Short People Problems
So this morning we had a near tragic event. Green Dinosaur went missing for a full 10 minutes. Thankfully, he was found unharmed and was able to return to his regular activities, which include looking fierce, staging road trips, and being under my feet at every inopportune moment, without delay. It was a tense 10 minutes, but we're all much happier now that the molded plastic has been located. Well my feet might not be so happy about it but they'll get over it. Or maybe I'll just wear shoes around the house.
Green Dinosaur came to our house in the same manner Brown Dinosaur arrived on the scene; via the Treasure Chest at school. Sweet Girl and her classmates are awarded a trip to the Treasure Chest for good behavior throughout the day. For several months I'm fairly certain that Sweet Girl just assumed Treasure Chest happened because it was the end of the day and not as a reward. That is until the day that she did NOT get to seek priceless booty from the Treasure Chest. That day, when I picked her up from school, she was crying and remained as such until dinner time approximately 3 hours later. Her teacher explained to me that Sweet Girl had opted not to nap that day (which is the norm) and during that time she opted not to listen to the directives she was given. Therefore, no Treasure Chest. Sweet Girl managed to choke out "No treasure, Mommy!" as I loaded her into the car, and thus began our first real lesson in consequences. Sure she had suffered consequences for errant behaviors before, but this was the first time it seemed to sink in that what she had done affected what she may or may not be able to do/get. It sounds horrible, but that negative experience (for her and all in earshot for 3 hours) made more of an impact than four years of positive experiences. We had a discussion about what had happened, how she should apologize, and how lucky she was that the next day she would get a chance to earn Treasure Chest anew. Maybe not a discussion so much as me talking a lot, but if I only talked about these kinds of things with her when she responds then I would not have talked to her for the first four years of her life.
From that point, Treasure Chest items (which as you probably surmised are small, plastic toys of varying models and functions - and that's as they should be, I'm not judging here) were savored on every car ride home. Sweet Girl had a better understanding of the reward system and, more importantly, the social implications her behaviors have. That's why I was shocked when I learned she had refused Treasure Chest one day. Apparently during lunch, the routine had been changed. Changing routines is not welcome. And to make sure those around her knew it, Sweet Girl proceeded to get upset. It wasn't the meltdown of the century and didn't last overly long, but when I picked her up she was still put out over the whole ordeal. On the way home she told me: "I cried and so I sit in my angry chair til I calm down. And then I say 'NO Treasure Chest!'" While I attempted not to giggle at the story and not to make a big deal out of all the words she had just used and the fact that she had just told me a story, I marveled that this was what she had chosen to draw her line in the sand over. It was only a couple of months ago that she had cried for 3 hours over a lost opportunity and now she was so adamant about something that she was giving the opportunity up to make her opinion known. Not only did she have the executive function to have a line in the sand, she had the presence of mind to use it. That's a giant step, even if it 's over something little.
In the last few days of the school year, she came home with a brown triceratops and then a green tyrannosaurus. Those are my best guesses anyway, the manufacturers only give you so many clues on dinosaurs two inches tall. I figured they would quickly find their way into the flotsam and jetsam around the train table, but to my surprise she wanted to sleep with them. She took them upstairs, outside, in the car, in the bath, and then into her speech appointment so she could show them off. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday cupcakes and she said: "Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs!" Er, right. So the dinos have been used and abused daily since they've arrived.
Lately they've added a purple wooly mammoth to their mix (he came from her awesome OT and he fits right in), and like to hang out with the Wonder Pets. The Wonder Pets happen to use Santa's sleigh from a Fisher-Price set and the pink and purple RV as ways to stage their adventures, so there's plenty of room for three small pre-historic creatures. This morning I was cleaning, Sweet Girl was playing, and Little Man was making Oreo regret his decision to live with us, when Sweet Girl sounded the alarm. "I can't find Green Dinosaur! Where could he be?!" I did a cursory look around the RV where the other usual suspects were hanging out. He wasn't there. I checked the always-chaotic train table. Nothing green or extinct over there either. That's when Sweet Girl offered the following: "I put Green Dinosaur in the white tunnel and now I can't reach him." I don't know about you, but the first place I thought to look would have had slightly disastrous consequences. As I rushed to the toilet (it's white, has a "tunnel", and makes things go out of reach), I calmed myself that I didn't hear any running water. That's good. The part where the toilet seemed to be lacking any kind of natural history knock-off was bad. We continued our search for another frantic eight minutes. At the end of which I apologized to Sweet Girl and said that we'd look more later, but I just couldn't find him. She was insistent that he was out of reach while she hovered near the refrigerator where I had been cleaning when the missing persons report had come in. She seemed to be searching for some words, couldn't quite put them together, and so she started gesturing toward the roll of paper towels I had moved from the kitchen table to the top of the refrigerator in order to clean the disgustingness that is the top of the fridge (how does it get so gross?). That's when I saw this:
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