Monday, December 29, 2008

What do Underdog and Speed Racer Have in Common?

They both live here:

Let me back up.

We began to have some new and challenging behavioral issues with our very spirited and outspoken 3-year-old. After some advice and guidance, we instilled a point system a couple months ago for good behavior; when Harrison filled a "fish bowl" with balls he would get something special. Getting Goldfish had been bounced around for a while and the timing was perfect, so we went to the pet store and looked at fish.

 Harrison got really excited about having fish; and to give him some incentive I let him pick out some new aquarium rocks and we picked up a couple things we would need.

 And as only a boy would do, one of his cars gave the final approval to the aquarium.

 Then we talked about earning the fish with good behavior and making good choices. We made a list of what those were and a list of what would cause him to lose (remove) a ball.

He became excited.

Harrison helped me collect balls from around the house and we put them in a container, then we got a bowl to transfer the balls to for his good behavior.  The whole process over the last month has really caused Harrison to pause and think about some things he chooses to do, or some of his reactions to us. 

We upped the ante when he would not poop (yes, I said it!) on the toilet. It was quickly becoming a worrisome situation that I was about to take to the Pediatrician when he finally did it. We had promised TWO balls for every poop, and a light stick at bedtime. It wasn't working.
One night The GID made him sit on the toilet just as he was beginning to - need to do something.  Harrison shut down, wouldn't do it; light sticks, balls in his bowl, it didn't matter. As I was helping him get off the toilet I broke down and said, "How about a tootsie roll if you go poo-poo on the toilet?" (thank goodness for the Halloween stash) he responded, "OK!" and immediately jumped back on the toilet and did the deed. After he was finished he said, "Do I get two balls in my bowl?"

Who knew all it took was a piece of candy to get the process started. It's been a green light every since.

So with that, using polite words and having good behavior, he finally put the last ball in the fish bowl this morning. Off to the pet store we went.
I think our fish are a little BIG.
 We let them get acclimated to the new environment (not that I'm sure it will work...) Then put them in their new home. The gold guy got caught in the net during transfer and I couldn't get him free without an extra set of Daddy-hands. Poor little thing started hyperventilating by the time it was all done!

Once they were  situated in their new quarters Harrison ran down stairs to get his magnifying glass for closer inspection.

Meet Underdog and his golden sidekick, Speed Racer.

 Do you think they'll be alive in the morning?


Brittany said...

Adam is sitting here with me, and he says "are we getting new fishys?" hmm poop.

Christina said...

We've been doing a similar system, but with fruit snacks that she gets to each at the end of each day for a more immediate reward! It has worked well. Love this story, and the pictures are fab. Those are some big fishies!

Yara said...

can I send over my 3 year old so you can get her to poop on the toilet each time? I swear I wish she was still in diapers : (
anywho... I'm anxious to see if the fish made it through the night; crossing my fingers that they did!

Andi said...

How well I remember the potty situations, even though it was so long ago. That kind of frustration stays with you as a parent- then kind of moves over for other things, but the memory is there!
What a clever system you have worked out, and I think the fish are THE perfect reward for good behavior! I LOVE the photo with the magnifying glass. I love reading your stories about your precious spirited boy. Thanks also for you sweet comment on our anniversary post. I am going to check yours out too.