Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bunny Punch Card

Jacob and I decided to sell the house. The plan to get out from under the oppressive mortgage and scheming for travel are a blog unto themselves (a blog that already has a name in my mind's eye - but we'll get to that later). At any rate - with the downsizing plan comes the necessary reduction in the menagerie. The first to go will be the bunnies.

I've been wanting to get rid of the bunnies for some time. They smell, aren't super fun and require twice a week litter box and newspaper changes. This is to say nothing of the grotesque task of keeping thing "hygienic" with animals that have long fur. However, despite bargaining, offers to trade and the occasional threat that he needs to help with the upkeep, Vaughn has been pretty resistant to the thought of getting rid of them even as he goes for long stretches of ignoring them. He understands now that they must go and there is no more bargaining to be had.

Still, it is very sad to have him clinging to them in a melodramatic way as if to suggest they were his only friends in this cold, cruel world. To make the transition easier, I came up with the idea of the Bunny Punch Card. I told Vaughn that the BPC would have 6 "coupons" for things he could cash in for. I suggested roller skating, a trip to the movies, $10 to spend at a store, a trip to the arcade, or extra nights in our bed (outside of the every-third-night he gets now). He thought that was a grand idea but then sat there quietly and couldn't come up with anything to actually put down on his card - which only made me sadder. Sten tried to helpfully suggest "more screen time" as a newly imposed limit on his screen time at his home had apparently made life more oppressive.

As I write this, Vaughn has cashed in two punches - both for an extra night in our bed - suggesting that we'll get through this transition with extra snuggling. As for the bunnies- they are still with us. Rabbits are a dime a dozen and my search for the right home (and not letting them loose on Sauvie Island for a half hour of freedom before the raptors get them as Michael tried to helpfully suggest) hasn't made it any easier. We had one potential home that fell through at the last minute. Vaughn joyfully reported that the bunnies weren't going to a new home just yet to Sten who astutely observed, "Well we'll just have to enjoy them while we have them."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Natural Consequences

Jacob and I haven't been very good about getting Vaughn to do his homework, which is to say we haven't been good at all. Every week the blue photocopied packets come home and collect around the house until they are eventually scooped up and recycled. There were a couple encouraging times when we were actually able to get him to sit down and hammer out a page or two or spend some time reading out loud without agonizing protest.

Unfortunately, it became really easy to justify this cycle of inactivity after a parent/teacher conference a year ago when, after confessing to his teacher that we were "really bad" about homework (as if she hadn't picked up on this) she assured us that as long as we were reading to him each day she thought we were fine. Great! We were achieving the bare minimum - we were okay with that. Sure, we routinely said that we needed to start a routine but that was about the only thing being done with any consistency.

This all changed yesterday when Vaughn sheepishly announced yesterday after dinner that he had seen the homework turn-in sheet and noticed he was the ONLY one not turning in his homework. It didn't take the teacher pointing it out or anyone saying anything - he just saw the sheet with checks next to everybody's name but his. We felt bad. We were bad parents. But something kinda cool came out of this - in a shining example of natural consequences Vaughn announced with resolve and determination that he would do his entire homework packed that night and every Monday night thereafter ("so we don't have to worry about it for the rest of the week"). Not only did he crank out the entire packet that night, he didn't even balk when it took him exactly up to bedtime with no time left to do anything else. He even got up the next morning to do all his Valentines so that he no longer needed the packet with the names and could turn in the packet.

I'd like to think that this was all some stellar parenting maneuver and not just the opposite but for now I think I'll just relax and enjoy this new found development.