So Shawn and I have been trying to focus on following through with her. One warning, and of she doesn't behave, then she gets the consequence. Of course, B is fighting it and she really hates the naughty stool. We may have turned the corner with her...
Yesterday, Bridget had some toys and books scattered around her room. It wasn't in the worst shape it's ever been in, but it was messy. The babies were waking up from a nap, and needed to be fed. I was in B's room with Liam, and I said, "Bridget, could you please pick up your toys?" Usually this provokes the typical, "I DON'T WANNA!" accompanied by foot stomping and throwing whatever object is closest to her. Followed up by me yelling at her and putting her on the naughty stool. This time she just said, "but..."
"Bridget, you're a big girl now, and you know where all your toys go. You can put them away."
"Can you help me?"
"No, I need to feed Holly, Liam and Megan."
"But I don't want to clean up by myself."
"Well, I can't help you. Your brother and sisters are hungry. You can do it. You know where your toys belong."
"Come and get me when your room is all cleaned up."
I really didn't expect her to do much. Maybe she'd only put away her doll house toys, or a few little things. She gets distracted easily, and usually ends up playing with the toys she's supposed to be putting away.
Off I went to feed babies. I couldn't hear Bridget playing in her room, but I also couldn't hear her cleaning up her room. Things were really quiet. Liam and Megan were fed, and I was almost done feeding Holly, when B quietly came to the kitchen. She just stood by the high chair, watching.
"What's up, B? How's your room? Is it all clean?"
"Uh-huh." very unenthusiastically.
"It is?" not believing her "Are you telling the truth?"
"yeeeesss." still very sly.
"If I go look in your room, will it be clean?" Trying to figure out where her loophole is.
"uh-huh!" a bit more excited now.
"Ok, let's go look at your room."
"sure! come on!" and Bridget skips down the hall excitedly. "Come on, Mama! Look at my room!"
So now I'm starting to think she cleaned up something. When I got to her room I was AMAZED! All the doll house accessories were put in the correct place. All the kitchen things were put away. All the dress up clothes were put in the dress up basket under her bed. All her pillows, blankets, and dolls were back up on the bed. Her dirty pajamas were off the floor and in the laundry basket. All her books were on the book shelf. Nothing was left on the floor. I was SHOCKED. I began screaming with delight. "I'm SO proud of you Bridget, I'm very impressed with your room! You did a great job!" etc. etc. I gave her a huge hug. Bridget was beaming with pride. "See Mom! I did it. I did it all by myself! I'm a big girl! I did it."
She ran downstairs to tell Shawn. I think Shawn was pretty stunned that Bridget had cleaned her room on her own too. I had planned to take Bridget to Portillo's for dinner then Target to get some school supplies for Preschool, so I told her my plans. Then Shawn said, "If you continue to behave, after Target, we'll get some ice cream!"
As it turned out, this was the first time the babies have been to a restaurant. We brought two in the double stroller, and carried the third in. We got lots of attention from employees and customers. Most just curious. That's ok, we're getting used to it. Besides the questions, dinner was uneventful. Bridget was well behaved, Megan was asleep, and Liam & Holly just watched the people and drank their bedtime bottles.
After dinner, Shawn decided he'd just walk across the parking lot to Target with the double stroller. I was going to drive the van over with Bridget and Megan. This is where things exploded. B got all upset that Daddy was walking and we were driving. She wanted to walk with Daddy. She began kicking and screaming while I was trying to get her into her car seat. Since we're really focusing on actions/consequences, I warned her that if she didn't stop the bad behavior, we would not get ice cream. Of course she continued to scream and cry and followed that up with a punch to my arm. So that was it, I told her no ice cream. Let the melt down begin. "No Mommy! I want to behave! I want to be a big girl! I want ice cream! I want to behave! Don't take ice cream away! No Mommy, no! I'll be a big girl! I'll behave."
Fortunately, she calmed down by the time we entered Target. Shopping was fine, but when we left, she started up again. By the time we got back home, Bridget had lost bedtime stories, bedtime music, and her doll house. Ugh!
Today, Bridget knew she had to behave to earn her doll house back. She behaved beautifully! She was an angel. She thanked me for taking her to Grandma Joan's house. She told me she had lots of fun there. We had talked about how she COULD have had a nice evening after Portillo's but since she misbehaved, she didn't get to do those nice things.
So after tonight's dinner, I took her to the store and out for ice cream. We talked about how good she was today, and how I enjoyed doing fun things with her when she behaves. I think it is beginning to make sense to her.
She said, "I don't like when the babies cry. It's not fun when they're crying. It just makes me angry sometimes."
I said, "I don't like when YOU cry either. It's not fun when YOU'RE crying."
"Yah" she said. "I don't like crying. I want to be a big girl and behave and get nice things."
"Like ice cream? and shopping with Mama?"
Then she said, "This ice cream is DELICIOUS! The girl made me DELICIOUS ice cream!"
(Two tables of customers turned to look at B when she said that.)
I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the "Trying Threes". Wouldn't that be nice? I need SOME reprieve before having to go through it all again...times three!