He Wants Money

While Jack has no concept of monetary worth and is a bit shaky on his math skills these days, he is still motivated by money. I discovered this a couple of years ago when we were working on potty training. Well, ‘potty training’ isn’t the right term really – he knew exactly what to do and didn’t need training, he just didn’t want to do it. Stickers, candy, etc. were not good enough incentives for him. The thing that finally worked was $$MONEY$$. Every time he used the toilet I gave him some coins to put in a clear bucket. At the time he responded with wide eyes and asked, “I can buy ANY toy I want???”

Sure, honey, just keep saving those nickels.

More recently we’ve been trying to help Jack with his memory. He tended to forget things before cancer came into the picture, and ‘chemo brain’ is certainly not helping his recall. He’s terrible at remembering kids’ names and can’t for the life of him remember what he did during the day. Half the time he’ll make up some story about monsters or aliens on the playground to cover up his shoddy memory.

It’s a good thing Forgetful Jones isn’t around on PBS anymore, otherwise he’d have that nickname like I did! Someday I’ll have to apologize to him for passing on this sad trait of mine (if I remember).

When Jack came home from his first day of school and actually told us all about it (first time ever!) we were super excited. We immediately decided to encourage this behavior. Thanks to their ready availability at the clinic, Jack is no longer interested in stickers in the least and he already gets chocolate following his regular doses of antibiotics…hence, we offered him money if he remembered the name of his projects partner at school the following day.

Upon hearing “Gabriel who is a boy” announced, Jack was handed a dollar. Yesterday he came home and told me about Toni, and also about a kid from Room 1 that he’s decided is his enemy (the kid tried to get Jack to say “underwear” in a knock knock joke – Jack is much too proper for those shenanigans). When David asked if maybe he wanted a treat, Jack said yes and drew a rectangle shape with his fingers to indicate he wanted a dollar. We cracked up and handed it over.

I’ve given Jack his first wallet so he can stash his cash. He’s up to $3 so far. I believe he plans to use his money to buy monster berries in his favorite iPad game Monster Pet Shop (which involves breeding, raising, and selling monster pets – we’re actually both addicted – be our FRIEND!). I would be encouraging him to save it for college but I think we might have an entrepreneur on our hands!

Letting Go

Today is Jack’s last day in daycare.  He’s been with G for over two years (a miracle when you think back to all the daycare dramas early on in his life) and made some awesome little friends there.  G’s house is basically Jack’s third house – there were many weeks there where he spent just as much time there as he did at my house or his dad’s.  G feeds him and teaches him and celebrates his victories and birthdays.  Jack was potty trained there before he was at home!

In the last 2+ years, G has taken only ONE unscheduled day off – for Jury Duty.  One day, you guys!  She is simply amazing.

I’m having a hard time walking away from this lady.  She is one of the most reliable, dependable, trustworthy, and caring people I have ever known – it has been a BLESSING to be able to put Jack in her care.

I don’t think it’s hit Jack yet.  He knows today is his last day and that he’ll have a goodbye party, but all he could say was that he was hoping for presents.  :P   We tried to tell him this isn’t the kind of thing you get presents for.  In any case, he starts school Monday and I’m guessing somewhere in that week he’ll really start to miss G.  I know I will!

I had a difficult time coming up with a gift that conveyed how much we love G.  What we ended up with was this poem made into an artful poster by Etsy artist MySoulShines and matted/framed:

They Will Remember

by Eileen Koscho

I take care of your children.
I love them.
I teach them.
I clean them, and I feed them.
And when nighttime comes,
my heart worries about them
I take care of your children.
I see their first steps.
I hear their first words.
I share their happiness, and
I feel their hurts.
I take care of your children,
as if they were my own.
And when they are grown, and
no longer need me,
My love will be a part of them
deep within the heart of them.
They will know that I was there for them unconditionally.
And they will remember!

 

This morning it occurred to me that I should have had a coffee mug or something made with Jack’s artwork to give to her.  Dang it!  Maybe I’ll ship that to her…

Here is a picture of G with Jack on his birthday (she is so cool – she got him the alien space ship Legos):

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Pretty Much There?

