Apparently this isn’t going to just write itself.

A few of you may have heard that there was this thing in Detroit last week.  It was a chance to learn a lot, drink a lot and laugh even more.  I’m not sure how long it’s going to take for me to process all the information that I tried stuffing into my little pea brain between trips to the bar.  I have notes and a list.  Having done a few of these conferences, Tracy (the Tracy of Tracy and Mouse) told us not to run home and change everything which is almost the only thing holding me back.  The other thing holding me back is that I barely have the energy to breath.  One of the most awful things I learned at the conference is that I’m not 21 anymore.  I still don’t get hungover if I drink all night (haha!  take that reisling, I win!) but I do get very, very tired…and it takes a loooong time to bounce back.  How long?  I’ll let you know as soon as I bounce back.

There was another awful thing I learned at the conference.  I’m an idiot.  OK, no, I didn’t really learn that at the conference I’ve known that for a while but I’m an even bigger idiot than I thought.  You see, before I came to the conference I printed off a conference agenda and marked off all the sessions I wanted to attend.  The last session was the Sunday morning Q&A session with the behavior experts and I knew I had to go because Monkey has this behavior that has been driving me out of my gourd for the last few months.  I totally needed expert help to figure this out.

Initially the trouble was that, every night when I got home, Monkey would whine and tell me to change into my pajamas.  The way he said pajamas was cute and I like wearing my pajamas.  A lot.  So, I changed into my pajamas and the whining stopped.  Win all around!  I’m so talented, I trained my child to whine.  Once the whining got annoying I decided it was time to nip this right in the bud, thank you very much!  So, I would tell him very firmly that I was not going to change and I didn’t.  Until he started crying.  Then I did.  AWESOME, now I’ve taught him to cry!  Where is my mother of the year award??  In the mail, I’m sure…just wait until you hear what I did next!  I became very concerned because clearly I could not have him crying every night I came home!  So, I told him that I would not change!  No, no, no, no…awwww, sheet…he puked.  I taught him to cry until he PUKES.

So, blah, blah…operant learning…blah blah…negative reinforcement…blah blah…vicious cycle.  I’m working under the assumption right now that the antecedent is my arrival home and the stress/anxiety I’ve built up through the day.  I relax when I finally put my pajamas on and then Monkey also relaxes.  It all seems so reasonable, doesn’t it?  Now I just need to figure out how to drop the stress and anxiety somewhere between my desk and my doorstep, oh, and simultaneously untrain my amazing puking Monkey…who’s now daily greeting just might be ratcheting up my anxiety a notch or two.

It’s feeling a bit like a Catch-22 at the moment so tonight I did what any sane, rational parent would do in this situation.  I snuck in the back door, ran to my room and changed before he even realized I was home.  How about them parenting skillz!

4 thoughts on “Apparently this isn’t going to just write itself.

  • July 29, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Awwwww you poor thing! I think the only thing I was missing, and I have made the assumption, is that you stopped changing into your pajamas when you got home because he was whining in other places or only in this situation and you were afraid if you gave in he would keep whining? But if you were already giving in, where was the whinning? I think I am just too permissive, I would just always put my Pajamas on. Anyways, you are not Dumb at all, disapline is very tricky with all kids and our little fraggles make it all that much harder. I can’t wait to hear more too, and what?? your not 21?

  • July 29, 2010 at 10:09 am

    What happened was that initially he would whine a little until I changed. That was fine with me really. Then he started whining A LOT starting the second the front door opened and escalating during all my other pre-changing activities (shoes off, bag away, BB on the charger, travel mug in the sink) to the point of tears. Then he started crying the second I walked through the front door.

    If he starts crying the moment I walk through the door, he is in puking mode before I’m able to even get to my bedroom. I found myself dropping everything and running for the bedroom just to avoid it and all I managed to avoid was the puking. He was still hyperaroused and sobbing even when I gave in completely and just ran. And it still took us a lot of cuddling and deep pressure to get him back to a point where he could eat dinner.

    AND he does it whenever I come in the house too…even if we’ve been out running errands together on the weekend.

    Last night when I snuck in, I was only able to sneak in because he was in the front window watching for me and crying ALREADY. Now he knows that Daddy starts cooking and then Mommy comes home so he’s starting to escalate even earlier. He was outside playing with Duhdee and let himself in the house to stand and the window to wait for me and cry. So sad!

    I have no doubt he’ll keep backing up the behavior, he did it before when he was scared of his teacher. It started with crying at the classroom door and he backed it up to crying when we saw the school, then he backed it up again to whenever we got in the truck until it got to the point that he would cry everytime we put his shoes on. He’s a very smart boy and learned the pattern very quickly. It only took a few months to break that last pattern. Ugh.

    If any of this really made him happy, I’d do it…but it’s not 🙁 He’s just getting completely overwhelmed every time I come home.

  • July 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Can’t you just wear your pajamas to work?! lol. Sorry, that’s not helpful at all. Dicipline is tricky and sometimes we accidentally reinforce “maladaptive” behavior just to stop the tears. I’ve done it myself more times than I can count. Ok, so taking what we’ve learned, can you make a picture schedule that says, “Mommy Home, then Bag (put bag away), etc until you get to Pajamas? Then, if he starts to hold it together longer, give him bribes? Er, um, I mean rewards?

    Or, perhaps you could make a social story about what happens when you get home and how Monkey will try to be happy and give kisses instead of crying? I don’t know. It’s all trial and error, isn’t it? I hope you get it worked out. That has to be supremely frustrating. I’d have a panic attack before I walked in the door if I knew I was walking into a meltdown every day. Hugs to you!

  • August 3, 2010 at 11:48 am

    We have this going on too and what I totally hate is when I realize that I need to go to the store and somehow wrangle everyone into their street clothes so we can go 2 blocks to the grocery. Its the little things that makes it interesting lol


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