Week 3, Day 1

The girls succeeded with being on time for both school and bedtime for five days in a row, so last night they got to stay up half an hour later, and we used that extra time to play a game all together. Good times.

And this morning much success with “Yes! As soon as…” as in: “Mom, can I go to so-and-so’s house?” “Yes! As soon as you clean the gerbil cage.” “Mom, can we go to McDonalds?” “Yes! As soon as you clean the rat cage.” “Mom, will you play the ball game with me?” “Yes! As soon as you take a bath.” Check, check, check.

After washing Charlotte’s hair, it occurred to me that I had never given her the opportunity to dry herself off after her bath. She’s the youngest and I’ve been doing it since she was a baby and I just kept on doing it … for six years! Usually I stand there with a towel and say, “C’mon! Time to get out! I know it’s cold. Quickly and I’ll wrap you up … C’mon Charlotte! I don’t like waiting!..etc…etc.” So today I said, “Charlotte, I was willing to wash your hair, but this time I’m going to let you dry yourself off and you can get out whenever you want.” And I walked out to the sound of “Naaawwwwwwww!…..” But the sound stopped quickly and a few minutes later, here she comes down the stairs dry and dressed. Who knew?!

So speaking of budding independence, week three is when we think about training. What do the girls know how to do and what do they need to learn before they strike out on their own? There’s self-care skills, social skills, and life skills. There’s a lot to know, so it feels good to be making lists and planning it out.

We made an initial attempt last week to inspire them to pick up after themselves. We noticed how much they enjoyed eating in the living room in front of the TV during ‘do nothing/say nothing’ week, so we said, if you all do all these things for five days in a row, you earn the privilege of eating in the living room:

  • Dishes from table into dishwasher
  • Personal items cleared from table
  • Garbage in garbage
  • Toys put away when done
  • Coats hung up & shoes out of walkway
  • Flush!

The result? NOTHING. No change. Nada. I mean, five days in a row? Try not even five minutes in a row. Ok, good information for later. Moving on…. So we’re working on a list of skills to look at together with the girls. More on that to come.

Meanwhile, it’s school vacation week so there’s oodles of time for the girls to work on their social skills with each other 😉 Yesterday we had car chaos coming home from a movie which was really hard because there’s no escape! The only thing we required was seatbelts on but of course they still found ways to drive each other crazy. I tried to envision a wall of plexiglass like you see in some taxi cabs. Meanwhile Jerry’s grip on the steering wheel got tighter and tighter. “I’m going nuts,” he grumbled. But we both managed to stay quiet. (Readers: see Vicki’s comment on this post for a better way to handle car fighting.)

This morning Jerry put up the hammock outside and the girls almost immediately started fighting over it. Jerry’s hackles went up. At one point I saw Charlotte look right at him as she was yelling something at Ellen. Then he looked at me and mouthed the words, “I can’t stand it!” “Yes you can!” I said back. “No audience!” Later I asked him, “Anything I can do to help you tune that stuff out?” “No, I just need you to remind me, that’s all.” I can do that.

Our behavior shift is definitely having an effect. For example, Ellen and I were playing a ball game and Charlotte kept trying to insert herself into the game despite Ellen’s strong disapproval. (Charlotte had had her turn playing frisbee with me and now it was Ellen’s turn.) We kept moving the game until finally Charlotte stole the ball and ran away. Before I would’ve chased her down and scolded her and then went to work consoling Ellen. But this time I just sat there until I realized that I was all alone. Ellen had left in frustration and Charlotte was nowhere to be seen. So I went inside. Charlotte was inside too and she had a worried look on her face. “Mom? I’m sorry I ruined your time with Ellen….I’ll tell you where the ball is….”

Later on, during another squabble I heard Charlotte say, “Ellen, why are you so mad?!” “You know why!” yelled Ellen. “Because you ruined my time with mom, that’s why!” and she slammed the door.

Learning…we’re all learning….

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 3: Timeline for Training

3 Comments on “Week 3, Day 1”

  1. Vicki Says:

    Hi,

    Here is something I didn’t mention at during the workshop. Because screaming children in a car are a hazard to everyone else on the road, the easiest solution is pull over, stop the car, open the doors and escort children out to continue their fight. You get back in the car, close the doors and lock them and wait for them to settle it. They may snap too in 30 seconds and they may decide to test you for 15 minutes. Doesn’t matter, because when you get home, they owe you the lost time. So, it can come off the family fun time, or reading in the evening or something else. The point is, they begin to learn a few things:

    1. Cars are not for fighting in, they are for driving and they are a privilege (hing, hint).
    2. Lost times is lost time. You have to make up the difference somewhere and you have already suffered through the fighting. Makes sense to take the time away from the offenders.
    3. If they don’t get out of the car, you get out of the car – “Girls, I can not MAKE you cooperate in the car so that I can drive safely, and you can not MAKE me drive the car. Any thoughts on how you plan on solving the problem?”

    Have fun.

    • flockmother Says:

      Oh, that’s very helpful. I’ve tried the pull-over thing in the past, but the idea of taking the lost time away from something else makes total sense.
      Thanks!!

  2. Debby Says:

    Tried Vicki’s suggestion today and it worked beautifully! Less than 30 seconds, really. Even the 2-year-old stopped hollering.


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