Caught in the act.

Friday, December 21, 2012
Life has been crazy. I know I haven't documented one single step of the reason why, but I'll save that for another post, soon, I promise. This post has an entirely different purpose and I wanted to write it down so that I would never, ever forget this story.

Henry's been showing his three year old self quite a bit as of late. Tantrums, whining, not listening, etc. etc. They say 3 is worse than 2, and so far, I believe that's a pretty true statement. I've been trying a number of things lately to combat this three year old's behavior, but to no avail was anything really working or sticking.

So about two weeks ago, I introduced a little reward system. Every time he listened right away to a direction and followed through, he could get 1 M & M--his coveted favorite form of chocolate candy. If he didn't listen, yelled, talked back or was aggressive, 1 M & M would go into the trash can.

Now, I know that positive reinforcement is typically the preferred method of reinforcement, but as I found as a teacher for 4 years, some kids NEED it paired with negative reinforcement, thus why I decided to include the "throwing away" of the M & M...but let's be honest, I'd never really let a perfectly good piece of chocolate go to waste. They may or may not have been going into my belly. ;)

Henry caught on quickly. Actually, almost too good and too quickly, for after just a few days I would ask him to do something to which he'd say "OK mama" and then ask for his M & M. Sorry, honey, but you actually need to COMPLETE the task before you are rewarded. He quickly tried negotiating that the M & M was for the verbal compliance alone. After a few tantrums of that, we got over it and were doing pretty good. It has definitely helped him follow certain directions much more than he was before, but by no means is all behavior perfect yet.

Then, fast forward to Ryan and I returning from our house hunting trip and I took over the M & M reward system again. Tuesday I had asked him to pick up his toys. He ignored me, then said no or something to that effect. After I said I needed to go throw one away he immediately said "Ok mama, but I want to get some water first". Ok, fine, you can have some water. He walks over to get a cup, turns around with a look of utter satisfaction and excitement and says "Mama, how about while I'm getting my water YOU pick up the toys and then YOU can get an M & M, ok?"

Seriously, this 3 year old can negotiate with the best of them. Have you stopped laughing yet? Ok, good. Because THAT's not even the best part of this tale.

Fast forward to today. For the past few days, I've noticed I've had to wipe off his face after he's gotten an M & M because he has had chocolate goop/spit on his mouth. Hmm, that's a little odd. How is this kid getting so messy eating just one M & M? I've been letting him go in the pantry and getting his own out of the container for some time now. Today, he got one mid morning for something and I noticed he had closed the door. Didn't think much of it, but when he closed the door AGAIN right after lunch for getting one, I opened the door to see what was going on.


Obviously, you know where this is going.


I opened the door to a 3 year old still wearing his cute little santa jammies with a mouth full of M & M's chewing as fast as his little jaw could chew. As soon as he locked eyes with me, the look on his face was pretty much "Oh, shit.", while I was trying with all my might to not even bust a smile even though I wanted to die of laughter.

He still gets pretty sad/nervous/anxious or whatever you want to call it when he knows he's done something wrong, so I tried to trick him so he wouldn't get immediately upset and just said "Oh Henry, can I see what color M & M you picked?" He spit one out of his mouth and tried to utter "red" (which is obviously pretty difficult when your mouth is FULL of M & M's). His attempt to speak confirmed my suspicision, as more chocolate was clearly evident in his little mouth.

He tried to cover up his mouth with his hand while he finished chewing and then just started bawling. He absolutely knew he wasn't supposed to be doing it, knew he was being sneaky, and knew he had been caught and was probably scared that he was going to get punished (which was not the case, I just wanted to talk it out with him). He wouldn't calm down even though I told him it was ok and that we just needed to listen to mommy explain why that was wrong.

After I had him wash off all the chocolate from his hands and mouth he had calmed down enough to listen. I asked him questions like "How many M & M's do we get?", "Is it a good idea to be sneaky?", "What should we do next time?", etc. After a few "I don't knows", more tears, and then some "I'm tired, I want to go to nap" (because he clearly wanted to avoid the whole thing) he finally answered all the questions to the point that I figured he understood what about it was wrong. I also tried to explain what he was feeling (which was likely a combination of fear, nervousness, anxiety, and embarrassment---none of which are easy to explain to a 3 year old).

I immediately called Ryan to tell him (because good stories like this just can't wait) and laughed the whole way through it.

I'll hand it to the kid. He's smart. We all know that. And he likely got away with it for a handful of days before I caught on (when we started this whole M & M idea, if I allowed him more than 1 he'd bring them to the kitchen table to count and make sure he was getting the adequate number of M & M's).

While I tried my best NOT to laugh, it was really hard. As "naughty" as it was, it was so cute. He had been a sneaky little mister and knew enough to close the door. Like I said, he knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and I felt so bad for how scared he was because he was obviously not expecting to get caught and probably had no idea what he was feeling.

Once I took him up to bed I asked him "What did you learn today?", and he simply replied "1 M & M," while holding up 1 finger with a half smile on his face. The first of many life lessons, I'm sure.

