Sunday, May 20, 2007

binkys, stray cats and positive reinforcement

We said goodbye to daughter's binky yesterday and it has been hell around the Crouse Haus ever since. Although son can be a sissy (I can say that because he won't read this) about the small stuff in life, he has always been good about major changes. Giving up his binky at age 2, no big deal, moving to a big kid bed, cool, potty-training, no sweat, introduce a baby sister to the family, love it. All of the major things have been SO easy with him. Daughter is quite the opposite. She's so tough when it comes to a scraped knee or missing a turn in Candyland, but take away a girl's binky, you're in for trouble. I rue the day I forced the binky upon her. She didn't get one right away and was a champion nurser, but she was too good. The girl wanted to be latched onto me 24 hours a day. I had a 2 year old to entertain, so when she was about a month old I introduced her to one of her best friends (her absolute best friend is her "piggy" which cannot be replaced and I will never take away). She didn't want the thing at first but she finally agreed and has rarely been seen without it in the past 2 years.
We went for her first dental visit a couple of months ago and Dr. "B" said it was time for the binky to go unless we want to face lots of cash for orthodontic procedures in the future.
Yesterday we told daughter that if she wanted to mail her binkys to the "Binky Fairy" to give to new babies then she would be rewarded with a big-girl toy from the toy store. She agreed through tears. We mailed the things off and she picked a lame toy.
Yesterday went OK, with only a few requests for "binky-bink". She finally fell asleep last night but woke everyone up howling at about 1 a.m Husband has absolutely no patience for such nonsense so I banished him to the couch and daughter "slept" with me. She actually kept me up most of the night. Today was very tough for everyone. Son was seen most of the day with his hands over his ears because he was tired of his sister's screaming. It tried me a bit, but husband more. We had a huge row (can I say that if I'm not English?) and I am glad he is going to work tomorrow.
Tonight went OK... they are both sleeping now and I hope there won't be a repeat of tomorrow. But in case there is, I'm making up the fold-up couch now for husband.

We have a cat that is now hanging out in our yard and husband is trying his darndest to make this stray a part of the family. The cat has a slight limp, which is improving, and looks seriously malnourished. When the animal first started coming around last week, husband left some milk out for it. He stepped it up a notch yesterday and purchased cat food and cat treats... Cat food for God's sake! If there is one animal I don't want, it's a cat. I wish this animal no ill will. I'm not an animal-hater, but I don't do litter boxes and I don't agree with outside cats because all of the cats in the neighborhood already do their business in my yard and it grosses me out! Anyway, the kids are thrilled and love seeing the cat in the morning in the yard and feeding it with Daddy in the evenings. I'm going to make up flyers tomorrow and paste them around the neighborhood. I don't want to take it to the animal shelter because chances are that it will be euthanized and I don't want that on my conscience.

I'm looking for advice for positive reinforcement for preschoolers. My sis-in-law and I trade off childcare these days. She watches mine 2 days a week so I can get in a full day of work those days and I watch hers on three so she can go off to help support her family. In theory it works out well and we don't have to pay for childcare and all that. My son is in preschool for 9 hours a week and her daughter is in kindergarten, so it's not too bad. But most afternoons I have four children ages 5, 4, 3, and 2 running amok in the house. All the while I'm trying to potty-train, keep the house somewhat orderly and keep the kids stimulated without television. The kids have been hard of hearing lately and a bit disrespectful in both houses. Sis-in-law and I want to implement some reward charts for the kids and I'm trying to come up with good behavior to reward for these ages. Any ideas on what you do to give your kids incentives to be good citizens would be appreciated. We're not going to reward with toys because they are already so spoiled it is CRAZY (that is probably part of the problem and something I'm working on) but will probably reward with trips to the zoo or beach or something.

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