Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Annie get your guns!

I have embarked on a new mission. The "Be strong and stick to your guns" mission. My children have left soft spots on my heart and Connor's, because I am afraid of the big bad world mistreating and taking advantage of him, has left a spot that resembles a bruised and rotten peach. Using enforcement to get him to say "Want" or "I want" when asking for something has not been hard for me. The thing that has been hard is the cutoff point.

When first trying to needle speech of any form out of him I heard over and over if they ask for it, give it to them. If he asks for cookies and says the word give him the whole thing, jump up and down, make a big fuss. Make saying the words rewarding. I did and he said more and more. Then we added "Want" word or sign, and then "I want". Every time rewarding, encouraging more communication.

A trip to the store rarely ends with out Connor getting something. Even when faced with the big expensive toys, his sisters would up their allowance to stop the crying and screaming. He spotted the fire engine from the Cars Movie, "Life would be a dream." he calls him, because that's the song that plays in the movie. We stop and look at the toy. Connor picks it up and admires it from every end. After a while I tell him we are going to put it back and say goodbye. "NO! MINE!" and tantrum from hell begins. Big tears splash down his face as he scrolls through all of his asking for signs and words. Obviously we are stupid and don't understand what he is saying, because despite him getting louder and repeating his pleas we are putting it back and leaving the toy area.

"Life would be a dream, where are you?" he cries and his sister can't take it any longer.
"Mama can we get it if I give you my allowance? She asks as she is now on the verge of tears. We leave with the fire engine in tow.

The latest trip to the store for a quick dash in and out, he gets his sister to take him to see the fish. I grab what I need and head back over to the pet department to find them not there. I start to panic a bit as I envision Connor somewhere laying on the floor and Grace trying desperately to get him to cooperate, when I hear "Mine!". He had forewent the fish and led her straight to the toys. He is now carrying a box through the store a tad bigger than him. The Cars Movie people strike again with a huge Mac that opens in to 3 different types of tracks. Mac talks and comes with cars, he is Connor's dream come true.

The problem with this is it is so close to Christmas and this is one of the items on Santa's list. Not to mention that it is expensive and would kill the mission and cause the downward spiral down a very slippery slope. I am wondering now how do you go from "Want" to "I want" to "Get a job, learn the value of a dollar, and buy it yourself."

It took a lot of patience and muscle power to keep him from falling out on the floor and hurting himself, but slowly we left the toy at the store. I told him what good asking he had done, which I am afraid fell on deaf ears. The meltdown that followed only lasted roughly an hour and ended with Connor falling asleep in exhaustion.


Self employed mum said...

Despite using words and now that he is doing so well, you have to change the goal posts so that he does learn he can't have everything. You did well to resist, stay stong, it's for his own good. x

Jade said...

Ya know, I can only tell you what I would do as a ABA counselor. I would acknowledge the want, praise the words and like self employed mum said, raise the bar a bit. Make it a new "lesson" or skill for him. Slowly introduce the "we work for our wants". Slowly of course, he's still a wee guy, but If I were in the situation I would definitely take the opportunity to raise the bar a bit and create a chance for growth. Of course at the expense of your nerves, but growth for the little one non the less.

Good job at staying strong! I know its hard, but you're doing good!

Jeni said...

Oh, can I ever relate to your issue there! When Mandy and I have the kids with us in the store (Walmart, in this case being the closest, most frequented,) we try to stay as far away from the toy dept at all costs! Yeah, good luck with that idea huh? But we've had to turn some deaf ears (and pray the other customers can do that too -why is it their vocal chords are SOOOOO strong in situations like that? They could wake the dead!) At home, our big problem there when she decides she wants something, is handling her so that she doesn't go into a major meltdown which involves then throwing whatever she might have in her hand or that is close by! Scary times these are upon occasion. Just know, you aren't alone in dealing with this stuff though.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I would, personally, just move heaven and earth to go shopping without him. Not worth the stress and strain on all of you.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

You sound like you have it covered. Patience and lots of it is needed. I remember Amy having in tantrums in stores. I did give in many times for a quiet life but I wouldn't dream of doing now. Keep at it. He's a clever little boy.

Crystal xx

Suzy said...

God, I'm weak. I would buy him anything and everything.

Now we all know why I don't have kids.....



Casdok said...

Well done to you both!