A Little Bribery for the Win

Last weekend, we had plans to go bike riding with some friends. The weather didn’t approve of these plans, so we had to find an indoor activity instead. Arine suggested we meet at the mall for lunch and window shopping, arguing that we would still get a bit of exercise walking around–not my favorite pastime, but it would do in a pinch.

Story and Arine’s son Kai explored ThinkGeek, Hot Topic, and other trendy geeky stores, while Arine and I stood outside of earshot and discussed our mothering woes. Story, as usual, found something she just had to have: a little dragon figurine. I said no with the argument that purchasing something goes against the rules of window shopping.

I eyed Claire’s down the way and had an idea. Story and I had discussed ear-piercing before. She wanted to do it but did not want to actually do it. In other words, she didn’t want to go through the punching-a-hole-in-each-ear part. Who can blame her? Seems like a torturous rite of passage from the outside.

Torture aside, I cheerily offered a bribe: I would purchase the dragon if she got her ears pierced. Her eyes widened, and I could tell I had a shot. Story is a wisened bribee, and she pretended disinterest at first. Arine joined in by promising Story I would also buy her a pair of earrings to wear when the studs came out, any earrings she wanted. I agreed, and Story began to waver. She leaned toward the earrings and then leaned away from the perceived pain. Back and forth, she seesawed on the decision.

Somehow we found ourselves in Claire’s. Arine led Story to the earrings and found some that were Story-style. Still not sure, Story talked to the sales lady about the pain. But even with the lady’s reassurance, Story held out. I offered to purchase two sets of earrings, a multipack with animals and a single set of silver turtles. She got in the chair.

After the dots were drawn and the studs were in place to pierce her flesh, Story had second thoughts. The sales lady offered to have someone help her so they could pierce both ears at once. For some reason, this seemed to worry Story even more, and when faced with the choice between one ear at a time and both at the same time (no option for backing out), she chose to move forward with one at a time.

To her credit, she didn’t even flinch when the little stud was sent through her tender earlobe flesh. I flinched for her; I’ve never been good with needles. It was over in just seconds. She was happy, I was proud, and we had a dragon to buy.

Story capitalized on my feelings of victory and secured not one but two dragon figurines. As we made our way to the checkout, we came upon the earrings stand. She found dinosaurs, dragons, snakes, and other such Story loves. I gave in and bought a set. Then the ever-so-helpful sales lady told us that if we bought two, we could get two free. Well, that just secured a whole jewelry box full of earrings for Story. What started off with a ten-dollar dragon cost me five times that in earrings.

Even so, the bribery was worth it. My darling faced her fear, with a little help.