Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Motivation, Toddler Style

Dear Ian,

Your potty sticker chart
I am a reasonable Mommy.  I get it that sometimes kiddos need a little help to get geared up for the tasks that face them, and it's up to us Mommies to figure out what creative prompting you little people may need.  For example, you are thrilled to death to pee and poop in the potty for a sticker.  I know some parents who use Skittles or M&M's candy for reward, but I have issues with toileting and food being combined.  Eww.  That's just me, though.  Whatever works for them.  Thankfully you are keen on the whole sticker thing.  I do have limits, though, when it comes to external motivation.  I don't believe in bribery, and I have this whole Karen-theory that I call the Ferrari Syndrome where parents bribe and gift kids to a certain behavior.  (In my theory, the gifts have to keep getting more and more extravagant to keep up with child manipulation until it comes to the point where the kid will settle for nothing less than a Ferrari.  I'm special, I know.)  But I will use stickers and other creative methods of brain-washing to move you along...

Case in point:

We are now in our third week of going to school, and I must say that week  number two was a toughie.  Tough on you because all of a sudden this school thing was REAL, tough on your teachers because you were upset a lot, and tough on me because I hate seeing you get upset.  I didn't think we were going to make it.  But here we are at week three, and I think we're getting it.  You have had two great days, and I have to honestly admit that I owe it to Caillou.  Yes, that cartoon character that I blasted just one post ago has revolutionized going to school for you.  Last weekend was Labor Day weekend, so we spent those three days being lazy and playing around our house and watching a bit of Caillou every now and then.  I realized that he spends a lot of time at play-school, and the wheels started turning.  "Look Ian!  Caillou goes to school just like YOU!"  We pointed out similarities in his day, how Mommy drops him off and picks him up, but most importantly, we pointed out that Caillou didn't cry at school; he was too busy having fun!  It worked.  Yesterday, which was the first day of school for the week after the long weekend (which I expected to be really rough) you had a GREAT day!  Miss Karen and Miss Laura were so excited to see a happy little you, and Mommy was just plain relieved.  And when I saw you at lunch, I commented on what a good day you had!  You were such a big boy!  Your response: "Just like Caillou!"

Apparently making the connection between the school day of your little cartoon hero and how it's like yours really worked.  And in this case, I will take it.  Caillou may annoy the holy mess out of me, but I have to give him credit for helping you see that school really is a cool place where you can have a ton of fun.  Today was just like yesterday, so I am so happy to say that I think we may be getting the hang of this school thing.  All thanks to Caillou.

Now if I could find a cartoon that shows the characters picking up their toys...

Love always,
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