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I Paid My Grandson to Do a Handstand. Twice.


“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt

When I launched Handstanding Grandma, I planned to have a photo of Grandma doing handstands with her two grandchildren. I envisioned the three of us, propped up against a wall, wearing cheese grins as we mugged for the camera. Well that went south in a big hurry. My granddaughter, who was four at the time, had no interest whatsoever in participating, and my grandson was less than enthusiastic about it. I thought about pleading and cajoling, but instead, I told him I’d pay him five dollars. That peaked his interest.

(This may be considered by some to be a bribe, but I look at it as an act of positive motivation. I mean, I didn’t yell at him or threaten punishment, or worse yet, try to guilt him into it. I offered him a crisp five dollar bill that he could use on our next trip to Target. If nothing else, it was a talent fee for a photo shoot.)

However, just because you’re paid to a handstand doesn’t mean you can do one. I’m not sure why that didn’t occur to me, because heaven knows I couldn’t one before I was 50, and I don’t recall ever seeing any of my sons do handstands when they were younger. But still, in my mind, he would be able to do a handstand at the wall. That was not the case. He got his feet on the wall OK, but coming down was not very pretty. His arms gave out, he collapsed on his head (thank goodness it was on the grass), and then his legs slid down the brick wall resulting in a couple of scrapes, a little bit of blood, and a few tears. Ugh.

So I waited a couple of months and then decided we’d try again. I waved another five dollar bill at him, told him that we’d try it on the carpet against a smooth wall, and this time I’d talk him through it. I backed him up against the wall, told him to put his hands on the floor, and then instructed him to walk his feet up. Success! He didn’t have his hands very close to the wall, and he still moaned that he hurt all over when he was done, but for a few seconds, he did it.

Still no picture with the two of us wearing cheesy grins, but we did have a nice moment. And with the help of a five dollar bill, he believed he could do a handstand.

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