". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thinking Outside the Box

We're in tournament mode this weekend. Trevor is playing in the Chicago Open (chess), which runs from Friday through Monday. The tournament is in Wheeling, Illinois, about an hour's drive from our house, so there is no dropping him off and going back later to pick him up. Whoever is driving must wait, and this weekend I am the driver, so I go armed with books and the laptop and enjoy the quiet time, of which there is plenty. The tournament schedule has rounds on Friday at 7:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 and 7:00, and Monday at 10:00 and 4:30. These games have the potential to go 6 hours, and on Friday night Trevor's did. We weren't driving away until about 1:45 a.m. (do the math to see what time we crawled into bed). Luckily last night's round (which was won--yay, Trevor!) was over by 11:00 and we were home shortly after 12:00. Tonight my husband has given permission for us to get a hotel, seeing as how Trevor could play until 1:00 and need to back at the board Monday morning by 10:00.

Of course, my current role as chess mom means the home front is fending for itself. They do a very good job of it, too. But Evan, my 5-year-old, has been missing me. He woke up at his usual time yesterday morning--about 9:00--and Trevor and I were gone shortly after 10:00, not to return until after he had gone to sleep. After we leave today I'll probably not see him again until Tuesday morning, since we are sleeping in a hotel tonight and Evan will probably be asleep by the time we get home tomorrow night.

This is not sitting well with Evan. Last night I got a phone call. Evan and his dad were having a bit of a row and Evan was sure that if I were home I would be handling it differently. He might have been right about that--I do have a reputation for soft-heartedness in this house. But of course, I backed up Dad, to Evan's consternation.

My husband told me a few more stories this morning. Seems Evan took out his frustration about the status quo (absent Mommy, mean Daddy) by being mean to the dog. He then discovered that Dad can be rather creative with the punishments. He had to stand and recite "I will not kick Shiloh; I will be kind to Shiloh" ten times.

Our last child has proven to be a bit more of a displinary challenge than our first two. For the first time ever we have found ourselves reading books about how to make a child behave. Our favorite is 1-2-3 Magic. It is working pretty well. It's not--as the name might suggest--merely a system of giving first and second chances before applying a punishment but a thorough philosophical approach to managing a child's behavior that takes the responsibility for that behavior off of the parent and puts it on the child.

As told by my husband, last night at the dinner table Evan was misbehaving and had reached "two" when he looked at my husband and said, "Daddy, I think we need to have 1-2-3-4 Magic instead of 1-2-3 Magic."

Does this kid have a bright future or what?


Elephantschild said...



Jess said...

Ahh..1-2-3 magic. That's what my parents used on me, and I turned out pretty well...I think..
She never got past "2".

Joy said...

I think I'll look into it. My 3yo is a handful and doesn't communicate well due to Einstein Syndrome (which means she's freaky smart but a late talker). With foster kids I've used a lot from Creative Correction and The Five Love Languages for Children. But it's always good to have another tool!