Rewards charts seem to be one of those opinion dividing things – some people swear by them, others don’t like the idea of having to bribe a child to behave. I’m of the opinion that I don’t really care why the child is co-operating as long as they are (with the exception of hitting) and I’m also of the opinion that most things in life are worth having a bosh at (with the exception of heroin).
Soon as reward charts don’t commonly involve either of those things and supposedly MAKE BEHAVING FUN we got stuck in.
When it came to drawing up a chart we did consider a simple two pronged approach:-
But although this seemed to cover all the bases, J thought we ought to be a bit more specific rather than honing in on the overall personality type. So the criteria we set were:-
- Getting yourself dressed
- Eating your lunch
- Being nice to your brother
- Eating your dinner
- Good phonics practice
- Dry pants
- Going to bed nicely
- NO CRYING ALL THE TIME ABOUT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
One of the things we have been talking quite a bit about lately is dying.
No one has died luckily, but new interests in fighting and attacking and baddies also bring with them questions of what happens when you get inured and don’t get better.
Personally I choose to keep a somewhat open mind about what happens when you die, I would love nothing more than to imagine a heaven where we are all reunited but on your average day that often feels a little bit far-fetched. Fingers crossed though right?
Anyway whether you are a believer or a non believer one of the most popular ways to describe what happens when you die to a small fretful child is to say something along the lines of:
‘Blady bla has gone to be a star in the sky. If you ever miss them just look up and the shiniest, sparkliest one will be blady bla watching over us all’
Which sounds bloody lovely!
Except my guy ain’t buying that. Because essentially he is now thinking about a bunch of dead people floating around with a bunch of dead rocks in the great cold, expanse of nothingness that is space.
And that is not cool. So he wants the specifics.
Happy birthday sweet boy!
We got you your own scooter and tied it up with a big shiny balloon; together I saw them stamp out every ounce of babyhood that was lingering behind.
You’ve changed so much these last few months. You talk so much more, maybe slightly less than other kids your age but we don’t care about that. Your pronunciation is rubbish which I LOVE. You say ‘buuubrees’ (blueberries) ‘bapple’ (apple) ‘bthuses’ (buses) ‘beebuts’ (buttons) and ‘duddles’ (cuddles) and these versions will stay around a lot longer than they might if I didn’t keep reinforcing them, especially the duddles, always the duddles.
At two you are a fractious, defiant little ball of energy but a loving one who is a total mummy’s boy. You’re a bruiser, you wade in pushing and shoving and stand up to your brother and laugh as he throws footballer fake falls. I can tell I’m going to have to keep tabs on you.
Playing with you is a daunting experience, one minute you are laughing and the next you are shaking with anger that the train you are pushing won’t fit through a much smaller tunnel. It’s too small lovely, it’s just too small. The laws of physics are a tough lesson to learn I know.
…unless you are four and it means absolutely sod all.
Teaching kids manners, courtesy and societal norms is one of the biggest responsibilities of being a parent. But it doesn’t come without it’s challenges. Like any animal the natural urge is to snatch and grab and push and shove and thwack people over the back of the head with Buzz Lightyear.
Even as an adult, knowing right from wrong, it is hard sometimes not to wonder about kicking irritating people in the shins for, well being irritating. But we don’t because it’s not nice and it’s also a bit illegal, especially if you don’t make it look like a shopping trolley accident.
Instead we learn that the correct action is to smile sweetly and make small talk - ‘Oh no of course that’s fine, no I don’t mind AT ALL!’ - before going home for a good old fashioned bitch.
In our house we try and operate a no snatching, hitting, pushing or saying nasty things to each other policy which is REALLY successful every other Tuesday for 10 minutes if there is an adequate supply of biscuits and Spiderman is on the tellie.
The rest of the time it’s more like…So I’ll be like ‘Hey it’s not nice to hit your brother about the head’ and he’ll be like ‘BUT HE WAS RUINING MY GAME!!!!!!!!!!!’
And then I’ll be like ‘Well I don’t care, come and tell me, don’t just hit him! Say you’re sorry please!’ And he’ll be like…And I’ll be stood there thinking – hey is this kid really sorry? Just because, I don’t know, he doesn’t really look that sorry and he almost, kind of like, sang that apology. I mean he may as well have been doing the can-can whilst releasing party poppers, such was the atmosphere of general exuberance.
It occurred to me the other day that although I have been banging on about my foray into greetings cards on social media I haven’t talked about it on here; and soon as many people just follow this blog via email or visiting direct I thought I would give a quick into into my new venture how it all came about.
