Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thank goodness for baby sisters....

Megan is amazing. At 24 she has more skill, intuition, and patience with Forrest than I think I will ever have as his Mom! We are so lucky to have her helping us with these crazy toddler years.
Mr. F, as many of you gather, is quite the challenging kid. His activity and energy levels are SO high and very overwhelming, which by itself isn't abnormal for a 3 year old. However, his aggression, continued lack of verbal language, and the bad juju that go along with all of this can be downright maddening at times. We're chasing it on all fronts, hearing check, speech therapy, gluten/wheat free diet trial, and enter Aunt Megan, the super duper Forrest Whisperer :-)
Using behavioral modification, ( that she otherwise uses on a daily basis as a behavioral analyst in Santa Barbara,) she has given Forrest his best day at daycare ever. I think I actually teared up when I heard he had gone the entire day without getting in timeout. This truly, has never happened, minus one day he was sick and feeling crummy.
We have started using timers for Forrest for everything, a picture board plan of his evening, (often his more challenging times), and the now beloved pirate chart.
 
This chart is Forrest's reward system. He moves one step closer to the pirate boat with his little pirate each 5 minute block, (or 10, or 15) he can play well with himself or his brother, or just when he completes a non-preferred task, (getting dressed, diaper changes, etc). He LOVES the timer...we're currently using our iphone/ipod barking dog timer which is great for him, but planning on buying him his own kiddie timer. A reward is earned when he makes it to the top, with the trick being for him to keep making it to the top often enough to keep him motivated, but not so often that it's too easy.
So far, our 'treats" (99 cent race cars, popcorn and a movie of his choice, and currently he is working towards a glow in the dark moon for his room :-) keep him plenty motivated on most days.
We're still having bad days, but not like they had been. This is SO nice, I can't even communicate how wonderful it is to actually see a change for the better in our little cute but very frustrating 3 year old.
So thank you sister, for what you have initiated in our home, (sorry those sea monkeys didn't make it!!!), but mainly for the awesome connection you and Forrest have, (despite him calling you Aunt Nat most times....:-)
He loves his Aunt Megan and asks to talk to you most days since you left. You have a gift and thank you so much for sharing....

4 comments:

Alison Willis said...

I teared up for you. What a wonderful success story. I am so happy that your sister has such great experience and that she has brought so many ideas to you.
Every kiddo is so unique. I have found that when I work I have to take care of each patient so differently. Some are fearless, some full of anxiety, some need to count, other need to be distracted...

Amazing- sounds like Megan has a gift. What a wonderful and fulfilling relationship for both Forrest and his Auntie.
Kudos to your family for trying new things and I can't wait to heat about more successes:)

Sheelagh said...

Aunties are the best! Really and truly, they get the opportunity to have such a wonderful relationship with our children. Though it sounds like your sister is one amazing person in and of herself! What a great skill to have...I am in awe and would like to have one iota of her insight!
I am also just about in tears. I LOVE to hear how well Forest is doing with this new plan, but am so moved by this relationship he has with his Aunt Megan!
Best of luck with the new plan.

Fultmeyer Clan said...

Thanks S and A. This parenting thing is tough stuff! And Alison it is those circumstances, those little ones with actual real, bad, physical issues that bring me back to earth and say, "it really isn't all that bad..."
But, behavioral issues are still so tough, as I am learning. Trying to determine if there is a physical issue causing it is also frustrating. Nothing is really clear cut. Wondering how you are going to raise your child to function in the real world eventually is tough stuff as well, and heart wrenching. So yes, it is SO nice to see some change in this household. Its been quite awhile...

Megan Stollmeyer said...

I love you sister! And are you kidding?? All those awesome blogging Moms out there are seriously envious as you appear to carry the world on your shoulders. Thank YOU for giving me a cute, charming, intelligent, energetic, motivated, POLITE, yet slightllyyy challenging (just to make it interesting), nephew duo! I wouldn't have it any other way. I may have supplied the laminated paper, but you guys are the ones carrying it on and seemingly doing awesome. Forrest is a special special little boy, there is not a doubt in my mind that he won't continue to be the impressive little guy that he currently is (let's face it, he turns heads!)