Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Motivation, Thy Name is Star Wars

I will admit, I have never been above using bribes rewards to get my kids to do things. I mean, don't you pay your kids an allowance to do their chores?

William needs motivators to accomplish things. He loves to read, but only if it is something he is interested in, or if there's a little reward at the end of it. At school, when he completes an assignment or task, he gets computer time, or gets to play a game he likes. At home, he does his homework, then gets to watch a favorite program or plays on the computer.

Potty training has proven to be a challenge. He's always been great about staying dry at night, even waking up just to go potty. Daytime is where he has lapsed. Every school break I would attempt training. Schedules didn't work; momma gets distracted by day-to-day things like, oh, cooking, laundry, etc., and William would get off track and it'd be 2 steps forward, 1 back, then 1 step forward, 2 back.

Three weeks ago, the substitute for his regular 1:1 aide sent home a note and asked if she could work with a training schedule for William at school, and if I would be willing to continue it at home. We worked out the details, and at the end of the week, William only had 1 or 2 wet accidents at school and the same at home. He still didn't like pooping on the toilet though, but generally reserved those incidents for home. Last week he had 2 wet episodes between school and home. I just needed to figure out how to motivate William to have his bm's in the toilet. Ah, bribery rewards!

I still had toys set aside from his birthday presents. I sometimes tend to over-buy gifts for the kids, so I set them aside for future presents. I had an assortment of Leap Pad books that I hadn't given him yet. So I went with the ol' "Hey, if you poop IN the toilet, you'll get a present!" Well, recently the Hasbro catalog came in the mail, and William became enthralled with the pages of Star Wars toys. (This, of course, pleased Momma since I am just this side of obsessed with Star Wars!) When I mentioned *present*, William excitedly said, "Present? Star Wars present?" Me: "No, not Star Wars this time, but a different present" Imagine how excited he was the other day when he pooped in the toilet, only to be given a Leap Pad book. Yeah, that didn't really motivate him for the next time.

Yesterday he successfully went again, and again excitely asked if he would be getting a Star Wars present. Well, no, but later, maybe next time, I promised. I called Robert who was halfway home from work to see if he could stop and buy some Star Wars toys for the bribe reward box. In the meantime, I gave him another Leap Pad book, but this time, he was rather happy because it was about dinosaurs, and came with interactive cards.

Robert arrived home with the goodies, but had to leave shortly after. Sarah had been having severe pain in her right side for a couple hours, and the Doctor's nurse said to bring her to the ER so they could check for appendicitis. So off Daddy went with our little girl. Luckily, it was not appendicitis~ she may have hurt it playing at school yesterday. Sarah is a bit of a tomboy and plays football and kickball and things like that with the boys, who treat her as one of the boys. She remembers lunging out and falling at one point.

As they were getting ready to discharge her, it was time for me to get William ready for bed. As is our routine, he goes potty before getting his pj's on. Guess what he did? Yep, "Mommy, I p.u'ed in the toilet! Present? Star Wars?" You bet! He went to bed with his little reward and we opened it this morning.

The funniest part of this story is that normally it's a struggle to get him to sit on the toilet for a bm. Peeing, no big deal. Pooping, hah! It had always been a struggle. Until now. This morning, before it was time to head out the door to go to the bus, he did not want to get off the toilet until he pooped. He tried, unsuccessfully, to go, but he sat there, without a fuss, wanting to go, until he realized, it just wasn't happening. But he tried, willingly.

Thank you Obi-Wan. You were my last hope, and you did not fail.

And Sarah is doing well today, so I am breathing easy.