The Swing Incentive

In my house, the barriers to entry for anything child-related are high. My husband generally rejects toys that make noise, are too plastic-y or take up too much space. I tend to veto anything that hasn’t been approved by multiple child-safety boards. So when Nivi built this “swing” in the middle of our living room, I was in a bind.

The thing is, the Fisher-Price swing we were given as a gift broke all of Nivi’s rules: it made noise, was deeply plastic and took up a lot of space. Whereas the only part that was plastic in Nivi’s swing was the Rubbermaid base. So that’s our daughter at about two months, swaddled to near-suffocation and snoozing in a Rubbermaid storage bin with a yoga mat underneath her for padding and two wadded up towels on either side of her to keep her from rolling around. The bin is attached to the ceiling with rope and a metal hook clipped to a bolt Nivi drilled into a ceiling beam.

The “genius” of the thing, according to him, was that you could sit in a chair and read with your left hand while pushing the swing with your right hand.

The “problem” with the thing, according to me, is that it was missing a little device called a five-point harness. You know, the thing that keeps children from falling out of car seats, strollers and swings and, well, dying.

“Woman,” Nivi said, after a week of listening to me gasp every time he put the baby in the swing. “Let me build shit for my kid in peace.”

To cut a long story short, I eventually gave in. It came down to picking my battles, but also to incentives. If I vetoed every attempt he made to do things for our daughter, the likely result–besides us fighting all the time–was that he would stop doing anything. Why bother, if I was just going to nix all his efforts? Next thing you know, I’d be doing everything, and that would just be stupid.

And heck, the kid slept great in it.

Posted in incentives

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