Claire's Cheerio Birthday Party Details!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Alright! I finally had some personal time to work on a few of her birthday pictures. Of course, I couldn't get through them all, but Cheerios REALLY wants me to send them some pictures, so I had to get the details done first!
A great big thank you to Cheerios/General Mills for donating the small Cheerios boxes for the party favors. And, as you can see, every detail included some Cheerios or a Cheerios box!
Without further ado, Claire's super cute and incredibly inexpensive "Cheerios" birthday party!

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Claire 1 Year Portraits and a 12-13 month update.

Monday, November 19, 2012
So, yes, I've negleted this little ol' blog yet again (except for that spiffy new header a few weeks ago, eh?). I'm kicking myself for not updating her 12 month stats because now the past 2 months all run together. But, while I have time, here's where this sweet little young toddler is at these days.

Communication/Cognition: As expected, expanding daily. Each day she tries to say something new. Her utterances are pretty limited to the first or last sound of the words, but here are some of the things we frequently hear: fish (shhh), shoe (shh), ball, up, down, dada, woof (puppies), ada (all done), done, wawa (water), poop (soft whispered "ppp"), pizza (also a soft whispered "pppp") (hopefully those two will differentiate soon as it would be not so good to get them confused!). She's also super super vocal when something doesn't go her way (i.e. we or Henry takes something away from her). She also understands a ton of directions and vocabulary. Things I've noticed recently that she knows include book and "let's read a book" (she'll go get one and sit in my lap), princess (she'll grab her Cinderella doll), bear, fish, milk, water, put in, bring here, give to, bye bye, etc. The most hilarious parts of her communication include two utterances that we hear as "Whodat???" and "watdat!!!!". We've interpreted watdat means she wants something and she wants it now. The jury is still out on "whodat".

Motor: She's running, spinning, dancing, and TRYING to climb. She loves sitting up on the couch and will whine "up, ppppp, pppp, pppp" for someone to put her up on the couch. And then, of course, needs to be watched closely as she has no idea to be careful yet. She climbs up the stairs on all fours like a champ and attempts to bring one foot up if you hold her hand.

Social: Mama's girl. OMG. If I'm around, it's a nearly constant whine fest for me to give her attention, hold her, play with her, etc. She apparently doesn't act this way with anyone else. It's tiring some days! We get kisses on command and not on command, hugs, and "nice" means pet to her--since I always say "nice" when she's touching the puppies. So, she pets not only the puppies nicely, but Henry and Cole's heads too. lol. She also knows that typically when the back door opens, it's daddy, and yells "dada, dada, dada" repeatedly.

Eating: She still eats everything with the new exception of summer sausage. She actually cried when Ryan and my dad tried to give it to her. Otherwise, anything and everything put in front of her, she eats. And a lot of it. Drinks whole milk with her meals and is all done with bottles as of 2 days ago. She was only down to the nighttiime bottle for about 2 weeks and she didn't really drink it/need it, so we just dropped it. She's much more interested in reading books before bed now.

We dropped her morning nap after the struggle that was nap time for an entire month. After dropping the morning nap, it took her about 1-2 weeks to get into a schedule. We now typically don't wake her up until 7:30-8:00 and then put her down in the afternoon with the rest of the kids. MOST days, I'm getting some sort of nap now :)

I know there is so much more. But I took a short break from work to pop this in, so this is all I have. You can look at these pretty pictures again to waste away your work day :) 2012-10-17_001 2012-10-17_002 2012-10-17_003 2012-10-17_004 2012-10-17_005 2012-10-17_006 2012-10-17_007 2012-10-17_008 2012-10-17_009 2012-10-17_010 2012-10-17_011 2012-10-17_012 2012-10-17_013 2012-10-17_014 2012-10-17_015 2012-10-17_016 2012-10-17_017 2012-10-17_018 2012-10-17_019 2012-10-17_020 2012-10-17_021 2012-10-17_022 2012-10-17_023 2012-10-17_024 2012-10-17_025 2012-10-17_026 2012-10-17_027 2012-10-17_028 2012-10-17_029 2012-10-17_030 2012-10-17_031

Happy Halloween 2012!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Surprised, right? Images up on the blog the DAY THEY WERE TAKEN? They were too cute I couldn't handle waiting to post these. It was a perfect night for trick or treating. Henry was TOTALLY into it, and so polite with his "Trick or Treat, thank you, Happy Halloween!". It was too cute. He pulled Claire in the wagon for a little ways and was so excited to be knocking on doors for candy. Such a change from last year where he wouldn't even put his costume on! Claire, obviously, didn't get it, but was pretty excited about her wagon ride. When people would ask Henry if he wanted some candy for his little sister, he would take it and put it in the wagon with her. Towards the end of the night someone finagled her way through a butterfinger wrapper and had eaten half of it before we noticed! Whoops! We all had a great time and can't wait until next year. Now, onto that candy! 2012-10-31_013 2012-10-31_014 2012-10-31_015 2012-10-31_017 Love this one to pieces!! 2012-10-31_016 2012-10-31_018 2012-10-31_019 2012-10-31_020 2012-10-31_021 2012-10-31_022 2012-10-31_023 2012-10-31_024 2012-10-31_025 2012-10-31_026 2012-10-31_027 2012-10-31_028 2012-10-31_029 2012-10-31_030 2012-10-31_031 2012-10-31_032 2012-10-31_033
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