Ahno takes her Chihuahuas to a groomer to get bathed and manicured. We take Leroy there too, occasionally, if he's gotten unmanageably vile in the back yard or if he's got something unmentionable to be done to his hind end. Something that involves glands and squeezing. You know what I'm talking about. It's one of those things I will happily pay someone to do for him. The grooming place we like is called Groomingdales.
Ahno also goes to a nail salon occasionally for a mani-pedi, and the kids call this place Humandales.
For a while, Sadie has longed to go to Humandales to get her nails done. I don't know if she had a clear idea what would actually happen there, but she was deeply intrigued by the concept, and drawn to the experience like a thirsty gazelle to a desert oasis. That is to say: powerfully.
So, recently since the old techniques involving waving rusty saws and shouting broad threats of public school were wearing a little thin, and the children were dragging their heels on school stuff, I instituted a new motivational technique. I am always looking for ways to shift the accountability onto the children, so that instead of me saying "These are the things we need to get done today!" I can now say "If you want your star for the day, you must do X, Y, Z. Do these things, or don't do them, at your leisure, but until the star is on the chart, there is no electronic device in the house that will function."
As an added bonus reward (since I've recently been enlightened on the point that using rewards with children is pretty much just as awful as using the rusty saw, I want to really ass it up to the max) I told them that if they have five stars for the week, then on the weekend they will experience something special. Maybe a movie, maybe bowling, maybe... a manicure. So a couple weeks ago Benny had not managed to accumulate five stars, but Sadie had, so we went to Humandales and had a manicure together.
Here are some pictures:
Picking a color.
Waiting her turn.
Clutching her colors.
During her manicure and pedicure (they did a child-friendly version that didn't involve cuticle cutting or anything, just lotion and polish) she was almost completely silent. She answered questions the lady put to her, but only minimally. Everyone in the shop was amazed and impressed at how un-wiggly she was, how much she was concentrating. I was almost worried she wasn't enjoying it, that it was scaring her or disappointing her somehow. Afterward she was exhausted, and almost went to sleep while waiting for her toes to dry.
I asked her, when we were leaving, "Baby, did you like it?"
She clutched my neck as I put her in the carseat and whispered, urgently, "I loved it."
I realized then that she'd had a profound pink-related experience, and that it *did* take a lot out of her! She enjoyed her manicure to the max, and was very sad when we had to take off the polish a week later for ballet pictures. I can see that this is the beginning of a lifelong habit. And more importantly, it is a very powerful bribe!
For the benefit of locals, I went to Chic Nails on 22nd. Very cheery, fun, low impact procedure for the tiny person, and at $10 for fingers and toes, who can argue with the price? My manicure involved the full treatment with cutting and slicing and scraping and all of that, and was only $13. I recommend. Do not expect aromatherapy and candles and murals on the wall and potted palms. However, they did take care of my little princess gloriously.