Friday, October 5, 2007

How annoying...

In my 12 years of being a mother I've discovered raising kids is an adventure in every respect. Not only do my five kids have 5 completely different personalities, but they've also each found their own set of difficult phases to pass through…unfortunately often at the same time as another sibling or two going through another kind of phase.

Cami was a breath holder who would pass out several times a week—and she wasn't even a year old yet! Ahem…a little glimpse into her intense, perfectionistic nature which causes her to write a four page paper when all that was required was one paragraph (true story that happened just last night!)

Another attorney in the family?

Spencer went through a really long phase of screaming hysterically and hiding every time I went to pick him up from a friend's house….thankfully he's outgrown that one as I'm pretty sure I wouldn't stand a chance dragging him anywhere these days!

At over 5 feet now...I'm not dragging him anywhere!

Emma is at the tail-end (we hope) of a phase of screaming loudly whenever she doesn't get what she wants. It doesn't matter where we might happen to be, the grocery store, the park, at a friend's, our house with a friend…she screams uncontrollably to no avail. A complete and total lack of reinforcement of never once giving in to whatever caused the tantrum was little deterrent for her, in fact it came to the point where I think she began to secretly liked the lengthy lectures that followed each of her episodes. Her tantrums haven't quite ceased yet, but they have decreased dramatically in their frequency. Hallelujah!

I'm smiling now, but you don't want to see what happens if you take away my milkshake!

Now Adam's always been a funny guy with his phases. He was a hard kid from the day he was born…never took a bottle (even in the NICU), never slept unless we held him, wouldn't sit in strollers, had allergies, asthma and frequent ear infections, and in general despite him being surgically implanted into the Baby Bjorn and attached to my chest every moment of every day, he was still a fussy guy until he was about 2.

A perfect angel? Almost.

Ellie's phases have been mild thus far, take for example her current phase of background praying (a little echo if you will) with every single family prayer that is said. Personally I think it's pretty cute, although I know from experience there is definitely some not-so-cute phases to come!

I'm so cute, I'm sure my prayers count for double!

So in all these years and with all these phases plus countless many other, I've had to exert my creative mothering skills to the extreme to find solutions. One morning in complete exasperation after Emma had come to our bed for the thousandth night in a row, and kept us up all night with kicking, squirming, and talking, I decided I could take it no longer. Talking, encouraging, and moving her (or ourselves) was getting us nowhere! So this one morning after no forethought whatsoever I tell her to make a chart (reminiscent of a potty training chart). Every night she stays in her own bed, she gets a sticker. After 10 stickers she gets a Barbie and after 30 nights a trip to IHOP. Wow! She made that chart in 5 minutes flat and hasn't slept in our bed since!

Then within a few days of implementing this with Emma, and seeing the excitement with which she sallied forth staying in her own bed, we decide to try it to get Adam out of diapers at night. His transition wasn't quite as smooth, but surprisingly it worked for him too! He still doesn't wake up very well at night, but he's learned to gauge how much he can drink to keep himself dry.

Adam and Emma enjoying the fruits of their labors at IHOP

So I've been converted to a new way of motherhood with a firm testimony of positive reinforcement.

Hmmmm….what else can I make a chart for? Mowing the lawn? Not snoring?

1 comment:

Twinkies said...

Your such an awesome and patient mom!!

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