Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Strange Currencies

Well, finally, we found a punishment for Caroline that actually means something. Time outs work for smaller things but the usual things that a parent might threaten/do have never seemed to work for Miss C. I've never been able to take away a toy that made any difference to her. She has never been the type of kid that played with one particular toy over and over - if something was taken away, she just found something else.

Well tonight, we NEEDED to find something "good" because frankly, she deserved it. My mom made dinner for us and while the rest of us were finishing up, Caroline got up from the table. She was up to something, but that's nothing new. When Bryce took a mid-meal bathroom break, he came back talking about something Caroline was doing but we really didn't hear him. Well, then Jason went to see what was going on. There was Caroline on the landing of the steps sitting with 2 pencils, a towel, and a washcloth trying to wipe a very large "CAROLINE" off the wall that she had clearly just written. Needless to say, we were NOT thrilled. Although I will say it's ironic that she chose that wall since it's one of the last walls with the original builder's flat paint on it and one that we have plans of painting very soon. But nevertheless, still completely unacceptable. After a time out in her room, we told her that we needed to think about what her punishment would be. However, it was kind of interesting how she reacted upon being caught. The first thing she said was, "I forgot the paper!" And then later on it was, "I couldn't find the paper." And then it turned into some drawn out story about how a girl at school told her to do it and that if she went home and did it, they could be best friends. Um, does she think we were born yesterday????

So when Caroline was out of earshot, I started brainstorming on an appropriate consequence because we weren't coming up with any great ideas on our own. Then my mom spoke up - especially after Caroline's outfit that day - tell her that mommy gets to pick out her clothes for a week. I was a little skeptical but when I mentioned it to Caroline, she freaked out. BINGO. So, that is her currency - autonomy in dressing. While she was in the tub, I went into her room and cleaned out her drawers and left her with one pair of socks, one shirt, and one pair of capris. We'll see how she deals with her limited choice tomorrow morning but at least she saw her empty drawers after her bath tonight.

Don't worry - I won't dress her in anything outlandish - in fact, it will be nice to see her in matching outfits for once that match the weather too. I called my mom later to let her know how hard Caroline had taken the news of her wardrobe adjustment and thanked her for helping me to zero in on Caroline's Achilles Heel. I had several other ideas that involved not letting her do certain things, but many of them would have short changed Bryce so this one was perfect since it only affects Caroline.

So our little vandal is now finally asleep. She had a tough day at school with several time outs and then wouldn't take a nap, so I'm thinking it was just a bad day in general for her because everything was an issue from the time she got home. Who knows why? Maybe pairing those boots with shorts earlier today was bad karma?


Christine said...

Wow- that is punishment gold!!! Your mom is a genius!!!! Lucky for us, Anya and Baz are super-attached to their music boxes, but I think the clothing thing could work too!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it's worked but I do wonder if her picking her own shoes is a "suppressed" joy even though she can't pick the toys??...I know, I'm a hard_ss! :-)

Anonymous said...

What was I thinking as I typed??? I meant "she can't pick her clothes"....