"Jaxon, do you know what this means?"
"I don't get to put up a token. And it's going to take me longer to get to the brown castle. And that makes me sad, so I better work harder tomorrow."
Well...no lecture needed! I think he gets it!
Yesterday Jaxon contested a Frowny Fred so he got sent to his room. He walked slowly with his head hanging down, and boy it was sad. About two minutes later he called,
"Mom come to the bottom of the stairs please." I came to the bottom, and he was at the top holding his beloved Bumble Bear, who he has informed us is also his baby.
He said,"NO MORE AUNT ASHLEY!"
I said, "What?"
He said, "You used to be Bumble's Aunt, now he's too sad. You're not his aunt Anymore!"
Today I was making bread, and Jaxon wanted some dough to knead. I gave his a small piece and he said,
"Mom, this is a wuggily worm!" I said, "Wow! Tell me about it!"
He said, "Wuggily worms are flat and round. They love their families and they know about Jesus...but they don't like girls...at all! If a girl tries to touch them, they will bite and scratch the girls. You better tell my girl cousins to watch out for my wuggily worms."
I said I would do that and he went to play at his small table with is dough.
A few minutes later he came in and said, "Mom, my wuggily worm is so sad."
"Because he doesn't have a family to love."
So I gave him a few more pinches of dough, and he made a Wuggily worm Family. He told me lots more about them, and then named them all "Chuggily, buggily, muggily, and stuggily."
I had put all the dough in pans and it was rising with plastic wrap over it. Jaxon told me that he needed plastic wrap for his wuggily worms too...and that he needed to tape it down so they didn't attack me, since I am a girl. I was feeling so bad about getting "Grouchiest mom of the year" yesterday, that I just handed him the tape and told him to go for it. I now have 5 pieces of bread dough stuck to my counter, with copious amounts of tape holding them down with plastic. I sure love that kid and his imagination.
The answer is- really smashingly! SERIOUSLY!
With so many changes taking place, who can tell which one really had the greatest effect? Before I go on, one thing has not changed...he is still up at or before 6 every morning. Yes, EVERY MORNING. My mom reminded me that me, and all of my siblings were the same way, and to just find a way to work with it...so we are. But more on that later-
I have to say, I think the biggest help was in implementation of a little system we like to call "Happy Jaxons and Frowny Freds." (Also known as immediate behavior feedback) (Anyone who has been a teacher or counselor knows that this is not a long term solution, but for the short term it has worked wonders!)
We realized Jaxon needed to know/hear right away, as in immediately, when he was making a bad choice (that could, in our experience, quickly spiral into a full blown breakdown) or a good choice, that he could be praised for.
So, Two jars. One with a smiley face picture stuck to it, and one with a frowny face. Next to it, a bowl of pennies.
Every time Jaxon makes a good choice, listens on the first time, doesn't argue, or uses really polite language we tell him, "Wow Jaxon. That was a great choice. Go put a Happy Jaxon in the jar." He Loves it. He beams with pride...and here's the great part, he CONTINUES to do whatever good thing it was he was doing. This time not being rewarded by anything except more praise!
And every time ANYTHING negative, talk-back, rude, or not following directions on the first asking etc. comes out, he immediately has to put a penny in Frowny Fred's Jar. We set from the beginning, ANY back talk or questioning of Frowny Fred's would result in Time out in his room until he could come down, apologize, and speak kindly. And here is the honest truth- NOT ONCE THIS WEEK DID HE QUESTION WHEN WE TOLD HIM HE GOT A FROWNY FRED!"
Just today though, he tried a couple hilarious tactics, (That when used the first time did result in him NOT getting a Frowny Fred, just because I thought they were funny and well thought out."
1. "Oh, you said to put it down RIGHT NOW? I think I misunderstood you. Sorry mom. I'll do it right now!"
2. "I don't think I heard you mom. Can you say that again, LOUDER? Oh, put it down? Sure!"
So what's so big about Frowny Freds and Happy Jaxons?
First, the pennies in both jars are counted (after Jaxon gets to about 17 he skips into the thirties or seventies...so we are working on our counting...)
Next, all Happy Jaxons get to be put into his new piggy bank (that our favorite teller at the bank gave to him and couldn't have been better timed!)
Last, if he has more Happy Jaxons than Frowny Freds, he gets to stick a token to his token board. Ten in a row takes him to the "star" and he gets to earn a privilege. Thus far he has had more Happy Jaxons every night, and we ARE NOT RIGGING THIS THING!
