I've come to the sad realization that playing the Santa card ("Ohhh, you know how Santa feels about dirty teeth - better get to brushing!") is not as effective as it once was. I think my daughter figured out that despite all the threats, she still gets plenty o'presents on Christmas morn. So, although I will continue to advise my daughter that the big guy in red gets furious over uneaten vegetables and jackets left on the floor instead of hanging them up because the hook is RIGHT THERE FOR GOD'S SAKE, I knew I needed a new tactic. Enter: Bianca.
Now, please don't tell Bianca but I am using her - just a little. I didn't set out with that intention at all, but I am a parent whose toolbox is mostly empty. Time-outs are ineffective at this age, we don't spank, and positive reinforcement is only marginally effective. So, that leaves the induction of guilt. Within mere hours of having chosen Bianca, I found myself saying things like, "I'm pretty sure Bianca puts her pajamas on the first time she is asked" and "I really doubt that Bianca would leave that much food on her plate." Poor Bianca. I have no shame. Seriously.
Anyway, here's hoping that by the time the holidays are over, my daughter will think of Bianca and remember that not everyone has everything they need and want - even basic necessities. And maybe she will remember that giving is more important than receiving. Perhaps she'll even be more grateful for what she has. And, most importantly, I hope she'll remember that Bianca always, always eats her vegetables.