Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Five Good Things

Nolan is now in his final month of kindergarten.  School was a HUGE adjustment for him and for me.  He had such a hard time with the separation that I had to find creative ways to help him.  

For example, we started doing a star chart to track how well he did with the morning drop-off.  I took him shopping to choose his chart, and he asked for gold, silver, and bronze stars as his stickers.  We had to substitute red stars for bronze.  He puts a green star on the weekdays when he doesn't have school.

Nolan was waiting for me to make his April chart but I was taking too long.  So he wrote the abbreviations for the days and filled in all the dates, even skipping the weekend dates!

We set clear guidelines for how he would earn each level of star sticker, and eventually he started getting gold stars everyday (no crying at drop-off, went right to classroom without holding onto me, no crying fits during the day).  We set goals for when he could cash in gold stars for prizes.  He has done so well by now that he gets a prize every two months. 

Nolan still doesn't like to be separated from me and the younger kids.  He does well at school, but he would just prefer to be home.  {I feel the same way.  I'd rather have him home!  See here.}

He still has a tough time on Monday mornings after being home with the family all weekend.  After Spring Break, he was especially blue about having to return to school.  So as I drove him to school on the first day back after the break, I tried to get him excited about anything that was going to happen during his day.   

I said, "When I pick you up from school today, I want you to tell me three good things that happened during your day." He barely opened his mouth enough to reluctantly agree.  

I pretty much forgot about our deal during the day.  After school I greeted him at the door so his teacher could release him to me, and then we started walking to the car as usual.  Before I could even ask him about his day, he held up one finger and started to tell me the first good thing about his day.  Then he rattled off thing #2 and thing #3.  I was so impressed that he had his three good things all ready to tell me!

So the next day we decided to repeat our "good things" game.  He had such an easy time finding three that we upped the challenge to five.  And we have been doing this everyday since.

He has a harder time thinking of five good things now than when we first started.  Sometimes he has to stretch a little.  He'll say something like, "I got glue on my hands, but I didn't freak out."  {He has hand-washing issues.}  Or he might say, "I messed up on my paper, but I didn't start over.  I just crossed it out and finished the rest of the paper."  {He, too, is a perfectionist.}

At first I thought this game had lost its effect.  But then I realized that it's actually doing exactly what it's intended to do.  Nolan is developing the ability to see the bright side of mundane tasks or even mistakes.  Sure, he doesn't bound out of school bursting with positivity.  But he can pause and reflect on his day and find things to be happy about.

I'm working on the same thing Nolan is.  I'm trying to identify all the good things amidst the sibling fights, stomach aches, and scheduling conflicts.  So here are five good things from the last 24 hours of my life:
  1. Griffin snuggled me.  {He never initiates affection.  He runs when I try to hug him.  He wipes my kisses off.  I'm starved for his affection.}
  2. Nora's hair was super duper extra Shirley Temple curly.  And she wore one of my favorite outfits ever.  That's two things, but they're both Nora.
  3. Nolan said that if I have a bad dream in the middle of the night, I can come get him from his bed.  He will come snuggle me until I feel better and then go back to his bed when I'm ready.  Priceless.
  4. I got to eat dinner with my husband at Subway with no children.  We got to talk without interruption.
  5. I got groceries at a local discount grocery store this morning, but I forgot eggs.  So I had to stop by Kroger later to get eggs, which would normally make me cranky.  However, today I encountered someone in the parking lot who needed someone to show her some love, and I got to be that person.  This alone makes my day a success.
Can you name five good things from your day?


1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post! I'm so proud of you and Nolan for finding a way to make time away successful for him. You know him so well and know exactly what he needs to feel success - awesome! I love that Griff snuggled today - that fills your love tank in so many ways, I'm sure. I too loved Nora's outfit today! I never did get a chance to ask where you got it. She was perfection right down to her little shoes. There are no words for Nolan's encouragement if ever you have a bad dream. His heart is so pure and so Christ-like. Not sure how long blogspot will allow one comment, but you've inspired me to check my memory for five good things...1.) When my alarm went off this morning, my husband told me to stay in bed. He got Jax ready and drove him to TLC, came home and got Dakota up and fed all before I rolled out at 9:00!! Yes, 9:00!! Heaven! 2.) Dakota refused to take off my Strawberry Shortcake Halloween costume from the 80's. I love little kids in costume. 3.) Jaxon did not eat all his lunch at TLC today (what's new), but came home and finished the whole thing! He usually throws away what he doesn't eat - yay for unwasted food and a full belly. 4.) Pastor's sermon tonight spoke right to me. He touched on "grumbling" and that we are not to complain. Ever. I am ready to focus on His blessings in my life when I feel that urge to grumble about exhaustion while my husband is away. Or about the one million ants making themselves at home in my house. 5.) I got to watch my favorite baseball team (the Kansas City Royals) win today!