Week 3 – Training

I’m constantly amazed at how quickly Ripken can get past major disappointments.   This morning Rip and I made our weekly Costco visit, after a quick stop at Office Depot so that he could spend his allowance.   Unfortunately,  I ended up having to skip the usual hot dog and smoothie ritual – Rip was throwing a fit because we didn’t get the smoothie first before getting our shopping done.  By the time we got back to the car, he was out of control – screaming, crying, kicking, refusing to get in his booster seat.   I finally managed to get him buckled in, but he was majorly ticked off the whole way home – and was clearly still mad when we came inside.  

I gave Kristin a quick synopsis – she assured me he would be over it in no time, but I wasn’t so sure.    But after a couple of minutes, I went over to the playroom where he was playing with his new letter stickers from Office Depot.  I acted like nothing had happened, and very enthusiastically asked him what he was working on.  Sure enough, he answered just as enthusiastically “Daddy, do you want to play letters with me?”   

It’s so inspiring to see that our kids have no desire or interest in holding grudges when they don’t get something they want – and it shows me that I can learn from them just as much as they can learn from me.


Usually during our family meetings Rip appreciates us for eating a good dinner, or being nice to him, or something along those lines.  And not that those are real appreciations, but you can tell that he’s scrambling and not super interested in this part of the family meeting  Well, last night during our family meeting, Ripken came up with a heartfelt appreciation.  On our way home from karate I was trying to keep the kids awake in the car (they struggle to stay awake in the car during daylight, darkness is a KILLER!).  Anyhow, to keep them awake I was making up stories that turned into ghost stories.  And at the family meeting, Ripken said “I appreciate Mommy for telling me ghost stories.”  Totally took me by surprise!

One thing we have been doing to help all of us with appreciations is the appreciation board.  99% of the time it’s just Kirk and I writing down our appreciations, but I am making sure to run through the list with both Rip and Riley a couple days before family meeting.  Just trying to make sure that they know we are thinking about this on a daily basis…not just once a week at family meeting.  Definitely seems to be making an impact…that and everything else we’re doing!

Still working on the plan to implement our timeline for training.  Too tired tonight to move on to Chapter 4 – Mistaken Behaviors.  Will make sure to do that tomorrow and post our thoughts on Sunday.

Up until this week, Riley has not been the slightest bit interested in helping take her dishes from the dining table to the kitchen.  However on two separate occasions this week she has all on her own brought at least one dish to the kitchen!  I’m so excited!  It is very clear, though, if I ask her to do it, she will say “No!” and run away.

I’m sure her participation in helping with the family will become a more frequent event and am looking forward to watching it progress from 2 times a week to 2 times a day.  And now that I think about it, she did sit at the table for Family Meeting last week, so maybe we’re already up to 3 times a week 🙂

One thing I have noticed since I put together the training timeline is I am way more conscious and proactive about teaching the kids things.  For example, before I put together the timeline, I knew that Riley would be able to dress herself if I would just show her and let her practice.  However, I never showed her or let her take time or asked her to try.  Just one day after writing down a timeline, I was asking Riley to get dressed and dang if that girl can’t do almost all of it already!  She definitely needs practice and something about actually writing down the goals has me on track to letting her do just that.  Of course, yesterday and today Riley promptly got undressed as soon as we finished getting her dressed.  The girl just likes to be naked.

Meanwhile, things here have been quite enjoyable.  Rip and Riley have been getting along better than ever.  Rip is continuing to open up more about what he thinks.  This morning it was him telling me he prefers a dirty room to a clean one.  After asking some questions, what he meant was, he prefers to clean his room once a week vs. every day.   Currently his room is pretty messy, and after making the comment about liking a dirty room, he frantically searched for his $5 dollar bill which ended up under something on his floor.  I was hoping a light bulb would go off and he would want to clean his room….but no such luck.

