Sunday, October 25, 2009

Persistence is FINALLY paying off... Part #1

I have been a bad blogger lately, but I have a good excuse... actually I have 3!  Most of you that follow are personal friends or family members.  For those who aren't... a little background info:

We live in a small, but sweet and CHEAP 2 bedroom appt.  Jackson has always had his own room and has always been a phenomenal sleeper.  When we learned we expecting twins, we decided to switch rooms with Jackson as ours was much bigger and we knew that eventually the kids would all be in one room.  Jackson moved into his "new" room in March.  We did it then, so that the transition would seem less like he was loosing his beloved bedroom, because of the girls.  He's never really loved it.  It's bigger and better in every way and he even got a new bed, Airplane bedding and cute new shelving for all of his books and toys!  Still, he insists that his old room was "just perfect" for him, "small like me" and would prefer we "switch back and take the girls" with us.  He loves the girls and has no issues with them napping in their crib in "his" room.  He just refuses to also nap or sleep while they are in there!

Another issue... he has been waking up at un-godly hours lately.  Usually somewhere between 4 and 5:30am.  He comes into our room, asks if he can get up and when we tell him it's the middle of the night and he needs to go back to bed, he hits the floor screaming.  Now all 3 kids are up, Rick and I are up and the battle begins!  Some mornings he goes back to bed until 6:30-7am.  Some he goes back for 15 minutes, only to start the whole cycle over again and others he just screams for 2+ hours.  Lovely.  So of-course we need to nip that in the bud, before we start putting the girls in their crib for the night.  Luckily they sleep like angels in the co-sleeper in our room.  Honestly though, some days I feel like they'll be crawling (literally) into our bed, before Jackson get's over this.

In additional to ALL of  that, We have had our fair share of behavior issues lately.  Not listening, out of control tantrums, talking back, refusing to nap, etc.  Some days are great.  Others, not so much.  To be fair, we need to acknowledge that he's been through a lot of transition.  He's been sick.  The girls are getting more attention, oh and yes... he's realized now that we are "keeping them".  A new teacher at preschool.  I went back to work, so Rick's schedule changed as well.  Just for fun, lets throw a little over-tired 4 year old into the mix and see what happens?!  So, one of my co-workers (thanks D) suggested a chart and to be honest, I don't know why I didn't think of that. 

So, I went on-line and made my own, one sleep chart and one behavior chart.  Jackson earns stickers for things like "listening the 1st time", "cleaning up his toys" and "going back to sleep" after a middle-of-the-night wake up, without a tantrum.  I printed them on photo paper and dug through my scrap-booking supplies for some stickers (need to hit the dollar-tree for come basic gold stars and smiley faces).  I must say, I thought the first night was a coincidence, but he's been consistently better since we have been using the charts.  We have had 2 days of difficult bedtime (he's never gone to bed well for Rick) and one morning that he woke at 5:30am , but went back into his room and read books quietly till after 6am.  He's been napping better and when he doesn't nap, he has an hour of quiet time in his room.  He's been a better listener, more cooperative and he's even getting himself dressed (this is HUGE)!  All just for some stickers on a home-made chart!  We had originally thought of having some sort of reward or prize after he earned so many stickers, but Rick felt that the stickers should be the reward and honestly I agree.  He needs to understand that this is the behavior we always expect from him,  so getting rewarded with toys and such, for doing things like getting himself dressed and not having melt-downs at 4am seems a little ridiculous.  Right?

Regardless, it's working!  Here are our charts... stay tuned for Part #2, to see how persistence is FINALLY paying of for the "Twincesses"...  


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