Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rewards Chart

So last week, we decided to start a rewards chart.  We are trying to give the girls something they can work toward so they can see the results of their good behavior.  We are trying to encourage the Vampire to stop biting, and the Drama Queen to stop being so mouthy.  Most of the rewards are simple every day things (that the Vampire struggles with) like getting dressed, brush your teeth, get ready for bed.  We added a "take care of animals" and "keep your room clean" reward so that they would have a responsibilities.  I think it is important for children to feel necessary, and like they are helping out around the house.  It is also good that they learn to do these things for when they are older.  They have a "keep your undies clean", "no hurting others" and "take care of your hair" because these are behaviors we want to change, and we hope that positive reinforcement of these behaviors will change it. 

Since the start of the rewards chart, they both messed their pants at least once a day.  The Vampire bit every day but one.  My mom had called last weekend and asked if she could keep the girls, and I told her sure - we would make it the big reward at the end of the week!  We told the girls that if they could get 40 out of a possible 48 rewards then they would get to stay at mamaw's.  The Drama Queen barely earned her 40 rewards.  The Vampire...  didn't.  So we told the Vampire that she couldn't stay with Mamaw.  She seemed upset about it at first.  Then seemed thrilled that she was going to have Uncle M and I all to herself.  She didn't cry.  She didn't fight.  She didn't throw a fit that she couldn't stay.  She just smiled and came home with us after we dropped the Drama Queen off at Mamaw's. 

So I think our little plan backfired in our faces.  I don't think we managed to "teach her a lesson" about her biting being the wrong decision.  We also lost a date night in the whole mix.  We usually go out on a date when mom offers to keep the girls.  I feel like I was the one punished instead of her.   The Vampire LOVES to play with her My Little Ponies.  She has a bucket full of them, and will play with them for hours.  So we took the entire bucket away from her and told her that every day she goes without biting, she will earn a My Little Pony back to play with, but if she bites, she has to give up all the Ponies she earned, and start over again.  She cried for a little bit and said "what am I supposed to play with?!?!"  I told her anything but her Ponies.  She then says "I'll color", and breaks out the crayons and coloring book.  I walk off and continue what I am doing and hope that we are getting through to her somehow.  We are so tired of the biting and aggression.

On the 21st of this month, I have to meet with the CDC (Children's Diagnostic Center) for a pre-appointment for a battery of tests to see if the Vampire is Autistic.  The girls' therapist has decided it is time to test her.  I have such mixed feelings about this.  I know that it is a spectrum disorder.  I know she is not on the worst end of the spectrum, and that if she has it at all it is Aspbergers or high functioning.  I feel like Autism is being over-diagnosed.  When a kid has things that are wrong with them and the doctors can't quite figure out what it is...  they say Autism.  I don't want my little girl to be mis-diagnosed.  I don't want her to be lumped with gobs of other children who may have been mis-diagnosed.  But I do want her to get any help she may need.  So I am going to proceed with caution and take everything I hear with a grain of salt until I can research it and move forward from there.  I will keep you up on our progress with this situation.

I have been feeling detached lately.  I work so much, and we are so busy through the week that I don't get much time with the girls.  What little time I have, I am usually putting them in time out because they are lying, fighting, biting, etc.  I have about two hours with them when I am home from work and a good portion of that time is consumed with dinner, and preparation for bed activities (which they fight with us a lot during that time).  I can't reward bad behavior and since they both messed their pants pretty much every day last week, and the Vampire couldn't quit hurting people, I couldn't smile and laugh and pretend like everything was just fine.  I guess this is what life as a parent is like.

The dance recital date has been announced.  Fathers' day.  June 19th.  We have photos on May 1st.  Dance season is heating up!  The girls are learning their routines, and doing fairly well.  The dance teacher has such patience with the Vampire, and I am so thankful for that.  I know it can be frustrating to teach a class and have one child act out on a constant basis. 

Baata and the kitten are getting along much better.  She likes to try to play with him and he has to put her in her place frequently.  She is still afraid of the dog, but too silly to realize that he is also afraid of her.  He is such a big baby.  She brought fleas into the house, and we are trying to de-flea everything.  I had to buy some frontline.  I hate purchasing that stuff.  It is so expensive, but it knocks out the flea issue. 

We worked in the greenhouse last weekend.  The girls helped me plant seeds, and clean up the yard.  We hope to see some sprouts in the next few weeks.  I can't wait to get into full swing of gardening out there, so the girls can have a hand in helping me supply our family with fresh fruits/vegetables!  I loved to see the excitement and joy on their faces as they helped me plant seeds and dig in the dirt.  Those were truly magical moments.

My sister has been texting still.  She told my mom that she may not come to visit in March, that she has been having troubles and might not be able to make it.  I worry about her.  She also told mom that if we feel that it isn't a good idea that she sees her kids, then she will understand.   She said she doesn't want to make it harder on them than it all ready is.  I cried a bit when I read that message from her.  I hate that it has all come to this.  I truly do.  The Drama Queen has been calling me mom and Uncle M dad very often.  One of my good friends heard her do it when she picked her up from school one day and texted me saying "SHE CALLED YOU MOMMY!!!"  It was bittersweet.  I am so glad she is feeling comfortable, confident enough in her life that I am a mother figure.  Yet I am saddened that her own true mother, my sister has chosen to step out of the picture.  Such is our life right now - and all we can do is live it. 

Aunt TT

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