I've been MIA from the blogging world because I was on vacation. No, I didn't go anywhere exotic or do anything earth-shattering. I simply got to spend an entire week with Dr. Phil at home with us! Hooray! We got to do all kinds of fun stuff. We worked on the landscaping in our front yard, and it already looks so much better. I'll be sure and post pictures once we get everything planted and exactly how we want it. We made a trip to the local Children's Museum and had a picnic lunch. We visited a state museum on our alma mater campus and got to meet up with my sister, her kiddos, Philip's mom, and his little sister. We had two weddings, and Janie loved seeing the "princesses" in their beautiful gowns. We went with our playgroup to the zoo and had lunch by the seals. My high school World Religions teacher was in town for a conference, and we were able to have him over for brownie sundaes. What's cooler than watching one of your heroes color with your daughter at the dining room table? I can't think of what else we did off the top of my head, but it was a fun whirlwind of a week with plenty of family time. I'm sad to see it go, but it's nice to be back to my regular routine. I had let the housework and cooking get away from me (and we know how THAT stresses me out!), so I've had a busy day getting back on track.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I'm currently re-reading "The Happiest Toddler on the Block." Part of Dr. Karp's strategy for raising a happy toddler is spotlighting the good that they're doing. One strategy is creating what he calls a "star chart." You pick three behaviors to focus on (two that the toddler is already doing and one to work on). Then, sit down when they're calm and explain that they're doing a great job at the two things and say you'd like to help them work on the third. Let the toddler know that they'll get a star each time they do any of the three things. Draw out the chart, allow the child to decorate it and pick out the stickers to make it their chart. Display the chart where everyone can see it, gossip about their success, give bonus stars for extra cooperation, get your child's input for special rewards for every ten stars. Redo the chart every few weeks and add new behaviors.
Since praise is very effective with Jane, I decided to create "Janie's Sticker Chart." The two things that she does well already are sharing with Walt and waiting. The third thing that we're going to work on is allowing Mom and Dad to put in her eye drops everyday. (Unfortunately, Jane inherited her mom's "lazy eye." It might be a cool party trick when you can control it like I can, but Jane can't, and she needs these drops to blur the vision in her strong eye and strengthen the muscles in her "lazy" eye.)
We made the sticker chart this morning together while Walt took his morning nap. Janie helped me pick out the images online for the different tasks, and we drew up a chart on Microsoft Word. She retrieved it from the printer and helped me to put it on the refrigerator. She is sooooooo excited about her chart, and she gets a big thrill out of putting her selected Sesame Street stickers up for her achievements. It's pretty darn cute watching her puff out her chest and point at her accumulated stars for waiting, sharing, and putting in eye drops.
Here's the chart:
Hopefully the sticker chart continues to be a smashing success, and we'll be able to go out for ice cream as a family when Janie gets 10 stars. C'mon, Janie! Mama loves ice cream as much as you do!