Usually the privilege would be a trip to the dollar store, or a cookie at Paradise or something, but for this first one, we are going a little big. Ever since he started preschool at MCC and we drive the 60 Fwy back and forth 3 times a week, he has been DYING to know what's in the "Brown Castle" (The castle building at Golf Land/ Sun Splash) For those of you not from around here...it is a giant arcade...which works out PERFECTLY FOR US. Jaxon loves to "play" Arcade games. Since all of them simulate play to try to get you to put your money in, he can shoot, push buttons, sit on the seats, whatever, and there is always action going on, so he thinks he's playing!
So as soon as he gets to the star, we are taking a family outing to the brown castle!
Read my lips: "NO MORE NAP TIME"
He gets to stay downstairs and have quiet time with a video on. We got tons of new DVDs from China, so he is loving this. I told him Quiet time has to be quiet, so he sits/lays on the couch and watches, or plays with his toys quietly, while I also have some quiet time upstairs. When his video is finished (usually 45 minutes - a little over an hour) he comes up to find me, and quiet time is over.
Also, bed time has moved from 7:30 to 6:30. I cannot believe even for a second that this worked. I have no idea why when last week he was fighting naps and jumping on his bed the whole time, and we put him down at 7:30, that he would still talk till 8:30 or 9. But this week, still no nap, he is falling asleep about .7 seconds after he close his door at 6:35. It's a miracle, and I won't question it!
The last thing, which is indeed hardest for me, especially last week during spring break with family in town, is staying home A LOT more. You (read: I) just can't in force rules very well when you're out and about. Plus when you take the time to go somewhere, especially if your with someone, you don't want to pack up and leave at the first sign of naughtiness. So, we spent the mornings with our cousins, went home for our together time, quiet time, and activity time, and then usually met up with them again for a late afternoon activity, or early dinner...ALWAYS being home by bed time.
The whole week, we had one tantrum. I'm sorry to say that it occurred in my sister in Law's Mini Van with her girls there as well, but it was Friday, and as it turns out, Jaxon was getting sick. So, all in all this week was a great victory!!!
(disclaimer-the light in our house is AWFUL! So in order to have enough light, I had a really slow shutter speed, hence, the blurry movement!)
Some things you have to know about Jaxon-
~He loves to pretend play, but usually when he thinks no one else is watching or listening. So this was a real treat that he would pretend to karate fight a bad guy while I snapped pictures
~He loves to "Do Karate" (Something we are about to sign him up for, but for which he has no 'formal training'... which may come as a shock to you after seeing these awesome moves!)
~He is skinny, but buff, but skinny...really skinny
~He makes hysterical faces
~He pretty much never gets hurt, so doesn't mind doing tricks that will most likely end with him falling down...hard
~Jaxon is ridiculously flexible...I think he was a contortionist in a former life
~I made those awesome orange pants
~I made those awesome orange pants BECAUSE I actually bought really cute grey flannel material to make he and Dave matching pajama bottoms for my first sewing class project, but didn't want to "mess up" so I made a practice pair first (PEANUT GALLERY (ie AMBER and RYAN).. no comments necessary about any other future mess ups that may or may not have occured!)
This is his "Show us your muscle man arms and face" ...SCARY!
1. Jaxon learned to ride his bike!!! He had been silently protesting this thing for about 8 months since we got it. His legs weren't strong enough to pedal, and he hated that, so he refused to ever get on it. On Monday he saw his cousin and best bud Oakley zooming around on his bike, and tha'ts all it took! We've been practicing all week, and at this point we are slow and steady.
This is quite possibly the cutest view ever!
2. Jaxon had his last day of PT!!! HURRAY!! Not hurray because he hated it, quite the contrary, he loved it! I'm just glad he is graduated and his legs are so much stronger (side note, he is toe walking MUCH less, but still doing it occasionally.) This place, USA GYM, has open toddler time a few days a week, and we are definately going back. Jaxon can't get enough of the place, and will love being able to roam freely without doing all his PT stuff.
Jaxon's favorite thing to do at PT. Run down the tumble track and leap into the foam pit. (Adults, I DO NOT reccomend jumping into the foam pit..it is H-E- DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS to get out!)
Just being cute!
Again, so cute!
Hanging on the bar
This last picture has a story- The last thing they always do is walk out to the center of the balance beam and sing Head-shoulders-Knees and toes. I guess Jaxon never caught on (in the year that we did this...) that they sang THAT particular song to work on balance. So he said,
"Mrs. Jen. Can we sing a different song?
Jen- "Like what?"
Jax " Like Samual the Lamanite?"
Jen- "Sure but I don't know it, so you'll have to sing it."