I’ve finally put together at least a draft of a timeline for training.  Next steps will be to work out a plan to make the timeline happen.  Won’t have a good sense of whether or not this timeline is realistic until I start putting the plan together.  But I am feeling pretty good about seeing this training stuff…especially now that it’s written down.  Not sure how we expect to have our kids trained on everything if we never take the time to actually write it all down and put a plan behind it!  Being a project manager, you’d think I would have figured this out a LONG time ago!  Anyhow, here’s the timeline for Rip:

timeline for training_rip

And now for Riley:

timeline for training_riley

Ok, now only time will tell.  Things have been incredibly peaceful lately so I’m feeling incredibly optimistic.  We even started training Rip on laundry this weekend and he learned how to start the wash and fold his clothes…and was quite fine with doing it all.

Ok, blogging while visitors are in town turned out to be a difficult task to squeeze in.  Mimi and Bumpa are now safe back in Michigan so we can get back to updating the world on our lives.

Overall Kirk & I have been feeling like our family is moving in the right direction.  Positive changes have been taking place.  However, we definitely felt ourselves sliding off track while Mimi and Bumpa were in town.  Definitely hard to keep up with any program when you feel like you’re on vacation, let alone keeping kids in reality mode when out of town grandparents visit…wanting to spend as much time with the grandkids as possible…and yes, that translates into doing for kids what they can do for themselves.  Personally, I’m fine with with the step backwards as the kids only get to spend time with the grandparents a couple times a year.  This particular visit was a little early in our jumping on board with Parenting On Track, but I am expecting the backwards steps to lessen as we get more and more entrenched in the program.

Ok, so we’re back to our normal routine and time to get moving forward again.  We have our list of skills to train the kids on over the next 6 – 8 months.  Need to put the training timeline together and then it’s on to Chapter 4:  Mistaken Behaviors.

Fun little note.  At this week’s family meeting Rip selected Laundry as his contribution.  I assumed that he meant just his laundry so I also selected laundry as my contribution.  Rip promptly said that was his contribution so I asked him if he wanted to do just his or everyone’s.  Rip said he wanted to do everyone’s.  Will wonders never cease!  Ok, so RIp hasn’t been trained on laundry except to carry his dirty clothes to the washer so I’m not expecting much…but hoping for a lot 🙂

Yesterday was had a bit of a rough start.  Riley was under the weather (cold accompanied by a mild fever).  Ripken, not happy about being awake.  Lots of ‘You’re a meanie! I’m not your friend EVER!”  And some hitting.  Now the hitting is definitely an activating event for me.  Especially with my parents getting to witness my child wailing on me with his fists.   However, I managed to keep my cool and just keep moving.  Rip’s mood didn’t really improve much until he was in the car and on his way to school.  Oh well, one bad morning out of a bunch of good ones is much improved from one good one out of a bunch of bad ones.

This morning was back to a nice peaceful morning.  I did realize that Rip hasn’t mastered the days of the week which hinders him in getting his library books back to school.  And, I suppose I saved him this morning as I started asking questions about what his class does on Fridays.  He did have a light bulb go off and realized he needed to take his library books back to school.  Now the big question is where do I go from here?  Something to think about today.

My parents arrived for a visit yesterday and it’s the first visitors we’ve had since we kicked off Parenting On Track.

The challenge with having the grandparents around is finding a balance.  A balance between what?  A balance between keeping to our “don’t do for a child what they can do for themselves” and allowing the grandparents to spoil the grandkids like they and the grandkids love.

I do have to say that things are going better than I expected:

I expected Ripken to put up massive resistance to going to school.  Instead, Ripken enjoyed showing Gumpa (a.k.a. grandpa) how to put his backpack in the car in preparation of going to school.

I expected Ripken to show off how he can get his own breakfast.  Instead, Ripken had a minor fit because he wanted Gumpa to get him breakfast.

I expected RIpken to want Mimi or Gumpa to read him books before bedtime.  Instead, he has requested me.

I expected Riley to be very shy with Mimi and Gumpa.  Instead she warmed up to both within half an hour.

All this reminds me that I need to have more faith in my kids.  They are pretty incredible and are so much more capable than we have ever given them credit for!

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