Thursday, September 10, 2009

Incentives for Play

My son wants to play sports, any sport, all the time. His sister would be a perfect opponent, except for a crippling lack of interest in any sport at any time (except for boxing – an interest I strongly encourage because one day she will be fifteen.)

After breakfast, my son invented pajama dodge. That is they throw their pajamas at each other. This is the kind of sport GoofGirl can go for, at least for a while. She enjoyed the novelty of throwing her clothes around. But my son really wanted orderly tournament level play.

GoofBoy is also a wonderful big brother (most of the time) and he has been known to give his sister massages (yes he will undoubtedly make some girl happy in a decade or so – assuming I let him live that long.)

So he gave his sister an incentive to really play, offering her massages when she wins. It worked. GoofGirl focused and bore down. Grunting as she hurled balled up pajama bottoms and tops at her brother. Her brother, though older, stronger, faster, and more experienced was cornered. He tried to counter with psychological warfare (trash-talking.) But his sister was nonplussed, yelling, “I’m just doing it for my massage.”

After a bit more battering GoofBoy conceded and paid up. As he worked on her back and feet (kindergarten is pretty stressful) she smiled and sighed. My son smiled too, he wanted a worthy opponent and he created one.


The Chief Weeder said...

Completely off topic, but have you ever considered the fact that babysitting rates don't go up when the sitter can drive? After all, it reduces the opportunity cost of hiring the sitter (no more picking them up and driving them home). Another economic conundrum.

And, when the babysitter's parents supply the car, a side payment to them might be in order. Don't you think?

Kol Ra'ash Gadol said...

All around Win! Go GoofGirl!

Father Goof said...

1. @KRG - GoofGirl always wins.

2. @CW - Yes and no. Self-propelled baby-sitters are potentially late, crapping up theater reservations. If they don't live far away,the opportunity cost is minimal and balanced by having control over the situation.

Maybe I should graph this out...

Substantial distance would be a factor, fortunately not one I face - plus, since I started with audio books I look for excuses to drive places alone. So a self-propelled baby-sitter would reduce my utility.

Baby-sitter parents should be grateful that we employ their daughters, bringing income into their home that they do not have to surrender to said daughters (or potentially sons.) So I think exploring side payments for the car usage might be the straw that breaks the camel's back and lead parents to seek substitutes.

Currently I am looking into building a time travel device in order to bring a Terminator back from the post-Apocalyptic future that can watch the children. My initial analysis indicates that this endeavor would pay for itself within about two years (maybe less if we went out on occasional week nights.)