As you know, every time I write a ‘This Is The Week That Was’ post, I try and think of good things to tell you the ‘Best Bits’. It’s not to show off or make out my life is better than yours; in fact it’s nothing to do with you as a reader at all. It’s entirely about me, so that even if I find myself venting (or ranting as I believe the preferred verb is on Facebook) or blogging about something shit or difficult, that I can round it off with something positive, something that made me happy or feel hashtag blessed. End it on a good note, so to speak.
This week there seems to have been so many good things that I barely know where to start, and instead of jotting notes down throughout the week to remind myself to include them in TITWTW I invariably forget all about them and sit down to write without any notes, plans, or clear recollection of whatever I’ve been doing. The result? These long and winding and blabbering posts you – for some reason – keep reading!
I’ve done such a rotten job of it lately that I didn’t get to tell you about our wonderful half term, about Halloween, about our visit to the Philharmonic Hall for their Spooktacular concert, about funny conversations, great stuff I’ve been reading, trips to the cinema, and everything else.
This in part was because things were a little overshadowed lately by some feedback from Nursery School that they are ‘very concerned’ about Spaghetti Legs’ behaviour. Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? I expect you’re waiting for me to say he’s been biting other children, or telling the teacher to piss off, or shitting in the sandpit. Luckily it’s not that concerning – which brings into question the need for the words “very concerned” but hey what do I know, I’m only a parent who tries her absolutely hardest right?
No the crime that he is guilty of is not listening. Unashamedly, boldly, not-giving-a-shit, plain not listening.
If you, or any of your friends or family, are in possession of a three year old who is a good listener please get in touch with me and tell me your secrets.
I cried all the way home after the meeting. I felt such a failure. Then I closed the front door behind me and got out a pen and a pad and scribbled a million and one thoughts down on paper. After all, my background is meant to be in managing, motivating, and engaging people. So I should be able to apply these techniques to a kid, right? Right?
It’s actually not gone too badly; there was a DIY reward chart put in place immediately with nice star stickers for ‘desired behaviours’ (sounds a bit unnatural and clinical doesn’t it? But it’s opposed to ‘good’ behaviour and that’s something I try and avoid – good vs bad). There’s lots of positive attention for good listening at home and at nursery school, for good sharing, trying something new, helping someone, tidying up without being asked, etc.
Every now and then as he accrues more stars on the chart, he will occasionally land on an instant reward square, which keeps his motivation and interest high enough for the reward chart to keep working and not lose its appeal.
Rewards include going to play at a friend’s or with cousins, new stickers for his sticker album, a trip to the park, a magazine, or a film on Netflix. The idea is to move away from sweet treats (there’s a new rule in this house that unless you cooked it yourself there’s no sugary treats anymore) and toys – as he’s come to expect a new Hot Wheels car whenever anyone is within a hundred paces of a toy shop.
So far so good, it’s working well. He’s had a trip to a museum, Cars 3 on Amazon Prime, and some Transformers RescueBots stickers so far, having earned star stickers for ‘desired behaviours’ at home and elsewhere.
So, what started off as a Shitty Bit soon turned into one of the Best Bits – between us we restored some faith in a three year old who may not be great at listening but is great at lots of other things – including being three. And I restored my faith in my own skills and abilities which, when something as identity-shaking as becoming a mother happens and your focuses change and time is spent very differently, can be easy to forget.
Until next time, keep an eye out for your Best Bits