Disney has a lot to answer for.
A word of warning if you’re considering instigating a star chart as a way of blackmailing your child into doing something – be very careful what reward you offer.
We started potty training our three year old about six months ago and we got off really lightly as he took to it pretty quickly and - touch wood - we’ve only had two accidents the entire time. Using the toilet hasn’t been the challenge for Arthur, it’s cleaning up after himself that he doesn’t like. I know he’s only three but I can’t help but picture him as a 25 year old man still asking people to wipe his bottom. With just over a year until he starts school, we decided it was time to introduce a star chart.
We started the process off by asking Arthur what toy he would like as a ‘well done’ toy and, without any hesitation, he said he wanted a Buzz Lightyear. Toy Story is the big thing in our house at the moment. He’s got a dinosaur and Buzz fancy dress costume, he’s got a Mr Potato Head, so really the Buzz action figure was a pretty obvious choice. The problem with him wanting that particular toy is that it really isn’t cheap. He doesn’t want just any old Buzz, he wants the large one with moveable arms and legs and buttons that make sounds when pressed, with Buzz saying “To infinity and beyond” - or as Arthur says: “to fiddely and beyond.” The Buzz that will do all of that is about £35, and that is a pretty massive toy for a star chart reward. Luckily for us, our star chart has space for up to 40 stars which would take him about a month to complete, so at least we were able to eek it out a bit.
I always try and buy second hand toys where I can. So often what are kids favourite toys one week, are at the back of the toy box the next and so still look good as new long after they’ve fallen out of favour. I had a gander at Facebook Marketplace and found a Buzz and a Woody being sold as a pair in Pudsey for less that £20 – what a bargain! Now ,full disclosure, the write-up mentioned being a bit worse for wear with stickers coming off and scratches but it said there was still life left in them, so off my husband and I went on a secret mission to purchase Buzz. When we were handed the toys though, Buzz and Woody looked half chewed and like they’d been mauled by a dog. Rather than just say ‘no thanks’ and leave, I felt bad because they were exactly as described and it was my fault for not taking in that description properly so I handed over the cash and hid them in the boot of my car knowing that Arthur would never see them unless I could get him a Tetanus booster first. The problem was though that we were now only three stars away from needing to produce the goods so were left with no choice but to pop to Argos making this stupid piece of plastic the most expensive star chart toy ever. That, and I now had to get rid of original Buzz and Woody but after watching the films there was no way I could hand them over to landfill so - a month on - they are still in my car.
Still, as an upside it meant Arthur was wiping his own backside without too much moaning and he was absolutely thrilled when he got his toy – he’s taken it to bed with him every day for the last week. But there’s a problem. A loud and embarrassing problem.
You see he’s not quite conquered the wiping yet so we’re going to need to do one more chart. When he was on the first star gaining expedition he used to run around telling people at full volume “Mummy says if I wipe my bottom she is going to five me a Buzz Lightyear!’ which was fine. The issue is that now Arthur want’s Buzz’s friend Woody and not only is he not afraid to tell everyone (strangers included) he also gives zero background information. I’m waiting for a call from social services any day now.