Thursday, January 20, 2011

Still sick, and an epiphany

Day 2 of Nikko's fever. He was lethargic all day except for a two-hour window around lunchtime. He perked up a little bit and ate a biscuit with (fake) butter on it and some grapes. I had called the gastro in the morning and they told me to keep adding miralax to his pedialyte. I worried that yesterday he didn't have any at all and that would back him up. But this afternoon he had a big bowel movement that was equivalent to a liquidy backup. I hope it continues, quite honestly. Then he went back to Mr. Lethargic in the afternoon/evening. I brought him a biscuit and grapes to the floor during dinner and to my surprise he ate it. He asked for more grapes. No throwing up so far. And when he asked for "A-chocalata-pop-a-TART?" I could see that he was on the mend. His fever broke and now he was at a low temperature. I cancelled his early morning ABA in the hopes that he'll get some rest before going to school tomorrow.

On another note, I had an epiphany earlier this evening.

It was almost bath time for Audrey. The living room looked chaotic. We try to clean up everything before bath time starts so that I don’t have to pick up after everyone goes to bed. Most of the toys have assigned bins which the kids have recognized. The challenge was getting the kids to continue the clean up process.

I announced that it was time to clean up and started singing the school-based clean-up song. Audrey didn’t budge from her pile of stuffed animals. Ronin started picking up a Mater tow truck to put it away, then settled down in front of the car bin to play with it longer.

“Clean up, guys!” I started bellowing, making a big production by picking up random toys and tossing them into their bins. I noticed that each kid was idling with a toy that was headed to a bin. I turned off the TV and kept bellowing at them to pick up toys. [Nikko was lying on the floor, sick and lethargic, so he was exempt].

I was shoving a random toy into a colored bin when I knelt down in front of a bookcase and yelled, “Why? Why is this SO hard? Why can’t you guys just clean up when it’s time? I don’t want to be yelling at you guys to clean up for the rest of my life! Jesus, WHY can’t they do this?”

Suddenly I felt like a bolt of lightning struck my brain because the next thought was, “Because they need help. They don’t know what to do. There are bins, but they don’t know where to start or what to put away first. I think I need to list them down. That’s right. I’ll make a list of each toy category and then they can see what needs to be put away next.”

The wheels in my head were spinning as I got a tablet of paper and a marker. I drew a checkbox and next to it I wrote: CARS/NEW CARS. Below that was another checkbox and next to it was the word TRAINS. Next checkbox and TEA PARTY BIN/FOOD/DISHES. Then was STUFFED ANIMALS, POPPOLO, PILLOW PETS. After that was AUDREY’S PURSES. Then was FIGURINES. The last checkbox said EXTRAS/COUCH. I basically scanned the living room to see what bins needed to be filled and put away, then listed them. I showed the kids which item was next and helped them pinpoint the toys in the room.

It totally worked. They found toys, they put it in the bins, they put the bins away. The floor was clear in an instant and I gave high fives and praise. I resolved to put the checklist on paper, laminate it and then tape it to the wall. We can even put a check with a dry erase marker to indicate what was accomplished. I was shocked that the clean-up list was so simple and effective.

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