A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how me and J got together, the last image I drew was of us sitting on the sofa. As it seemed to resonate with a lot of people J said ‘Hey you could make pictures like that into cards!’
So I did! And Gin Bunny Prints was born.
I got to work creating a small range of cards, mostly self indulgent stuff featuring gin, bunnies and the like (hence the name) and launched about two weeks ago.
***Based on a TRUE story involving REAL toys***
I was sat on the sofa the other day, minding my own business, when the youngest one wondered up and punched me in the face with his tommee tippee cup.
The blow was hard, for a not quite 2 year old, and as I watched the bruise rise around my left eye I couldn’t help but thinking it was somewhat metaphorical – signifying that the baby days were well and truly over.
Welcome to TODDLERHOOD, season 2.
I think I may have blocked out some of the horrors of the first series but lately I’ve been having flashbacks. I remember my first son tantruming to the extent that his face turned deep blue and his body lay jerking on the floor. I remember screaming, convinced that he was having some sort of seizure and dashing for my phone to call 999.
As it turned out he was just a ‘bit’ pissed off that I had broken his banana in half. And at that moment, all the anger at being given an incomplete bit of fruit, was deemed more significant than actually – just breathing.
There are things we excel at in our house (dancing about the kitchen, devouring jam toast, farting) and there are things that we are altogether less good at (most things aside from the aforementioned things).
Basically stuff done voluntarily must meet the criteria of being funny, fun or delicious which causes no end of problems with the practicalities of getting to school/nursery/work on time because getting dressed falls into none of those categories.
Of course we could make it easier on ourselves by orchestrating the whole process but we are trying desperately hard to instil some form of responsibility in the eldest one at the minute.
So the new house rules are: –
- Before you come downstairs for breakfast you must have put your clothes on by yourself. Claiming that you can’t do it is wholly contradictory to, er, YESTERDAY when you did actually do it by yourself, albeit over a 45 minute interval of pure unadulterated hell.
- You have to apply your own shoes to your own feet before you leave the house. Poking one toe in one shoe and then proclaiming that you can’t do it, DOES NOT COUNT as a good effort.
- Going to the toilet before you piss yourself will also be looked upon positively.
After a week of hard lining, improvement has been minimal. Probably because the chosen method of aiding co-operation involves making ridiculous threats and never following though. Sorry Jo Frost, my bad.
When I got to thinking about it I realised that nearly everything that comes out of my mouth is absolute rubbish! In fact by the end of the day I often feel like I have exhausted a full arsenal of empty threats including:-
Threat -‘If you don’t put your shoes on now then you can stay here on your own!’
Problem – Destruction of the house/destruction of himself. Also, um, illegal.
Threat – ‘No more TV/i-Pad!’
Problem – I might as well shoot myself in the face, TV/i-Pad time is the only time I actually have to get sh*t done.
Our house is a war zone right now. Us (or actually just me) vs. the toys.
They are bloody everywhere, slowly creeping into every nook and cranny, claiming room after room for their own. In my shoes, in my bed, in my handbag, even in the freezer?!
If the situation was serious before, Christmas certainly didn’t help. Arriving home with a car that looked like the getaway vehicle in a Toys R Us smash and grab has lead to far too many storage solution related dreams #FML.
I was not prepared to take it lying down so there was only one thing for it – we needed a big clear out. The only thing in my way was a small, blonde, noisy thing but I reasoned that I could appeal to his better nature.
But, um, have you ever asked a child to help select a few of his old toys to give away?
Yep so altruism hasn’t really happened yet. Whatever, I just got stuck in anyway – he couldn’t still want all of the old broken sh*t right?
So Christmas is over. Or at least it is for the kids because by my reckoning all the adults still seem to be living on a diet of oven snacks and prosecco, deluding themselves that it will all be ok if they can manage a dry January, which will NEVER happen.
All in all there were some highs and there were some lows but I learnt a lot.
On Christmas Eve we saw ‘Father Christmas’ fly overhead. It would have been a bit more magical had all the adults not kept using the terms ‘sleigh’ and ‘International Space Station’ interchangeably and nudging each other and laughing when they got it wrong. Lesson one, most things about Christmas are utter b*llshit.On the morning itself I rushed downstairs and to my extreme relief saw that he had been. It seems the repeated threats of ending up on the naughty list didn’t amount to much. MENTAL NOTE: Next year don’t let their ‘he’s always watching’ b*llocks influence your behaviour. Either he didn’t see me decorating mummy’s handbag with cat food or he doesn’t give a rats arse.