Monday, October 26, 2009
On The Road to Healing
We are back to having bath time troubles. As in she does not want to take a bath. The why? I don’t really know. Sure I have my guesses but… At one time bath time and bedtime were no fun time, for the grown ups.
One ace in the hole regarding Miss M is that she is food motivated. As I have said before I will not use food as punishment. But one suggestion the CBA made after being here for a few months was that since Miss M wanted her dessert after dinner every night and that seemed pretty important to her (because she started asking about it before dinner ever started) and bath time was a problem time he recommended that dessert be contingent on bathing. He had observed that she did not care about much, was not motivated by much but she did care about food and treats. I was okay with that because no one needs dessert, it’s a treat. And earning dessert by cooperating by getting a bath first seemed okay to me, it was more about changing the order in which we did things.
I knew full well this would work once or twice if at all and then she would try to turn the tables. Just as I suspected it worked okay for a few days and then she decided she did not want dessert or the darn bath.
Not a problem. If you’re too tired for dessert and bath that’s okay we will do your bath in the morning before school. Off to bed you go sleepy head.
“Will I get dessert in the morning?”
“Do we eat dessert in the morning?”
We went through that kind of testing the waters several times and then it leveled out and became habit. Bath. Dessert. Bed. Second verse same as the first. And it’s the same for all the kids, and they ask almost every night, “Can I have dessert?”
Mom - “When do we eat dessert?”
Kids - “After bath.”
Mom - “You got it!”
They are all really slick too because they will wait until I’m buzzing around with another child or another chore or the dog or the phone or or or, and then they’ll drop the dessert bomb on me. But all in all it works well.
There is also the whole skid marks in the un-dah wears. Now I am trying to be as non-gross here as I can but we aren’t really talking simply a little skid mark situation. It’s more of a crash and burn, caked on, sat in all day, the rear end now requires cream, how did no one smell this, I can poop in my pants and you can’t stop - me kind of a thing.
This problem was getting worse and not better. It was happening more days than not when Miss M was at school. Not happening at home at all.
We had gone the vinegar water scrub brush not a big deal but let’s be responsible for the mess cause someone has to clean it route. Which is a good policy I think, but it didn’t deter the behavior.
So we went back to the treat thing with the CBA’s encouragement. Big check mark on the calendar means she had clean pants that day. 5 check marks means that she had clean pants all week and she can go to the store and pick out ANY CANDY BAR treat she wants. The behavior stopped immediately. Boom boom boom no messy pants in the room.
That was week 1. Week 2 day 1 went well. Week 2 day 2 went well and then Mr. CBA mentioned that Mom had mentioned that she was doing a good job keeping her pants clean and that she had earned a reward.
Remember in Finding Nemo when Marlin and Dory had the happy feeling as they swam toward the beautiful light. And then they realized the light was attached to the fish who was going to eat them and Marlin said, “Happy feeling gone!”
Well that was my moment when Mr. CBA made that comment because Miss M cut those eyes over at me like what’s he doing talking to me about this and I knew I was sunk. So for the rest of that week the pants were not so pretty.
Treat day came and so did her reality check. She had an ah-ha moment and apparently that treat is a pretty good motivator because week 3 was last week and on Friday she had earned that trip to the candy store.
Now there was also the matter of wanting to be a car rider in the afternoon and not attending the aftercare program at school. I’m guessing that since they have tightened up security down there at aftercare and no more bullying is going on that aftercare just isn’t what it used to be. For her. I’m just guessing.
At any rate Miss M let me know that she wanted to be a car rider now and not go to aftercare anymore. I thought quick on my feet and explained that aftercare let’s her have time to go play on the play ground and have fun and that since she needed extra help sometimes it was best to have two adults at home so that when she needed help we could give her help. Nan picks her up from aftercare and then she comes home and we have dinner and homework time and playtime at home. Got it? Love ya! We high 5’d and moved on.
I knew that I would hear more on the subject. Last week Miss M’s teacher had dismissal duty where she had to help direct traffic for the kids being picked up by their parents. This meant that Miss M had a new comer in charge of her before she went to aftercare.
She used this opportunity to inform said newcomer that she was not an aftercare kid but a car rider. I am figuring she got as far as her teacher who was outside at the car rider pick up area and then teacher probably sent her packing, headed off to aftercare.
We had a little chitchat about the danger of that situation and that she needed to be where she was supposed to be so that she could be safe. I don’t think that will be the end of the story.
Impressive the way she figured that all out, no? She might have made it through if her teacher had not been there at car rider pick up.
It tugs at my heart that we can’t have her here in the afternoon, yet. All of the agencies in our county are aware of the situation here, the danger aspects. We made them aware and they are also aware of the two adults at all times rule.
It isn’t what I imagined but … the kids are all loved, happy, and safe. And that is success in it’s self on this road to healing.