Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Practice Sessions

It must be some new fad I've bought into about raising kids. I can't tell you how many practice sessions we've had since Blessing's arrival in our home over a year ago. When Charity joined our family, then the ghost, practice sessions hit an all time high. I wish I had video taped some of them. I mean, we practice things "normal" kids don't usually need to practice. Like, with Blessing we practiced looking at the dog without falling into the fetal position and screaming bloody murder. Really. We would stand her in the room, tell her "Let's practice". Pull a stuffed animal dog out complete with mocked growling, and ask, "what are you going to do?" and I'd hold my arms out so she'd know to come to me when she was afraid. At first she didn't get it, but eventually the game of jumping into mom's arms became something fun. I'd laugh and squeeze her, and make a big deal. Then we'd put her back in the middle of the room and call Toby. Of course it took her awhile to come to me in the real situation, but you get the idea of a practice session.

Oh, the things we've practiced. We've practiced saying, "yes, mom" with a smile rather than folded arms and pouty lips. We've practiced putting an empty plate into the sink without licking it down, first. We've practiced a low, normal toned voice rather than whining. We've practiced getting in and out of the car seat quickly. Patting gently rather than way-laying. Petting rather than kicking. Looking at who you are talking to in the eye. Telling the truth. And the list goes on and on and on.

Just a few days ago I summoned all 5 older ones to the rug, where I then told them we'd been having some trouble. I told Faith to tell me "no" when I asked her something. I said, "Faith, will you help me put these dished away?" She said, "No". And then I threw the biggest, exaggerated fit possible. Really. Got down in the floor and kicked and screamed and said phrases common to the two born of the heart babies. "It's not FAIR!!!" and so on and so on. I did a good job. ;)

Then I asked her again. Again she said "nope." And I folded my arms and pouted and whined. You get the picture? We went through that cycle several times, with me giving different, yet inappropriate responses. The giggles were fantastic. Did you know throwing a worthy fit is exhausting? I had no idea my little ones were getting so much exercise! Whew!

From there, I suggested the kids ask me for something they commonly ask for. Then I had them first give the WRONG response. Then I had them give the RIGHT response. This was hilarious to me, because each one actually asked for something that they ALWAYS ask for. Something that drives me crazy, especially when they ask at the most inopportune times. Then, each one did EXACTLY what they usually do that is wrong. Might I remind you I did not tell them what to do, just to do the wrong thing. Faith rolled her eyes. Hope looked pitifully sad. Charity whined with all the flare we usually see. Grace did some fake crying complete with real tears. And Blessing cocked that little head to the side, jumped up and down, and proclaimed, "But, Mom...." and then fell into her fit. Really funny. It proves how devious they really can be, how fake the fits are, and how they often ARE in control when I want to chalk it up to something in their past. I'm NOT saying there aren't times when rage-full fits are a result of being overwhelmed and their little bodies' way of releasing major stress, but more times than not it is something they can control... or at least should be learning to control. Any way you think about it, it was certain proof they absolutely understand their normal responses are not correct, and they are fully capable of rising to the occasion and responding appropriately.

So... go practice! (If your kids need it, like mine!)

11 comments:

hsmomma5 said...

Sounds familiar....

The other day T got the mad pouty face over something extremely silly and I made one of the other kids go get a mirror. I teased him good naturedly and told him to look at himself. He did, and he burst out laughing!

chickadee@afamiliarpath said...

i would have loved to have seen your fit. why didn't you film that?

Lisa said...

I am so glad someone besides me has thrown a fit for a radical kid. It wore me out. I don't know how they do it.

We do LOTS of practice sessions around here. Over and over and over.

Great job!!!

Maury said...

Haha...that is TOO funny that they did exactly what they always do! So...my question is, now that you have gone through all that with them, is their response better? You left us hanging on that part!!

Annie said...

I follow one of mine around saying "son, son, son, son, son, son, son, son" he tells me it's annoying...HMMM?

Amanda and Justin Dreyer said...

Yeah for social skills! You could be a speech-pathologist! It often amazes me to the direct approach that some kids need, but at least you can get a good laugh from it too!

suzanne said...

oh LOVE it!

reading you yesterday combined with the morning we had i implemented your "sit strong" (isn't that what you called it?). oh, yes, i did. and we practiced it all day yesterday! right down to the 20 month old baby!

we've also practiced our heads off lately with "yes, ma'am." without all the stuff you already mentioned. my kids are sick of hearing "practice"!

oh, and the look people in the eye and speak to them. ARGH! got any suggestions beyond practice (which we're doing constantly)?

OH! your dollies are ready! well, the outfits are not, but they're just a few hours away. (which you know, for my house, a few hours, is similar to our hubbies saying the football game "only has a few minutes left"! ;) anyway, when can i come your way with your gifts or are you coming this way soon?

dean said...

ummmmm... if licking the plates isn't allowed, how do you get them clean???

Mandy said...

Is it a bad sign that I still have to do these things with my born of the body kids? lol

deepfriedpicklesandicecream.wordpress.com said...

I need to do this!!

I have to comment on Suz. comment,LOL.My parents taught me to look someone in the eye when they speak to me,or I am speaking to them.I have been told more than once that I am weird because I do that and that it is intimidating.And I cant stop....LOL.

glitzen said...

yes, we do the practice thing too! What was often necessary when they were toddlers was to practice "leaving" before we arrived somewhere. We would practice in the van. I would say "Ok, its time to clean up toys and say goodbye.." and then they would practice good behavior. It worked so well! Now we practice saying things to me without attitude attached..sheeesh. Still need those practice sessions!