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.