We have begun a new campaign- if the guys are good the whole day, they get a sticker; if they collect 21 stickers in a month, they get to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I'll let you know how it goes, as it started today. We had the grand start by showing them they got a sticker for each day this week already, and talked about what we did each day and the good things they did to earn their sticker. I will be refining this program this week to give them a specific task to work on, such as "no whining", "no hitting" and "more sharing" (translate the "no" to "less"). They are given three warnings through the day. Like I said- I'll keep you informed.
Most kids, when bored with a trip, begin the chorus of "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" Joey has discovered a fun variation: "Where are we going? Where are we going? Where are we going?" This is a question, so he would get praise for asking, reinforcing the behavior. It is a question he can handle better, because it begins with a "cue word" (Where?) Besides, the question apparently sounds cool, so perseveration kicks in. He knows perfectly well where we are going, just as other kids know perfectly well that you are not there yet.
"Where are we going?" he pipes up behind me. We have just left the driveway. The car has been on all of thirty seconds.
"We are going to church," I answer with my I'm-Being-Patient Mommy Voice. We could probably walk, but the clammy day and Joey's cough speak against the plan; driving the six blocks it is. There is no backing out. Our Sunday school teacher is on vacation, and I volunteered to teach this week, and I'm by myself. I put the car in drive.
"Where are we going?" he asks again and sighs.
"Church," I repeat. "We have Sunday School today, remember?"
"Where are we going, Mommy?" the other little voice chimes in.
"Chuck E. Cheese!" Joey replies joyfully. They both cheer.
"You haven't earned enough stickers to go to Chuck E. Cheese yet, guys," I remind them. "Let's work hard and earn our stickers..."
"Then go to Chuck E. Cheese!" they cheer together.
This may be a long day.
I've never taught Sunday School before, but it seems OK. I have six kids (summer is here), used to running a bit wild for the hour. We do some singing, then look at the little books we're supposed to read, ad do some coloring. I get some of them to make a paper-plate fish. Time is winding down, and Joey turns to me with a big grin.
"Going to Chuck E. Cheese now?" No, dear. Not today.
The church parking lot is a madhouse, coming and going. The folks from the pervious service are trying to get out, and the folks from the next service are vying for those parking spots. I plead for quiet while I try to concentrate on driving and not hitting anyone- while not being made into a bumper car ourselves. Joey is chanting one of his usual perserveration phrases, "anseeDAdeeanseeDAdeeanseeDAdee..."
"Please be quiet so I can focus on the road," I plead again.
"AnseeDAdeeanseeDAdee..." I need to take a lesson from Maddy and get some earplugs. We narrowly miss being hit by a LandRover.
"Mommy! MOMMY! MOOOOOOMMMMEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" Andy squeals suddenly.
"Yes, dear?" I try to hold on to my temper as we avoid a silver Cadillac.
"I'm bein' quiet! I get sticker! I go Chuck E. Cheese!"
Yes. And we haven't even eaten lunch yet.