07 September, 2006

Tickets, Please

Last time I checked, I wasn’t invisible. I mean, I like to think that sometimes I have superhuman type powers, as probably every mom does, but being invisible just isn’t one of the powers I thought I possessed. So when no one in my house listens to a word I say, you can imagine how confused I become. Do they see me? Do they hear me? Are they just choosing to ignore me? And this goes for every single person in my house, from preppy puppy, both mini monograms, and on up to Mr. Monogram himself lately. For example:

Me: Boys, if you want to go see the bunny rabbit before meeting daddy for dinner lets go hop in the car and leave early (my monogrammer has a big fat bunny rabbit that they love to play with when I go over there)

Mini’s: silence

Me: Boys? BOOOYYYSSS? BOOOOYYYYYYSSSS?!

Mini monogram #1: hey mini, you want to share trains?

Me: FIRST MIDDLE LAST NAME OF EACH MINI MONOGRAM, If you would like to see the bunny, please get your flip flops on, get your sippy cups, and lets get in mommy’s car. It is very rude to be late so I do not want to keep Daddy waiting.

Mini’s: silence

15 min later as I’m flipping through the latest Mini Boden catalog…

Mini Monogram #1: Hey mommy, I thought we were going to see the bunny rabbit? We’ve been waiting on you.

EXCUSE ME? YOU are waiting for ME? I have been trying to get your attention for 15 minutes and you’ve been ignoring me, pushing your trains around the train table making choo-choo noises. Was I tuned to the wrong station and you just couldn’t hear me perhaps? Or maybe I had pressed the mute button on my voice remote before I started speaking so you could see my lips moving but couldn’t actually hear me? At any rate, it is time to re-adress the ticket system and the rules of said system. It seems that after they received their last reward for collecting enough tickets, that they lost interest in the system. Or maybe it was I who lost interest in the system. At any rate, all I know is we’re bringing the ticket system back into the spotlight. So sit tight because I promise it's a very "good thing."

Anyone can tell you out there that once your kids hit the old-enough-to bargain- and understand-you age, somewhere around 2 ½, that that’s when the real “fun” begins trying to figure out your children’s hot buttons and what’s going to turn them on and light a fire under their rear end to get them to learn to be responsible and courteous little people. And I will tell you that in my house, we have a zero tolerance policy for rudeness. “Please” and “thank you” were among the first words my children ever uttered, so now at the tender ages of 4 and 2 ½, their manners are like second nature to them. *little pat on my back* However, please don’t get me wrong as we do have our other “issues” shall we say and these issues are (in no particular order) 1-eating vegetables, 2-eating fruit other than raisins or applesauce (I have no idea why, but once my children went from baby food to solids, they decided they would never eat another fruit or veggie again, despite all my pleading), 3-being a good listener (seriously? What is it with the entire male species not listening?), and 4-being nice to your brother (this is a big one with two little guys a mere 1 ½ years apart, which I REALLY don’t recommend BTW. It has really forced me to kick-up my antidepressant meds a bit). So one day I had one of my so-called “brilliant” ideas and decided to impliment a ticket system. So I hopped on to the ever popular Oriental Trading Company site, and proceeded to order 3 of the largest, fattest rolls of carnival tickets I could find, & then about a thousand dollars worth of stickers (okay, so I’m exaggerating, but seriously, it was a lot of stickers). So while I was waiting for the UPS man to deliver my package, I trotted on over to JoAnn’s and for I think about a dollar each, I bought two small vases in the floral section, and then I came home and worked up the best part of the ticket system. THE CHART. Now, you all know monogram momma likes to be very organized and is also quite the little list maker, so I sat down at the computer and made a chart, in a way that a 4 yr old and 2 ½ yr old could “read” and understand, without ever actually being able to read. So here is said chart.

You may or may not be able to tell that I was so serious about this ticket system and chart, that I took it to Kinko’s and had it laminated. Yep, nice and shiny, waterproof, tear proof, and spill proof laminate! Now, once my goodies from Oriental Trading Company arrived a few days later, they boys sat down and got to decorate their own jars however they wanted for our craft time. I put their names on them, but the rest was up to them. So for my boys, their ears perk up like little Labradors whenever I mention the word “train.” I swear, the mini’s will do back flips for a train, and it makes no sense to me since we own LITERALLY just about every single wooden and die cast Thomas train and accessory that Learning Curve even makes. NO JOKE. So that is why, on the bottom of my chart, you can see that 25 tickets = 1 Target (bulls eye picture, genius!) Train (picture of a train). And every time we are eating dinner and I am gently trying to encourage them to just TRY a bite of fruit or vegetable, all I have to do is break out my handy dandy laminated chart, and swish around the tickets in their pretty little jars, and they are like putty in my hands, because they want that train so bad! I will say, however, the category I have noticed the most improvement on with this system, is the “being nice to my brother” category. Again, I just casually hold up the chart, and suddenly no-one is fighting over the 5 Percy trains (because then one person gets 3 and the other only has 2). In fact, they are all but falling over each other to share the Percy trains.

