Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thanks for the meltdown, dragonfly

6:50a Another morning of a decent wake-time for Nikko. He babbles in bed until he hears us moving around. He waits until we come to him. Sounds like a good plan, and I've been tracking this earlier bedtime routine for four weeks. I'll continue to track wake times on my calendar, but I think I'll spare the blog of every now-uneventful wake time.

We didn't have anything definitive on the calendar today, but since Denis didn't go to Jiu-Jitsu class he suggested that we go to the River Trails Nature Center after Audrey's nap. Great idea since the weather was low 70's and gorgeous today. It was a later start than originally planned, but we packed up the kids, returned a booster seat to Jovy's house, then headed to the nature center. The boys fell asleep in the car, probably because bedtime was two hours late due to going to the in-law's house. We rallied the troops once we arrived and unleashed them in the nature center. Nikko and Audrey really enjoyed looking at the fish tanks, while Ronin was scampering around looking at everything. One of the park district workers took a live snake out of a glass cabinet and I was mesmerized. I called Ronin over to look at the snake, and we both had the opportunity to touch it. I asked Ronin how it felt and he said, "Rough." We move on to the activity room. Ronin went to the fishing hole while Audrey and Nikko fiddled around with plastic forest animals. Nikko picked up a rubber dragonfly and adopted it for the duration of our visit. In fact, it was a source of contention when we parted. Ronin had also become attached to a paper magnifying glass that had a picture of a strawberry on it. It was easier for Ronin to say, "Bye bye, strawberry!" But Nikko was NOT happy about relinquishing his new toy. I bade it farewell, dropped it back in the animal bin, then picked up Nikko and exited through the nearest door. Nikko continued to wail, scream and stomp his feet all the way back to the car and near the animal cages. To placate him, I fished out a bag of fruit snacks and asked him if he wanted a snack. "Snack?" he asked through his tears, and then waited impatiently while I opened the bag. It quieted him down immensely. He even held onto the bag once he finished them, long enough to join Ronin and Audrey in a little play house settled not far from some bee hives and the parking lot. But once we got back into the car, Nikko unleashed his displeasure again. I tried to give them crackers for snack, which he ate, but he was pretty unhappy. We drove to Jewel to cram in a grocery run before heading home, which was a gutsy move given that Nikko was unsettled and the kids were probably getting hungry. We split up: Denis took Ronin and I took Audrey & Nikko. Nikko was whining through every aisle until I gave him a lollipop. It placated him for a bit until he watched me put some chocolate Milano cookies in the cart (for me). That's what he wanted next. There was no way I would give him that bag, so I had to break out another bag of fruit snacks. And when those were finished, we were luckily out of the grocery and headed to the car. Nikko launched into a crying fit and we had to listen to him screaming all the way home. He kept eyeballing my Hello Kitty shoulder bag, knowing that's where I pulled out the fruit snacks. When all the socks and shoes were taken off, and diapers changed, I started dinner early so that he could drown his sorrows in chicken nuggets and peaches.

So what can I take from this experience? That giving him fruit snacks is just a bad idea? If not fruit snacks, it would be something else for him to get angry over, wouldn't it? And how do we handle something like this? Would Linda Hoeck tell me to just be consistent? That when I give him fruit snacks and there are no more, show him the bag and even make him throw it away, that there are just no more and move on somehow? Nikko's transitioning away from fruit snacks is obviously extremely difficult. How can I make this transition easier? Is it just a matter of time - - a LONG time, since this had been going on [his reaction to fruit snacks, off and on] for the past two years? Seriously, Nikko's obsession with fruit snacks, and sweets in general, is extremely difficult to handle. Even Maria can see in the sessions that having fruit snacks as a reinforcer backfires.

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