Luke has had a serving chart for the past year. It’s pretty standard; he earns stickers for helping around the house. Ten stickers equal a doughnut. Generally, he forgets about it until he realizes that he hasn’t had a doughnut in a few weeks, and then he scrambles around the house madly trying to earn stickers. He’s excellent at doing the dishes, making his bed and performing outdoor work.
Ben has a sticker chart too, but he earns stickers for staying in bed at night. He doesn’t get anything for accumulating stickers; he just likes to put stickers on his chart. And actually, he doesn’t stay in bed very often anyways.
Whenever Luke has reached 10 stickers, he turns in his chart to us. We toss it in the garbage and Zach picks up a few doughnuts for breakfast. The last few times we’ve done this, I asked Ben to turn in his chart too. I was hoping that he would eventually grasp the concept of working towards a goal.
After two chart turn-ins, Benjamin got smart. I mean, really smart. He noticed that it was actually Luke’s chart that earned them doughnuts, not his chart. Ben had to turn in his chart to get the goods too, but it was ultimately Luke who fulfilled the quota. He also realized that Luke occasionally got stickers under the “Help Ben” category.
He started refusing my help to take off his shoes. He would say, “Guke, take off my shoes?” Luke would dutifully take off Ben’s shoes. Then Ben would look at me and say, “Guke get sticker?”
I’d acquiesce. It was a silly “Help Ben” task, but it’s not like sticker charts come with a rule book. Luke would confusedly place a sticker onto his chart, prompted by Benjamin, all the while wondering what in the world he had done to earn a sticker.
After a few times, Luke got sick of taking off Ben’s shoes and flatly refused. So then, my genius 2-year-old started offering to take off Luke’s shoes. “Ben take off Guke shoes? Ben get sticker?”
Luke loves being pampered, so of course he’ll sit there while Ben grunts and tugs at Luke’s shoes. It’s quite comical. Luke offers helpful suggestions and Ben tries his best. Eventually the shoes come off.
They’re still earning stickers, but this whole shoe-sticker business is getting out of hand.