I can’t remember the last time I changed a dirty diaper.  That’s significant and AWESOME.  I think that means we’re doing very well with the potty learning over in Casa d’Ewok.  Jack is consistently using the potty and can switch between the small one and the large one with ease (at least, with peeing).  We haven’t had any accidents in a couple weeks at home.  *knocks on wood*

I almost considered him potty trained as of this weekend but am not quite sure when we can consider that milestone “met.”  Is it when he stops dirtying his pull up even when away from my house (seems he is saving his dad’s house for last)?  When he starts wearing underwear?  When I don’t need to remind him to go a million times a day?  He hasn’t wet himself at night in…gosh, I don’t even know – probably over a month.  He totally has the abilities mastered – it’s all a matter of his mood and will and level of distraction.

I’m in awe, especially after all the difficulties we had for so long.  Whew.

Developments

Yesterday was a GREAT day.  Jack’s daycare is closed this week for Spring Break, so I took Monday and Tuesday off of work to hang out with him.  Maybe it’s because I’m relaxed from my weekend in Napa, or maybe I’m just getting better at being at home with the kiddo, but I really enjoyed the day.  I even thought – MAYBE – I could actually swing a SAHM situation after all if it came down to it.  (Watch – today will totally squash that idea.)

Midday I needed to run to the store for toilet paper, so I packed Jack into the car with promises of a Transformer if the store carried one.  I figured it was about time as his potty money tub was getting pretty heavy and it’s been a month since we got the last toy.  Also!  Jack pooped in the potty last week and even though he didn’t even know he was doing it, we celebrated with a potty dance and extra money.

Walgreens had a number of Transformer toys, both Autobots (the good guys) and Decepticons (the bad guys).  I asked Jack whether he wanted a good guy or a bad one.  After declining to buy one of each for him, he chose a Decepticon that turns into a forklift.  I should have pressed him to get the one that turns into a toaster – the forklift’s arms keep coming off.

It may or may not be a coincidence, but later in the evening Jack used the potty to poop on TWO separate trips to the bathroom.  I’m not ready to call this a breakthrough or anything (lest the parenting karma gods strike me down), but I am willing to say that it’s a very nice development.  Other things that may or may not have anything to do with this development: showing Jack the Transformer underwear he could wear once he was regularly using the potty and acquisition of the book “It Hurts When I Poop” (which I didn’t buy due to any issues with hurting, but I knew he’d dig the explanation of what is going on in there).

Potty Training Milestone

Jack has been doing a great job of using the potty.  Most days he makes it through needing only one change (for #2).  It’s become more of a routine, but I am still reminding him to go to pee quite a bit.  Mostly, though, he completely forgets about getting any money for it.

After spending three hours or so at the car dealership (thank goodness they had a playroom!) Sunday, I thought it was time to reward Jack for all of his good behavior (um, aside from the slightly inappropriate “this looks like a penis” comment he made when inspecting some little rubber piece on the car door).  While our new car was being washed and detailed, we decided to get lunch and head over to Target for a shopping trip.  Jack was jumping and squealing with excitement.  This is the first time I’ve taken him into a store to pick out a toy.  I’m not sure what has taken me so long (other than my abhorrence for shopping with kids)!

After dithering over a few green Transformers (he picked out a Level 2 and I had to locate a level 1), he decided he had

picked out a bad guy and changed his mind completely.  Instead of getting a Transformer, he ended up picking out a Batman motorcycle toy that transforms.

He LOVES his new toy. He has been carrying it around with him and switching it back and forth between the batcycle and the weapon suit over and over. (Don’t try to tell him it’s not a transformer!) 

I was afraid that he would regress on using the potty again once I got him the toy. Luckily, I was ready when he refused to use the potty – I told him he could save up to get Batman’s sidekick and accessories. I’m kinda good at this potty bribery training thing.

Stick and Carrot

The Feminist Breeder wrote recently about how a fish potty trained her child.  Her post really got me thinking.  I’m sure you all remember reading about the issues we’ve been having with Jack only using the potty at daycare.  Potty learning has been going on for about a year now!  And while I don’t really want to get Jack a fish in order to get him potty trained (I have a fish and two cats to take care of already!), I really couldn’t come up with any better solutions…it’s been A YEAR, after all.

