Toddlers Without Tiaras

… tales of my threenager

Calling My Bluff … Introduction of Swiper the Fox

Big Sis has never liked cleaning up her toys.  When she was 1 she used to hide at daycare when they would sing the ‘Clean-up Song’.  One evening this winter her Dad came home and asked her to clean-up her toys.  The early signs of the Threenager were showing.  She refused to clean-up her toys – That is, until Dad casually mentioned … “If you don’t clean-up your toys Swiper the Fox is going to come and get them.”

The facial expression was priceless. She froze in her tracks. Then, faster and with more effort than we have ever seen, she started picking up ALL her toys. The toys went in bins, cupboards, her kitchen – Every last toy was picked up off the floor, and concealed out of sight within 5 minutes.  We felt a little bad, as halfway through her cleaning frenzy she did start cry; big tears rolling down her cheeks.  At the same time, ALL of her toys were put away;  not necessarily in the right spots, but I didn’t think it was the right time to point that out.

For those who do not know Swiper, he is from Dora the Explorer.  Each episode he appears and ‘swipes’ something. When he appears Dora and friends say “Swiper! No Swiping!”   Swiper steals the item, runs away, and then, Dora retrieves the stolen item.  Big Sis became a huge Dora fan last fall.  Every time we watch Dora the Explore she yells “No! No! No!” at the T.V.  when he appears.  She never has any tears.  We weren’t prepared for her reaction.

That night, after she went to bed, we discussed the events, and swore we wouldn’t do that again!

A few days later we couldn’t get her to stay in bed.. We had put her back into bed at least 8 times (a trend which had been escalating in recent weeks).  We were losing our minds.

It was pushing 10:00 p.m.  She needed to go to bed.  Without thinking, the words came out.  “Do we need to call Swiper?”  She went to bed and STAYED there.

Swiper began making daily appearances. Sometimes he was down the street, other times he was just downstairs. Deceitfully, we gained compliance from our Threenager.

After 3 months the effect started to wear off. We needed to up the ante. It was time to get Swiper on the phone.

My daughter was right in front of me. I needed someone who would instantly play along, no questions. Who better than Uncle Bard to help us (Uncle Bard is my 3rd brother, who gained his affectionate nickname when he himself was a Threenager. He would sneak behind furniture, and leave his mark with crayons – always spelt B A ‘backwards’R D.)

The first call went as follows:

Mom: “What is Swiper’s phone number”
Dad: “1-800-SWIPER1”
Mom: “OK. I’m calling it.”
C: “Nooooo!”
Mom: “It’s ringing”
Bard: “Hello”
Mom: “Swiper”
Bard: “What?”
Mom: “Swiper. It’s C’s Mom.”
Bard: “Oh, C’s Mom.”
Mom: “C won’t go to bed”
Bard: “Oh C, you better get to bed. Otherwise I am coming to get your toys.”
Mom: “C, you better get up to bed.”
C: [wimpering with head down – makes her way to the stairs]
Mom: “Up you go. I’ll come give you a kiss.”
Mom: “Thank you Swiper”

For the time being “Swiper the Fox” remains as a point for the ‘Rents on The Bluff Board.  I know the time when she will call my bluff is fast approaching.  There are moments I see a glint in her eyes when she knows it is a sham.  Until then, Swiper will remain in my back pocket.  For your amusement I am tracking Swiper sightings this month.  Your Swiper sighting suggestions are welcome!  I can always use new ideas.  Feel free to enter them below.



Thu, July 10 2014 » Uncategorized

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