Bless Jaxon's little heart, he stood there on the balance beam and sang his little heart out. If that wasn't cute enough, when he was done he said, "I know another one, wanna hear it?" It was "I know My Savior Loves Me" ...a song they are working on in primary! He sang the first verse, AND the chorus. Jen and her intern were both so impressed, I think they got tears in their eyes. I sure did, I was so proud of my little missionary.
So, there will be some changes taking place over here.
First, Nap time is done. We will be having quiet time, during which J can play, read, or watch a movie. This will make it easier to have a SET bedtime, at which point he will be exhausted and be able to fall right asleep. As for those early, EARLY mornings... I'm just hoping a more set schedule will push them forward to at least 6am.
Another great piece of advice I got was to make sure J ate something substantial before bedtime (suggested was like an "Instant Breakfast Choc. Shake" for kids. This is a great idea, and we are going to try it. Jax is NOT a big eater...but if he thinks it will prolong bedtime, he just might go for it.
He will only be allowed to watchTV during quiet time, and breakfast, which is a very hectic time around our house, and other than that, NO MORE!
Next, my dear friend and sister in Law, and also my own dear sister, pointed out that since January, Jaxon's life has been pretty unpredictable. With all the doctors appointments for fertility, he has spent many hours at other people's houses, without me. Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful for the help I've received, and will continue to need, it's just...I think he knows he's getting pawned off an awful lot. Also, with me going to China and Dave and J going to Vegas, there was no semblance of a schedule, and lots of unpredictability. Plus- heck! It's just the two of us during the day, so if we hear of something fun going on (or spur of the moment plan something ourselves) we drop whatever we're doing and hit the road, or park, or mall, or pool...etc. etc. etc.
So, the hardest thing about it, will be on me I think. I am going to have to rein in random and spur-of-the-moment jaunts. We need to be spending some more quality time together, and everytime I get this anxious feeling about him, I know that is the answer.
Another thing I'm going to do is make a calendar/schedule for us to put together every night before we go to bed, or in the morning (haven't decided yet). It will say the month, day, and date (start on those things early) and then will have pictures that we will velcro up our schedule for the day --
ie-breakfast, preschool, lunch, quiet time, "fun activity", outside time, help time, dinner time, and bed time. Then he will have some input (I am going to have several fun activities that he can choose from, for us to do one together each day) and also visually be able to see what's going on in a day.
I shouldn't be surprised. Not knowing what's going on, and not having a plan gives me serious anxiety. (Now Dave and his fam, TOTALLY OPPOSITE) but since J spends the majority of his time with me, it makes sense that he would be more like me on this one. So, I know our daily plan, but to him it must seem very disjointed.
As far as his temper tantrums are concerned, this is another good reason to be at home for a while. When we are somewhere fun (Fun for him and me! With friends...) it's hard to really put my foot down and LEAVE if he throws a fit, even though I know I should. But with spending more time at home, if he throws a fit I calmly take him to his room and tell him to call for me when he is finished. At that point I go in, and he can explain why he was so upset, and we can talk about the appropriate reaction to said incident. It's working okay so far...mostly because it gives me some time to get my whits about me before I have to deal with it as well.
Anyway, I would and will gladly accept any more help or input, and will give status updates....fingers crossed~!
Here's the problem, he is not getting enough sleep.
~He wakes up before 6am (sometimes MUCH before) and yells for us until 6:30. (His lamp turns on at 6:30 and that's when we go in...and he knows this...it's been our routine for a year)
~He will not sleep during a nap unless I wait until about 3pm, at which time HOLY TERROR is in full effect.
~If I put him down for a late nap like that, no matter what time we put him down to bed, he doesn't stop talking and singing to himself until about 9pm.
~If we don't put him down for a nap, he is HOLY TERROR all afternoon and evening. We can then put him down at about 7 and he will usually fall right asleep...but wake up again before 6am, and the cycle is repeated.
I am at my whits end. Non-stop hysterical tantrums, out of control. I am seriously looking for help here. Does anyone use any herbal relaxants with their kids...like melatonin? I would totally spike his lunch juice so he could take an earlier nap.
That being said, I am seriously slacking on blogging, but it's pretty far down the list right now. We are mostly caught up, sleep-wise, from our various trips...well...except for Jaxon. He has vacillated between angel and devil this week. When he's good, he great. And when he's bad...watch out.
