Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reinforcers and pool etiquette

To help add some fiber into Nikko's diet, I was told about Fiber One toaster pastries, which are a slightly more expensive pop tart. They have 5g of fiber in each pop tart, but the only flavor I found around here was brown sugar cinammon. Nikko liked them for a while, but only ate the frosting on the top, consuming only a slight amount of the insides. I switched to chocolate fudge flavored pop tarts that specifically were fiber enhanced, and Nikko continued to eat mainly the frosting on top. I heard that chocolate was a natural laxative so I thought I was still on board. Today he ran out of the fiber enhanced pop tarts so I tried to give him some regular chocolate fudge pop tarts. The main difference is that there are little white specs of sugar on the frosting. This has deterred Nikko completely from the pop tart and now he refuses to eat it altogether. I don't know how many pop tarts I'm going to try to get him to like it, but the fact that he won't deviate from something that he settled on liking is extremly frustrating. This can be seen in other areas such as watching particular DVDs (Math Adventures on the Moon, Real Trains for Kids, The Reef), clothing (refusal of Crocs early in the summer) and in daily nuances (must have lights on or off at particular times, must close doors despite the door jam, won't let me wear a hat). These peculiarities get tough when it is associated with food, as evidenced from the fruit snack obsession, then the cheese puffs, and now it's ice cream. I have been trying to stick to serving these things only during snack time, so when anyone mentions that it's snack time he immediately brightens up and requests either cheese puffs or ice cream. I think that's the most appropriate I've gotten the behavior to, but it slips at times and during the day he may request these special foods at breakfast or during lunch. When I tell him it's only during snack time he will throw a huge tantrum. I mostly don't give in, but it's hard when he's dragging me by the wrist or the finger, pushing me forcefully with his head toward the pantry, or whining like a toy car with dying batteries that just won't quit. I recall that Linda Hoeck wrote to me that we don't necessarily have to remove the food completely, just serve it only at specific times.

I thought Nikko would be open to taking an afternoon nap, especially since we had a late swim night, but when 1p rolled around he didn't settle at all. He lay on our bed with Bow Wow, babbling to himself until 2p. No nap at all. After all the kids woke up and had a snack, we went to the Wheeling Pool and met up wth Pat, Anna, Jovy and Max. Nikko was thrilled to be in the water again and I watched him start to cup his hands in front of him before taking a mini-dive in waist-deep water. It was sunny, hot and humid with the chance of thunderstorms looming hours away. During the safety break when everyone had to vacate the pool, I had to drag Nikko out of the pool by carrying him. He was screaming in protest like any kid who was being taken away from his favorite activity in the whole wide world would, but I couldn't let him try to get back into the water. And he's getting heavier and stronger. It was physically draining for me to hold him back, so I offered him as many Oreos as it would take to keep him calm. It worked, just enough so that I could let go of him and allow him to sit/stand at a table waiting for the break to end. He would take a step toward the pool and look at me to see if I'd reprimand him. I would look, say his name sternly, and he'd wait begrudgingly. I wanted him to see that no one else was in the pool, but this concept still doesn't matter to him. He almost didn't believe it when we told him that the break was over, but when Denis walked him to the pool and Nikko saw everyone rushing to get back in, he was gleeful and took a dive. I am still using lollipops to lure him out of the pool at the end of our visits and to keep him standing still while I change him so that he doesn't bolt back into the pool. It's something I hope to phase out, but with the summer coming to an end so will the lollipop usage. Perhaps. I might have to keep them on hand to save us in the store. It's not a forever thing, and I truly believe that when his language and communication skills improve over the next year, along with his maturity, he may be better able to understand the concepts that he won't always get what he wants in a store, that he needs to stand still while I change him, or that it's not ok to go to a certain place just because he wants to.

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