So I know what you’re thinking and that is, that not all of you have small children, or children at all. But you know what? As I'm sitting here thinking about my never ending "to Do" list and things that need to be done around the house, I am thinking I just might implement a ticket system for Mr. Monogram too. And that is certainly another option for you with your own husbands and their yet to be finished “honey-do” lists, no? So go on, head to Kinko's and laminate your own ticket system charts, and be creative with your own reward and I all buy guarantee you'll start noticing a lot more things being marked off that list!

16 Comments:

Casey said...

Welcome to my life! I need to give this a try. I'm already into Oriental Trading for a hefty sum {oh the joys of being the preschool party mom} so what's a bit more?

(And my four-year-old son is the same way with Thomas. He has just about all of the wooden pieces, and a good bit of the take-a-long, and has now decided he needs to go back to the plastic blue track. There ought to be a program for Thomas addiction.)

Alyson said...

This is a great idea! I wonder if it will work with POTTY TRAINING! I am gonna give it a try.

Tod said...

You know it's bad when they don't listen to mom! As a dad I'm kind of used to being ignored; but the same thing seems to be happening here too. my wife is spending more time "talking to herself"...so good ideas on the charts.

northshorechicago said...

Sigh. I'm old fashioned. I don't bargain with my little ones OR have a rewards system. They just know they don't have a choice when it comes to veggies, cleaning, etc. but they do have a choice when it comes to how they spend their free time--which they have more of when they do what is expected of them.

SLC said...

Love the chart idea!
I usually end up saying "helllooooooo" a lot because my 2 year old son & 4 year old daughter don't like to respond very often when I'm addressing them. Also, the only vegetable they will allow on their plate is corn. I may have to come up with something for our family.

Sarah said...

We have a new rule in our house- you must try a new fruit or vegetable three times before you judge! So with carrots I did, (on three different nights with dinner)carrots with ranch dipping sauce, steamed carrots with broccoli, and carrots baked with a tiny bit of brown sugar! They then have to pick one that they will eat and usually they each like to pick their own and so we now have two different carrot dishes they will eat

suburban prep said...

Unfortunately I don't have children but I live within a few miles of two sisters with kids under the age of 3 1/2. I have been around these kids enough. I love them to pieces but there are times I do bargin because they know I mean it and because they feel then they will be rewarded. My sister's 3 1/2 yr old will becoming with my husband and I to a local fest if she is on good behavior. (She knows her mother will be the final judge).

j said...

Have you tried making fruit smoothies for them? The kids I used to nanny for weren't big fruit eaters but loved smoothies made with frozen berries, bananas, and non-fat yogurt. Cleaning the blender was a pain but it was the easiest way to get fruit in them!

Ksk said...

I love this idea. Very cute! I have always prefered to allow some negotiation between my kids and myself so that they have negotiation as a life skill. Of course, not everything is negotiable, but I appreciate that they can use reason in negotiation (v. emotion).

Meg said...

You are one smart cookie!

(To Alyson) I've actually done this for potty training and it worked...but I never thought about the veggie thing! Or any other thing, for that matter.

Kudos to you!

Niki & Josh said...

I love this idea... even though I'm still in the gestation phase, I'm already plotting as to how we keep this little hunny in line! I will definitely be remembering this one! Super cute!

Lisa said...

Genius! I am mom to an 11-year-old and I do think that the ticket system will work at that age, but I bet the prizes get more expensive!

As for my husband, there is no hope, and no ticket system in the world that could possibly get him to behave lol!

One last thought... How about a ticket system for moms? Think of what, cooking, cleaning, doing homework, housework, yardwork, attending sporting events, working and doing the million other things we do could be worth!

Monogram Momma said...

I don't think there is a reward system big enough to compensate ANY mom!

I have tried EVERYTHING regarding the vegetables. I've bought every dipping sauce and salad dressing known to man but alas, it's a no go for my boys. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Tell me where you got the pictures to put into the chart - its perfect.

Monogram Momma said...

The pictures are just from Microsoft Clip Art. I think I went to "clips online" through Word and put in what I was looking for.

lgd said...

omg! this is genious, PURE genious. i'm thinking we need a bullseye chart with a little disney princess collage at the bottom! :)