
Makes me happy that she'll likely earn a second one this week, maybe even two more.
Does not take away the sting of the thirteen dollar Bakugan.


  1. Jacob and Zach introduced me to those last year...I had difficulty understanding their enormous popularity! But, they love to play with their collections...

  2. This made me laugh, as I have resorted to bribery too, for my middle daughter. And it sounds like for the same sort of thing--not completely melting down when I drop her off at school.

  3. You should have seen the boys in our parco go wild for the match box cars! I bought a bunch of sets from the NEX as gifts before we left. In Itly they cost a bundle!! Why is that??? My almost 5 year old guy just discovered those bakugan things from his cousins. Thanks for reminding me of a good b-day gift coming up fast!

  4. Very funny...the power of the bribe...we do it, too. Noah has a couple of Bakugan, but none of us really understand the whole thing. And I am right there with you on noticing the shocking difference in prices.

  5. I am surprised she likes these ball. We have about 50 of these little balls in just about every corner of the house. I am also under the belief that children should not be bribed. Until my husband the economist pointed out that we all work for rewards, and that is why we go to work each day.

  6. No bribery in this house; however, good grades and behavior are, at times, rewarded;). Like last night: the toothfairy left Anna $20.00 for four teeth! Whoa. She was an absolute angel for the dentist yesterday as Dr. Paige pulled those teeth out of her little mouth. Anna didn't say a word except to ask if she was doing a good job keeping her tongue out of the way;). The toothfairy noticed this behavior indeed, especially since there were no warnings of where bad behavior could have gotten her. I guess, in a way, this is some form of bribery;)

  7. FOUR! That girl is quite amazing. Can I send her a reward, too? FOUR?

    Oh, and Dr. Paige rocks too. Thanks for that tip last summer.

  8. I'm much worse than you with bribes (which I also thought I would never ever resort to): I use chocolate. Yes, I'm hanging my head in shame right now.

  9. It's not shameful!
    Why have we been conditioned to think it wrong?

    This bribery has given my daughter 10 straight days of happy mornings. I think she is on her way to thinking that this is the way to be. .. . .
    Hooray for bribery!