9.17.2009

{ miracle pill }

Oh, stop that. I'm not talking about the 'little blue pill'. Or even the brown glob that Max the Miracle Man gives to Wesley so he can come back to life and save Princess Buttercup from marrying Prince Humperdinck. I'm talking about something that is so much more miraculous than that. Something that will bring Heaven. on. Earth. to your life. At least, it brought a piece of it to me. . .

I sat at my kitchen table, attempting to enjoy that which is called Going Through The Mail. I would like it much better if there weren't so many bills. And bank statements. I hate reading bank statements. It's just another 'friendly' reminder that we have NO money. Yes, thank you Current Banking Institution for reminding me, because I had no idea.
As I cringe while pulling apart envelopes and trying not to dry heave as I read my electric bill, I notice my almost 7 year old picking up the living room. All. By. Himself. Without. Being. Asked.

Ouch! Nope, not dreaming, I said to myself after a well-needed pinch.

And then he proceeded to the counter to receive a little 'reward' for himself. He then grabbed another item and put it away. Again, another reward. I just about pooped my pants with excitement. Tears began welling up; I really am a GREAT mother! I thought.

The secret? The secret that I have JUST discovered and been kicking myself over for not thinking of it before?

Let me tell you a story:

My first grader {a.k.a. living room picker upper} was struggling at school. He's in speech therapy because he has a hard time communicating. And he has an even harder time doing his school work, partially because he can't comprehend, and then when he does, it's boring for him. {I have a hard time punishing him for that 'cuz I think math is boring too.}

When he hears a sentence, it gets all jumbled up in his head. His brain isn't putting the words in the right order. And then when he tries to talk, it's all jumbled, thanks to his brain pulling out the subconscious Kitchen Maid and blending everything he knows to a fine pulp. My 3 year old can make more complete sentences than he can.

I called my dad and told him my frustrations. He then proceeded to tell me this:
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Dad: I can understand. I have the same problem with numbers- my brain mixes them all up.

Me: So now I know who to blame! It's YOUR genes that have caused this!

Dad: If he has my genes, then you have nothing to worry about because he'll be a genius.

Me: Ha. Ha. Ha. {side note - my dad really is, but it's a secret - don't want his head getting too big, okay?}

Dad: I also had a hard time focusing in school. But I learned a trick. I would go down into the basement of the library, secluded from everyone else, and pull out a bag of m&m's or toffee coated peanuts and place them in front of me. Then I would give myself the challenge. For each paragraph read, I could eat one piece. Or for each problem, I'd eat one. It helped me concentrate and focus.

Me: Maybe you are a genius, but that's TWO not-so-great-things my son got from you, so you're in deep trouble...
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So, on our next infamous Weekly Walmart Trip, I grabbed a bag of these:

When it was time to do homework, I set out a Skittle for each problem. When one was completed, one could be devoured.

You know what?

He did his entire packet in 15 minutes.

I was F L A B E R G A S T E D .

There were NO tears, NO screaming {by either party}, NO pouting, NO threatening of getting the wooden spoon. I have never before in my life witnessed such a miracle.

*Insert Handel's Hallelujah Chorus here*

So I decided I would take these magical nuggets of goodness to the next level. We played the clean up game. I would hand my children {oh, yes- it worked for both} something to put away, in return for 1 Skittle. Major Running ensued. I then graduated from rewarding 1 Skittle per 1 item, to 1 Skittle for a whole group of things.

Hurry, put all the Transformers away for another Skittle!

My children had turned into The Flash. -es.

All for O N E Su-hu-pernatural Skittle. O N E .

At first I felt a teensy bit bad. My children should learn to help out just to help out, not because they are going to get something out of it. But the house was getting clean, so I continued to 'bribe'.

And then I saw my boy cleaning on his own. And rewarding himself each time with 1 Skittle. As I sat admiring his self control at just grabbing one, I realized how perfect that Skittles purchase was. How perfect those tiny 'miracle pills' were. And I didn't feel guilty one bit.

Rapture

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{But will someone PLEASE tell my husband to STOP buying Oreo's!!! It's only 1pm and I think I have devoured an entire sleeve.}
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p.s. does anyone else pick out the red and purple ones and leave the other colors for everyone else? Or at least the yellow ones? I know, I need to grow up...
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7 post a comment :

Camryn said...

hahaha! I do the same thing! bribery is not beneath me--I bribe my kids with jelly beans. It's amazing how much gets cleaned around here....

Accidental Expert said...

This is brilliant. I've tried bribes, but I think I've been aiming too high.

Time to stock up on skittles.

Jean
http://zenandmommyhood.blogspot.com

Reb said...

Genius, pure genius. Props to you my friend.

mindy said...

HA HA! I pick out the red and orange! Nice to know I am in good company! BTW I am totally trying this I need a motivator to get things picked up!

shallowOcity said...

just wanted to stop by and say Hi and that I'm a fan! Stumbled upon your blog and it's fab! Loving whatchustand4!!

-Celeste

Shan B. said...

Sounds great. I tell my youngest one if he does something then I'll give him a lollipop (dum dum). Maybe I should go for something smaller. Hmmm. I'm pretty sure I eat all the red 1st.

Kristin said...

I'm totally storing away the skittle trick. Fabulous!

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