Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

Pictures, bribery and parenting

Sorry for the blog outage.  I’ve been mourning the death of my Garmin 305.  Wailing, gnashing teeth, and checking prices of Garmins on Amazon.  Anybody like the 410?

So there’s a chance Asa and I might have our picture in a magazine.  Very exciting.  And if it happens, I want you to know the backstory.

For one reason and another, the magazine wasn’t allowed to use the picture of Asa and me on this website that was taken by the San Antonio Express-News a couple of years back.  They asked if I could send them another one of us running together.  I didn’t have one.  (What mother has a picture of herself frolicking in running clothes with her small child?  When I’m in running clothes, I’m either unshowered and headed out for a run or I’m returning from one drenched in sweat.  In either case, I do not jog around with Asa in a picturesque location looking cute.)  Could I take one in the next three days?  And could we position ourselves a little closer in the frame this time?  My first and overwhelming reaction was: “Of course I can!  How wonderful to be pictured together with my little son in a magazine!”  My second reaction was: “Crap. Crap. Crap.”  Cut to me waking Asa up from an unexpectedly long nap to meet my friends Robert and Lauren and their fancy camera at Eisenhower Park.  Asa was not happy to be awake.  He was not interested in changing into “running clothes”  (t-shirt, jean shorts, and Stride Rites), and he certainly wasn’t interested in getting in the car.  I stuffed the running clothes into my purse and did my best to sell the experience.  He was unimpressed, but compliant.  I put the clothes on him in the back of the car at the park parking lot and then herded him towards the trail head —  just past the playground with the rock climbing wall.  He really really really wanted to play for just a little while before we took pictures.  I recited a laundry list of reasons why we needed to take the pictures right away.  I was scheduled to be back at the park in an hour to do some group coaching and I needed to shuttle Asa back home before that — a 40 minute round trip –, Robert and Lauren were waiting, wha wha wah wah wah.  Asa was distraught.  A rare tantrum ensued.  I thought hateful things about photo editors while I tried to calm him and get his face to stop being red and puffy and tear streaked.  Our cuteness window was about to close.  I tried to sell the pleasures of running again, I cajoled, I was firm and spoke with a serious voice — and then I stooped to bribery.  That’s right.  “If you stop crying I will buy you a medium sized box of Legos.”  That’s what I want you remember if you ever see this picture.  She just bribed her kid.  Of course it worked.  That’s why parents use bribery.  He stopped crying and after a little clarification about the terms of the bribe (“You have to actually smile, son. Or no Legos.”), the photo shoot was on.  Cuteness was captured — in close proximity.  And then Lauren offered to take Asa home with her kids and feed him Sponge Bob macaroni and cheese and let him watch a movie while I coached.  I hugged her and plopped Asa in the back of her minivan.

It was my first child bribe and I feel pretty low about how the day played out.  Still, Asa seems relatively unscathed.  He chose a Lego ambulance and practiced rescuing Lego car crash victims.  (He could have asked for the Lego ATM robbery set.)   So there’s that at least.

20 thoughts on “Pictures, bribery and parenting

  1. Caweber2001 says:

    It’s so cute Asa already knows what he wants to be when he grows up! Definitely a rescuer of some sort!

  2. Katgolando says:

    Rookie!  Some of us have been bribing our child for YEARS.  

  3. Tlbspitzer says:

    I love it! We were all bribed at some point and we turned out reasonably okay. 

  4. Sara Grafton says:

    In my new gig as “temporary-stay-at-home-mom” bribery has been an effective tool.  I am able to bribe Alex with trips to the playground.  There are lots of good playgrounds around here and lots of opportunities for bribery.

    The Lego ambulance sounds cool.  Alex is getting closer to the Lego age and my husband is looking forward to that.  

  5. Pommers says:

    Great story Liza! I think bribing with Lego is fine as it is a constructive activity, so don’t feel too bad about it – the slippery slope to the dark side of bribery starts with food and snacks, which I’ve known people resort to in the past, but then that’s probably a whole other debate!
    I have a Garmin 405 which is similar to the 410. They are great watches, simple to use and I love the touch bezel ring to operate it. Downsides would be the battery which tends to only last for 7-8 hours with the GPS engaged and the dubious waterproof nature of the timepiece – I had to send a couple back after running in rain, which I know you love :-)

    • Liza says:

      I will take your word on this — as someone who is successfully raising more than one child. Agreed on the food/snack bribery.  Of course, the desserts and snacks around here have been pretty lame lately, so I don’t think work much as bribes anyway.  There’s a nice baked apple with your name on it if you stop whining. 
      I think I’m going to go with the 410.  I just need to cajole a few more clients my way.  

  6. Dr. Bribe says:

    You can send your old Garmin in & have it “refurbished” for $79. Joe T. just did this & they sent him a new one. My dead Garmin is in my running gear drawer waiting to be refurbished. I got the 410XT & love it. It lasted me 75 miles at Rocky – about 18 hours, but could probably go the 20+ hours advertised with the right setting. 
    Also, even adults like a good bribe once in a while. I believe a recent one was Roctane for a ride to a group run! :)

    • Liza says:

      Thanks for that info Dr. Bribe.  I am going to save up for the XT and see if I can find a home for Big Red. 
      I’m happy to bribe an adult any time. It’s just the children I still have a conscience about.

  7. WT says:

    Legos are awesome.

  8. mtnrunner2 says:

    The 405 was my first GPS and it’s pretty close, and now I have the 310 XT. 

    Overall I liked it, even though I’d still probably prefer buttons to the bezel (although it made for a nice-looking watch). My main problem was the battery life; I was down to 5 hours, and even for my modest long runs that wasn’t enough. The 310 is rated at 20 hours. It’s also waterproof, and my 405 died primarily because of sweat leaking into the watch. 

    So far I like it a lot, and don’t mind getting back to the buttons. Most functionality is the same, like the screens and data choices. Of course as you know from the 305, it does look like a Dick Tracy two-way wrist TV.

    • Liza says:

      A few folks here in San Antonio have had similar troubles with the 405.  I want to believe the 410 is better because I’m tired of struggling to get my jacket off over the 310 when I’m wearing it.  And it takes up a good third of my forearm.  

  9. I had to bribe my kids with live chicks in order to go to a women’s retreat  once. (I guess sometimes God speaks to me in chicken as well.) It was all well till 2 of them turned out to be roosters practicing their morning wake up call got them and thier siblings a trip to “the farm”. Legos would have been a better choice. 

  10. Darryl says:

    I’ve been reading/catching up on all your blog posts Liza…..great stuff!

  11. Domingo says:

    You could bribe Asa with candy? Except would probably be too happy and even out of control!

  12. […] she’s kind of a mess” angle, you know better.  :)  And remember the picture’s backstory […]

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