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Positive Punishment? Negative Reinforcement? A Little Of Everything?

Sometimes the lines between the quadrants aren’t as clear as we would like.

My daughter hadn’t been sleeping. I need sleep, I found this to be very strong Positive Punishment. Walking through the days in a tired foggy haze made me grouchy and miserable to live with. That was not strong enough positive punishment to keep her from coming into our room every night just wanting someone to come back  to her room with her to stand there until she fell asleep, over and over again.

We tried all sorts of different techniques to get her to stop. After the first few times which were nightmare induced, it wasn’t because of fear so much as habit. She would be up and headed to our room before she was even fully awake. We tried patience, I admit I yelled a few times, my husband made her a noise machine that played audio books for her all night long. Please just lay there and listen to your book instead of coming to get us every time you wake up, we begged her.

None of it worked.

We were exhausted and our tempers were getting short.

This is where the lines start to blur.

I have been making the children come with me to feed in the mornings since they have been out of school. It’s good for them and they enjoy it once they get out there, even if they beg not to have to go every single day. It’s a fight to get them out the door.

It’s good for them, everyone needs to learn about work and responsibility. To them it is positive punishment though.

I told her that if she could make it through the night without waking us up she wouldn’t have to come with to feed.

It worked. She said the next day that she had been out of bed and almost to our door before she remembered feeding.

So she went back to bed.

What  category does this fall under?

Not positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement would be offering her a reward for doing the thing we wanted. We are, but only in the form of relief from  punishment. The one receiving the punishment, or reward, is the one who gets to decide what is punishment or reward, not the one giving it.

Had she not slept I would have been applying positive punishment by making her continue to go feed with me.

Positive punishment isn’t always a bad thing. We think of it as punishing, cruel and hurtful. By the scientific definition it is anything that stops a behavior. In real life the punishment I offered is something that is far better for her than not to be punished. So often we, our horses, everything, look at things that are good for them as a bad  thing. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’s hard to do. That doesn’t mean it’s not the best thing to do.

We would  like the lines between the quadrants to be well defined and clear. Punishment bad. Reward good.  Really though life is a constant weighing and re-balancing of the scales.

She is still sleeping through the night. She is still not going with to feed. Responsibility and the importance of work in life will have to be taught at some point, right now getting to sleep through the night weighs far more heavily on my scale.

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By The Goblin Child

Toothless, 2

With only one tooth left in front after the two of them had been fighting for the middle spot the remaining one got to take over the center. She looked like a young adorable hillbilly. She wouldn’t let me take a picture and I didn’t try very hard to get one because there was no rush. I would have time. She looked so adorable.

When I Picked her up from the bus after school the next day she showed me how she could bend her tooth clear backwards. I appear to be overcoming my revulsion for wiggly teeth. Instead of gagging I noticed that was bending CLEAR backwards and there was very little holding it in. I told her just to pull it out. She said she couldn’t.

We sat on the couch that evening watching a bit of tv. Without a word she left. Disappearing for awhile. She returned tooth in hand and an even more gap toothed grin. She had done the deed.

This time the tooth fairy was very careful to remember to visit. It was probably easier to keep her wings de-iced since she was already in the neighborhood.

Toothless, 1

Her front teeth have been lose since long before Christmas. Probably more like Thanksgiving. I begged her to get them out during the Christmas season so she could sing All I Want For Cwithmith Is My Two Fwont Tweeth. She refused. Christmas came and went and still the front teeth stayed.

The grown up teeth were working their way down quickly. The baby teeth were becoming sadly misshapen. they were both trying to share the middle spot, over lapping and starting to grow at odd angles. Still they refused to come out.

They wiggled and squiggled and didn’t seem to have anything holding them in, but still they stayed.

At school yesterday I stopped to say hi to her at lunch before picking up 8. She showed me how one tooth was sticking almost straight out forward. Then she tried to lick me. I covered her mouth with my hand. I pulled away and looked the other way. When I looked back she was staring at her hand held cupped in front of her face.

Looking closer, in the hand was a TOOTH! It had finally come out. Apparently when I “hit” her in the mouth. She was a celebrity. All the other kids wanted to see!! Her gum was bleeding slightly which added to the appeal.

I took the tooth from her and sent her on out to recess. That night she carefully tucked the tooth away in her special tooth pillow to wait for the tooth fairy.

The next morning she grabbed excitedly for the pillow…

To find the tooth still there! BAD tooth fairy!!

Her father thought quick and pointed out how cold it was. Maybe it was too cold for tooth fairies to fly? We ate breakfast and after she left the table he wrote a note from the tooth fairy explaining how her wings had froze up preventing her prompt arrival. We snuck them into her room then told her we heard a noise.

She came and looked and found that the tardy half frozen tooth fairy had finally arrived. The day was saved!