Stickers, candy, games – none of it was working to entice Jack to use the potty at home.  I tried laying off completely and that didn’t make a difference either.  I bought him awesome underwear with Buzz Lightyear on them and “special” SpongeBob foam soap…no go.  But yesterday, I put a little more thought into it.  I attempted to make it more personal.  I know Jack is a lot like me, you see.  So I asked myself what I would be motivated by…what bribe will get me almost every time?  The answer is money.  Money is like magic.  Money can get things!  Money can get almost anything your heart desires!  Money is power and clearly that is what Jack wants.

I proceeded to tell Jack that I would give him money for using the potty.  I explained that he could save up the money he gets (LOTS of money for using the potty LOTS) and when he had enough, he could buy a Transformer.  He has been rather stuck on Transformers and loves robots in general, so the bribe had an immediate impact.  He started asking questions – what color Transformer?  What would the Transformer’s name be?  And that kid couldn’t get his pants down fast enough!

He’s used the potty twice, so I’m not going to go and call this success just yet…but it’s progress for sure.  Right now Jack gets to put his money in a piggy bank.  After he woke up this morning asking if it was time to get a Transformer, I decided we needed a way for him to see how much money he has.  I plan to get a clear container and pick a decent spot to mark with marker…when he fills it to the marker line, I’ll take him to buy a Transformer.

I just hope I can find somewhere that sells them…any suggestions?

Regression

Jack has suddenly regressed with the potty training.  All of these months he has been consistently peeing in the potty at daycare and nowhere else (okay, a couple times at my house, once at a friend’s, once at his grandmother’s).  As of yesterday, he is not even peeing in the potty at daycare.

I haven’t been pushing potty use at home.  I ask him every few days if he is ready to use the potty and he replies that he doesn’t want to so I drop it.  I know there have been some potty training efforts made at Jack’s dad’s place, with little success.  I’m not sure if something changed over the weekend or if this is just Jack being stubborn.

I’m not sure what to do at this point.  Go the naked kid route or lay off completely?  I’m not worried about it; I know some day he will use the potty and there is no burning need for him to do it now.  It’s just perplexing that he knows what to do and refuses to do it, even when we have been good about keeping the pressure off.

He may not be crying, but I am

I’m completely at a loss with the potty training.  Jack uses the toilet (both the regular one and the mini) at daycare with very few issues (probably due to the herd mentality), but still will not use the potty at home.  We’ve tried various types of training pants, including the pull-ups that turn cold when the kid pees.  I did not get a second pack of those because they seem like torture.  I thought maybe a couple times of peeing in them would encourage him to use the potty but nope – he just complains about the pull-ups.

I’ve maintained a pressure-free stance on potty-training.  I’ve tried to let him know ahead of time that I’ll be taking him to use the potty “in a while.”  I’ve put him in big boy underwear and said that Buzz Lightyear would not want to be peed on, and asked that he let me know when he needs to go.  Unfortunately what follows is a BIG MESS.  The kid will sit in wet underwear without an issue!

I finally picked up No Cry Potty Training Solution and read the suggestion that I take away the idea that using the potty is an option rather than a fact.  So then I tried to matter-of-factly announce that it was time to use the potty.  He absolutely did not go for that.  He threw a fit.  I pulled down his pants and he ran.

So, I quit.  I’m not sure if there is anything left to try.  I may take a weekend and let him run naked but I’m pretty sure that will result in me cleaning up messes all day long.

Ready, Set, Potty

We are very suddenly potty training. Well, training isn’t really the word. On Sunday Jack came to me and announced that he wanted to use the potty. I pulled out the Baby Bjorn potty, pulled his pants and diaper down, and read him a book about peeing and pooping while he did both on the potty. It was surprisingly easy. We clapped and were proud!

Monday night the same thing happened, so yesterday I sent Jack to daycare armed with pull-ups training pants. He used the potty five times! I had only one item to put in the laundry yesterday and that was a pair of cloth training pants. Yay! Last night he did not want to use the potty, but this morning at daycare he couldn’t take his eyes off the potty. Funny kid.

I am amused by this turn of events. Mostly I think it’s interesting that I didn’t have to do much at all – that Jack told me when he was ready to use the potty. I love it when things just fall into place like this; I’m a huge fan of parenting along the path of least resistance!