Monday, 22 November 2010

The Straw.

We went out for a meal this week. When we came to order our food we asked Jack if he'd like some of the lemon drink (7up) that he's lately developed a taste for. It's a welcome change from Fruit Shoots.

When the waiter arrived with the drinks Jack was, at first, concerned by the size of the bottle his 7up was in. Wow that's huge, I'm not going to even be able to lift it. But the waiter was one step ahead of him and promptly stuck a bendy straw into the bottle. Jack loves bendy straws and he was fascinated at how the straw managed to float in the bottle all by itself so it was a good resolution.

About 15 minutes into the meal Jack started having a little trouble with his drink. It seemed that the more he drank, the lower into the bottle the straw seemed to sink. At one point Jack nearly lost the straw in the bottle. 'Not to worry' we remedied the situation by changing the bend in the straw so that it hung rather than floated. Jack was once again happy with the solution and carried on.
A few more minuted passed before I watched Jack lose the straw down into the bottle. He discretely attempted to retrieve the straw first with his tongue, then his lips then his fingers. Finally he gave up and sighed saying... So much for that idea...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Little Monkeys Walking in the Hills


Jack and I try to walk the dogs as often as possible. Our usual trek is a three quarter mile circuit around Hednesford Hills just up the road from our house.

Jack isn't a big fan of the walks as you can imagine. His mood when the initial announcement of the walk is made tells of how much of a fight we're in for. He complains for the duration of the walk that he's bored or tired or more commonly that is legs don't bend in the middle.

Some days aren't so bad, possibly he's just resigned to his fate a little easier, these are the days we have our most insightful conversations. Sometimes we talk about hugely complicated issues such as school, autumn, hot-air balloons, the speed of sound, planetary alignment etc. Sometimes he just walks along in his own little world talking to himself or singing songs. Today he was singing.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device. Like you even care.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Reward Chart

Today we start the reward chart, we join all the other parents taking advice from the likes of the super-nannies. Jack is generally a very well behaved child, this is just intended to break a few behavioral habits. These are the little things with which we have trouble every... single... day. You can almost set your watch by them. This has been a long time coming.

There are four main habits that we're out to defeat.

Dinner time.

Since Jack's teeth came in we've had trouble at dinner time. I don't know what it is about that meal but he always puts up a fight when it comes to eating it. He'll gab, and fiddle and play about until finally resorting to just flat out refusal to eat at all. It's rare that dinner takes any less than an hour from the time we sit down and with bed time looming it can be quite stressful for us, Jack can't seem to get to sleep with a full tummy. We've tried all sorts of things to encourage him to just eat his dinner but it's never got any better. This is one of the main elements of the reward chart.

Dog walking.

Jack doesn't like walking the dogs and often will whinge and complain every step of the way. It makes the whole thing stressful for us and the dogs and normally we've not got a lot of time.

Whinging and generally talking back.

This is my big thing. Complaining is one thing, everyone's got their opinion and should be free to express displeasure but I cannot abide whinging. My self-control goes right out the window at the first whine.

Jack's also recently developed the charming little habit of talking back. We're trying to head this one off at the pass.


You'd swear he was deaf if you never said certain keywords like sweets or toys. Yes he's only 3 but it goes a little beyond that, I can handle having to tell jack something twice, three, or even four times, but it doesn't seem to really matter with Jack most the time. You can tell him something a hundred times and he'll still ignore you. Sure he's 3 and easily distracted but a lot of the time he's just plain not interested in what you're trying to tell him and if you do finally manage to get his attention he responds with a very teenage sounding, Alright fine Ugh!

The chart is primarily designed to promote good behavior though, at least that's what we've gone for. There's a lot more opportunity for him to move up the chart than down and the rewards are scaled and are very instant, starting with balloons and sweets and going up to toys. He gets rewarded for things like tidying his toys, whinge free events, eating his dinner. In the opposite spectrum, mis-behavior mostly leads to confiscation of toys and teddies.

So far he's going alright, he's earned 3 Spongebob (good) points and 1 Squidward (bad) point, which he earned this morning before we'd even put the chart up.