Week 8 – P&R

Wow…can’t believe it’s been a month since the last update!  For the most part, everything is going amazingly well.  Kids are pretty engaged in the family and are participating more than ever.  I’m working on my training update but will have to post that next time as it isn’t quite done.

We’ve had 2 trip ups lately:  Ripken getting to school and Ripken and appreciations at family meetings.

The school thing we have been struggling with for quite some time.  I finally got in touch with Vicki to get some insight.  But first, let me say that Rip has come a long way since the beginning of school:

Beginning:  wouldn’t carry his backpack (too heavy – imagine whiny voice)
Now:  carries backpack no problem

Beginning:  couldn’t wake himself up
Now:  wakes himself up 95% of the time

Beginning:  wouldn’t put his lunch/snack into his backpack
Now:  remembers these items 90% of the time

Beginning:  would walk to class by himself
Now:  likes it when we drop him off at the curb and he goes in by himself

But getting dressed in the morning and getting out the door in a timely manner has been incredibly difficult.  Anyhow, what it boils down to is giving the kid a break.  He’s worked very hard to get where he is and I just need to back off a little and give him a bit of rest.  The trick is to do it in a manner that shows Rip that by me dressing him in the morning takes a way a bit of his independence that he so very much desires.  Oh, and me dressing Rip in the morning is enough of a kick start for him to finish getting ready for school.  The last 2 days have been AMAZINGLY easy and we have arrived to school on time (a bit early even).    We’re on spring break this week so it will be interesting to see what happens next week.

Appreciations – I’m not sure how, but this is somehow tied to the school thing.  Rip has been slacking big time on the appreciations and this is the kid that has come up with some pretty spectacular appreciations.  Anyhow, I had a plan in place to deal with the lack of appreciations but he kicked it into high gear at this last meeting so I’m assuming he’s just in a better state of mind since getting to school has been a bit easier.

Ok, hope to get a training timeline update posted before the end of the week.  I’ve learned lots since we started this!


Ok, after getting so excited about Rip getting to school on time 3 days in a row, and thinking (in my head) how we had turned a corner, we JUST barely made it to school on time.  Yes, I need to remember that he is still in training and there will be days/weeks (hopefully not months) when he just doesn’t get to school (or wherever) on time.  One of my buttons that will probably never really go away.

10.  We now know we can replace “No” with “Yes…as soon as…”

9.  For introducing us to the book “The New Global Student

8.  For teaching us how to identify why our kids act the way they do

7.  For bringing humor back into parenting

6.  For showing us how to have stress-free morning routines

5.  For giving us a format to appreciate family members on a regular basis

4.  For showing us how to be in relationship with our kids

3.  For teaching us to have radical faith in our kids and their abilities.

2.  For helping us discover that Riley, at just 2 years old, is a future chef in the making.

and the number 1 reason (at least for today…)…

1.  For 3 days in a row, Ripken woke himself up, got dressed, ate, brushed his teeth, packed his backpack and got to school on time!!!!

I had planned on posting that I was going to change my prediction on how long it would take for Rip to earn back TV/Video Games/Computer privileges from 4 weeks to 4 months.  Then he goes and decides that he is ready to get those privileges back and starts getting to school on time.  LOVE IT!  Not only is he now getting ready for school without any fuss, but he never once felt like the removal of TV/Video Games/computer was a punishment.  Simply associating those with a responsibility made the entire process smooth.   Ahhh…feeling good tonight!

Just wanted to post that the flight with the 2 kiddos went AMAZINGLY well!  Both kids were extremely helpful getting through airport security…as a matter of fact they were so helpful, I’m pretty sure we got through in record time!  Then they were both very patient as we stood in line to get on the plane, each pulling their own ‘suitcases’ full of plane entertainment.  Seriously, this was a very relaxed and enjoyable airport experience.

The flight itself was easy.  Rip fell asleep about 10 minutes after takeoff.  Riley entertained herself with colors and books.  The only sketchy parts were takeoff and landing.  Riley does NOT like to be sitting down when the plane takes off or lands.  But we will work on that.

The visit with the family has also been pretty easy going.  The kids are getting along well (only 1 or 2 minor flare ups).  Feels funny, trying to think of some bad things and having trouble!  Sleep schedules are pretty whacked after having traveled through 3 time zones.  Not going to complain if that’s the worst thing 🙂

More updates later!

Tomorrow I head off on a cross country trip (airplane) with the two kids.  Just me and the kids, no Kirk to help.  That officially makes it 2 against 1.  And I am amazingly calm about the upcoming event.

Rip usually travels really well anyways, but he did volunteer to help keep Riley entertained during the flight.  As Vicki would say, I’m having radical faith in my kids.  I have no doubts we’ll do just fine!

Kirk & I had a ‘date’ a couple weeks back where we took the Parenting On Track Parenting Roadmap and used that as a planning tool for 2010.  It was great!  We actually identified the following goals for the year:

  • Financial (savings)
  • Vacations (my personal favorite)
  • Physical (how to stay healthy, lose weight, what races to run, etc..)
  • Kids (mostly kept to our timeline for training but added a couple other items like getting Rip off of training wheels)
  • Personal
  • Career

So not only did we set up these goals, but we used the Parenting On Track Roadmap philosophy to identify the steps we need to take to reach those goals.  It’s only been a few weeks but we are definitely moving in the right direction to reach our goals.  Very excited!  And how cool will it be to teach our children how to do this so they can be better planners!

By the way, our next chapter for Parenting On Track is Family Meetings.  We have been doing these for awhile and as soon as we refresh ourselves with the information I’ll post on how things are going in our household.

Our family attended a birthday party for a 5 year old boy yesterday at Dave & Buster’s.  For those not familiar with D&B, it’s a family oriented arcade/style fun house.  And I can honestly say, we had a fabulous time and walked away from the party without having experienced any outbursts or meltdowns from either kid.    And, I actually had one parent approach me and comment on how well behaved Riley was – they expected the 2 year old to be out of control.  And there was Riley, sitting calmly at the table eating her lunch while most of the other kids were running around.  Anyhow, a meltdown-free event isn’t necessarily a first for us, but in the past it had always been an expectation at an event such as this.

I actually hadn’t even thought about it until the very end of the party when I was in the ‘reward store’ and watched my good friends deal with both of their kids melting down.  The father commented on how he can’t stand going to places like that because they always end up in meltdowns.

As we were leaving the party, I started reflecting not only on how differently Kirk & I would have handled the meltdown(s) but how these past weeks of working the Parenting On Track program have actually set our family up so meltdowns are an exception to the rule.

Specifically, doing appreciations towards each other on a weekly basis have our kids working together instead of against each other.  Allowances have our kids understanding the value of money – what they can afford, what they can’t and how to save up for something (although, they usually don’t have the patience for saving just yet).

And then there’s how we handle meltdowns.  In the past Kirk & I would not have thought about maintaining/building a good relationship with our kids but would have resorted instantly to disciplining, yelling, time-outing.  And we KNOW these things don’t work in the long run and that they make everyone feel bad in the moment.   Now we just keep moving…focusing on staying away from, what I like to call, ‘the dark place’.   And although we have seen changes in our family dynamics over these weeks, it was very apparent yesterday…feeling really good about how relaxed our family is becoming.  Serious thank you’s to Vicki Hoefle!!!!  The vision we have for our family is now moving towards a reality.  Feeling real good right now!

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