Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Three Sticker Morning

As you know, we've been using a reward system for Casey to help him recognize the difference between good behaviors and bad behaviors. We only give stickers. We never take them away. And these next two weeks, in addition to stickers, we're trying something new. Instead of removing Casey from a situation where he can't control our impulses, we are removing ourselves. Yup. You read that correctly.

On Saturday evening when Casey pushed Marcie, instead of putting him in time out, I simply picked up Marcie, told her: "Mommy is going to keep you safe. Mommy will not allow Casey to hurt you," and walked out of the room with her. Casey was less than pleased. He actually followed me to try to hit me. So I closed the door. And after he stopped yelling, I went back to talk to him about his behavior. I have no idea if it will work, but I'm going to give it a shot-- nothing to lose really. And what precipitated this move is that when we put Casey in time out, he throws things at us if he's mad. And if we send him to his room, he reads or plays quietly. Option A (time out with him throwing things) isn't helping him calm down-- and it puts us in harm's way-- mildly so, anyway. Option B (time out in his room) gives him plenty of time to calm down, but he gets to play, and that's not much of a punishment for his poor behavior. But for some reason, removing myself from the situation is such a shock to him, I think it might actually work. If we're consistent. I'll let you know in about a month-- that's how long I like to give these things.

Anyway, we are also continuing with the stickers. And Casey had a tremendous three-sticker morning. Marcie actually woke up before him today, so she was finishing her sippy cup when he came in the room. Immediately I congratulated him for sleeping in his own bed all night long. (For those of you keeping score, this is only the second time he's stayed in his own bed all night since mid-January.) We went to his room and added a sticker to his chart. I asked him to take of his pajamas so he could get dressed, and he immediately did. Now, I admit it helps that his class has a make-believe trip to Japan scheduled for today. We carefully packed his backpack for the trip last night-- two Thomas trains, a stuffed bear he received from Aunt Tiffany for Valentine's Day, a pair of socks, and a pair of underwear-- so I just had to remind him that he needed to get dressed for his big make-believe flight on the great big pretend airplane to Japan today, he was rarin' to go. After dressing and brushing his teeth, he received another sticker.

His third sticker came when he came whining and crying (sort of) to me that Marcie had taken one of his chicken nuggets. She hadn't. I actually threw out the chicken last night after he went to bed, but she had a graham cracker stick in her hand, and they are the same color as the chicken nuggets. Still, he came to me instead of pushing her, and that was a major break-through as far as I was concerned. So we put another sticker on the chart.

All in all, a good morning for Casey. And for me. And not bad for Marcie, either.

By the way, Marcie has learned the word "mine." We think this is astounding, of course. Casey didn't learn the word "mine" until he was around 3 1/2 years old. Last night she had something Jason wanted, and when he asked for it, she actually said: "No. Mine," and toddled off. It's hard not to grin in those situations-- even when being defied.

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