Anyway, maybe I am just finding his new little sayings particularly cute this week because I was away from him, but I wish I had written down half of what he has said, but here are the few I remember-
1. His Preschool teacher came over yesterday for our "parent teacher conference" and Jaxon was in heaven. He showed her all around, including the garden, and then helped her pick all the cherry tomatoes to take home with her. While they were squatting down together picking Jaxon, totally out of the blue said, "You know Mrs. Rochelle, I'm not a huge fan of Tomatoes. In fact, I HATE THEM!"
Sometimes with a vocabulary like his, it's hard to remember that he doesn't have the reasoning skills to match.
2. A couple day ago he was gassy... that's what we say at our house...I can't stand the "F" word...so we use various forms of the word gas...ie "are you Gassy?" "Did you do gassys?" or "I gassed." Anyway, J was gassy and just kept saying, "I gassed!" over and over again everytime he would putt-putt. So I said, "Jaxon, it's not very polite to tell everyone everytime you have gas. You can just say, 'excuse me' instead." to which Jaxon said, "MOM! That's not being honest! Jesus would tell the truth and say that he had gas, and not just say 'excuse me' because that's not telling all the truth."
What exactly does a parent say to that? (IF your answer is hide your head under the blanket so he doesn't see you laugh, then we agree!)
3. Tonight on the way home from extended family dinner Jaxon was a nightmare. He was pretty much hysterical the whole time. At one point I was trying to calm him down and said, "Jaxon buddy. You're a better boy than this!" He said (While sobbing), "I know! I don't know what to do! There's just these naughty things inside my body and they just come out and I can't help it!" (I thought that was pretty funny but was not going to let him get off that easy..) I said, "No Jaxon. Inside your body is your spirit from Heavenly Father, and it's righteous." He said, "Where well do all these naughty things come from then???"
4. This one was tonight at bedtime. I was impressed with his reasoning skills, and amused by everything else. Right in the middle of reading scriptures, he says, "HEY! Did you know...there is a pair, like a pair of socks. Then there is a pear, like a pear you eat. Two kinds of pears! Did you know that???" Dave said, "Wow Jaxon! You're really smart. Did someone tell you that?" Jaxon said, "Jesus Christ told me...in my heart."
Second, you just never know what treasures you might find in China.
Some that you think are a major score, turn out to be a bust. For instance, Dave's True Religion Jeans that I bought 4 sizes too big, are still too small. Dang those Chinese and their false sizing. Why do they need to make Americans feel even fatter?
Second, Dave's awesome Diesel Watch. He just started it yesterday, and it's already 20 minutes slow. Good thing they were so cheap that I bought him 4 watches! (though, mine I've been wearing since Monday and it's still working like a charm!)
But Anyway...of all the treasures I've found, I think the one on my most recent trip takes the cake. I wouldn't even say we found them in a market...more like an Alley with 3 stalls. How people find these places is beyond me...but...I FOUND AMERICAN DVD's!!! SCORE!!!
I have compiled a list that I have to print out and stick to the DVD's...because the writing on the outside is Chinese...have no fear though, we have watched a couple, and they are beautiful, English videos!
So, for less than $60 (Yes, that's LESS THAN $60) I found the following-
(Note- the bold videos are still in the theaters here, or not out on DVD yet...or Television complete seasons!)
Transformers 1, 2
Sherlock Holmes (the new one)
This is It (Michael Jackson)
Indiana Jones 1,2,3
Band Of Brothers
The Frog and the Princess
Meet the Robinsons
Veggie Tales Pirates
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Toy Story 1,2
Sword in the Stone
Horton Hears a Who
Help I’m a Fish
Simpsons the Movie
Princess Enchanted tales
Meet the Robinsons
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Ice Age 1,2,3
Lion King 1,2,3
Fox and The Hound 1,2
Scooby Doo (real people) 1,2
Stuart Little 1,2,3
101 Dalmatians 1,2
Hunchback of Notre Dame 1,2
Lady and the Tramp 1,2
Little Ensteins (3)
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Goofy Movies (6)
Beauty and the Beast
Little Mermaid 1,2
Tom and Jerry
Donald Duck (4)
Lilo and Stitch
Winnie The Pooh
CSI Seasons 1-6
Chuck Seasons 1,2
NCIS Seasons 1-6
Numbers Seasons 1-2
Friends All Seasons
Lie To Me Season 1
24 Seasons 1-5
LOST Seasons 1-5
Seinfeld All Seasons
Simpsons Seasons 1-16
Lots of the Kids and Disney Movies came in bundles, often more than one movie per DVD, that is why there are several princess and other girlie movies tucked in there...oh well...maybe we'll have a girl someday.
PS- I know some of these are rated R, but we have a clear play DVD player that will edit the DVD's for us.!