Somewhere in the middle of the school year, we stopped using Brili.
Only, as big mistakes go, we kept failing to repair it.
Each morning seemed to elicit louder shouts from our 9-year-old as she insisted she didn't have enough time to eat. (Here's a hint: Instead of giving lengthy details about every Shopkins toy you own, you should pick up your spoon, put it in the oatmeal, and bring it to your mouth. I don't know. It's just something to consider.)
The stomps on the stairs began to reach epic levels of loudness as she protested about being sent back up to brush her teeth or find appropriate footwear. (No, you cannot wear dress shoes when it's blizzarding outside.)
Our urging words about the bus's impending arrival only made her pace slow down until she crumpled in the middle of the stairs with the heaviest of woes... which only made our urging grow louder and angrier.
When she finally made it downstairs with clean teeth, matching clothes, and a suitable hairstyle, there were no smiles to be passed around. And all of us were so grumpy with each other that none of us even wanted to make the effort to pull a smile together.
But either myself or my husband would force a smile, grab a hug, and try to make amends for the previous shouting before sending her out the door. The problem with hasty amends is they don't really feel all that... amendable. We hated sending her off to face the day with barely-dried tears and a handful of fresh, angry memories of her parents' shouts at her.
After the whirlwind that was our daughter exited the house each morning, I would look at my husband and say, "We REALLY need to start using Brili again."
He would agree, and then we'd get caught up in the rest of our morning responsibilities and forget.
We consider ourselves to be sensible people, but this went on for months. Months!
We have now determined that we are, in fact, not all that sensible. Why would we continue to beat our heads against the wall each and every morning when the tool that could fix everything was just a button away?
Finally, We Remembered
I don't know what finally turned the tide, but one morning, we remembered to start using Brili again.
At first, our daughter protested. "Brili doesn't give me enough time to eat!" she claimed.
No problem. We adjusted some of the other action items, and voila! She now had the time she felt she needed.
With Brili open and the phone in her hand, she moved through her morning routine with the laser focus of a cheetah closing in on its prey.
She discovered she didn't actually need the extra time at breakfast. It turns out that having Brili sitting there, waiting to be swiped, was enough motivation to stop with the Shopkins talk and start with the eating.
We didn't have to remind her to get her shoes because they were already on her feet. Teeth? Done. And done well.
There was no crumpling halfway up the stairs. Instead, there was a happy girl bounding down the stairs, Brili routine complete, with minutes to spare. There was time to sit and snuggle, a definite upgrade from the hasty hugs of the past that repaired nothing.
This continued the next day. And the next. And the next. My husband and I would pinch ourselves, but this wasn't a dream. She had done a complete turnaround.
Brili Benefits I Didn't Expect
One afternoon after school, I told her she needed to head upstairs to clean her floor and make her bed, chores she used to be responsible for in the afternoons because there was no time in the mornings.
"I don't need to!" she said.
Preparing myself for an argument, I asked why not.
"Because!" she smiled. "Brili tells me to do that in the morning."
I wasn't so sure, so I took a glance in her room and discovered that her bed was not only made, it was actually made well. It turns out Dad forgot to tell me he had added those tasks to her routine before we began using Brili again.
When done in the afternoon, these tasks used to take at least an hour as my daughter whined and complained her way through them. And they were never done well. Now? Corners were tucked in, there was no trash on the floor, and my daughter was standing next to me, smiling.
"Well, isn't that amazing!" I exclaimed. "Let's go do something together instead."