I didn’t hurry to get a picture because I thought I’d have time…

Gaming

Cade has been bugging my poor beleaguered husband about Minecraft for quite awhile now. he is nothing if not a doting uncle and loving father so he put it on one of the computers. Then a couple of kids would squeeze in front of it and play together.

So he put it on another computer too. And made it s they could play in the same world, their little square computer people. But still more children wanted to play. So he got another computer set up.

Who knew that playing computer games was such a social event?

The kids and the cousins get together and play together, both in the same room and in the same computer world. Building things in a team effort, killing each other, supporting each other. Leaving their seats to g help the other one out when something is hard to figure out. Taking breaks form the very active screen time to go outside and climb on the bales.

I can really get behind this kind of screen time.

Christmas Eve

We were going to do the family Christmas ting on Christmas eve instead of Christmas day. But we had all morning to get ready, nothing going on until noon. Or so I thought. I was still running around the house in various states of undress when the doorbell rang. The kids flung it wide and invited the slightly unexpected company in. I ran around the house picking up underwear hoping there was some way he wouldn’t notice.

It was uncle Leland. He had gotten up early and made the drive up getting here well before noon. After visiting for a bit he was ready to go ice fishing. We managed to get him to wait long enough for us to go with.

It was warm enough out that we didn’t think there was anyway there’d be enough ice to actually fish. We were wrong. The ice was many inches thick and they set to work boring holes. The ice creaked and groaned. I couldn’t handle it and stuck to the shore.

8 and I explored the shoreline. The ice had heaved and buckled all around the edges. We made our way through cat tails much taller than us and slid down the hills of ice. The The Goblin Child got tired of watching them sit staring at holes in the ice and came to join us. We explored our way clear to the play ground. Then it was time to get going.


Then it was time for the Christmas festivities. It had been declared that lunch would be at noon. No waiting until evening to eat lunch this year. I was determined to support my mother in law in her declaration so we had to be there in time. We rushed home and got our soup warmed up then hauled our presents and food up. We ate, soup, deserts, home made ice cream, then we opened presents.

Then we rushed off to the kids Christmas program. They had been practicing diligently, learning their lines and getting ready for their big night. They were doing a Christmas alphabet poem, each child had a letter and they all did a couple of songs together. They were exhausted from trying to fit everything into one day. 8 was barely hanging in there but managed to pull through. The whole service was beautiful and I always love the last song sung by candle light. They changed it up a little this year, everyone stood around the edges facing each other. It made taking pictures a little more obvious and quite awkward 😉




Christmas Practice

We’ve been making it to church regularly since Thanksgiving. Nothing like the pressure of a Christmas play to get us back in the habit. This year the kids are going to walk one at a time down the aisle and say a letter of the alphabet along with the beginning of a poem. There are an amazing amount of children in this tiny church right now. Five littles that are going to do this. Five big kids that are going to read the rest of the poem and accompanying bible verse. One to manage the littles on stage and one to send them up at the proper times. More kids than there are adults in the church!

I don’t know how it will go the day of. Practice has been interesting to say the least. The littlest kids have been there almost every week for practice. The big ones not so much. Hopefully they wont be tired after a whole day of Christmasing. We’re doing the family Christmas eve. Nothing like stacking everything in one day. The Goblin child is wonderful. She stands tall, speaks her lines loud and clear and remembers everything. 8 not so much. Oh well, if nothing else they’re cute!

First day of practice

Second day of practice

Live Nativity

It’s a tiny little church out in the middle of nowhere, miles from any town. Still the parking lot was filled and people streamed in and out all night long, come to see the nativity.

The children were restless and tired and cold, reluctant to sing and unwilling to sit. The animals much more compliant stood patiently munching on hay.

It was a beautiful night.

The Cousins Christmas Program

The library did a soup and a craft table for the Santa soup cook off. After spending the evening working on that we stayed to watch Ava’s Christmas program! We haven’t gotten to for a few years because of small children who can not sit still. This year we were determined to try, children and all.


Ridiculous.

This is getting more than a little ridiculous.

First my hard working husband came home early from work to find the problem with the waterers. They were bowing fuses, not keeping the ice thawed. He found the problem. Somewhere underground between the fuse and the tanks.

Then the light in the kitchen kept fluttering off and on while we ate supper.  It was easily fixed with a new light bulb.

Then at bedtime the light was off in the fridge. Another simple fix. Mostly. The plug in is well hidden behind the stove. I don’t know how my poor electrically inclined husband goes about it, but it’s a reach.

Even the light up Christmas tree in the Little Blue Truck book quit working. That is taking it too far.

It doesn’t seem like much now that I get it written down but it’s a Monday. Bad enough on it’s own between work, robotics, and children. Altogether it just feels like it’s pilling up. Hopefully the rest of the electricity keeps working!