As much as I absolutely love and adore my little Ruby girl, there are definitely things about her that I could live without - and that's putting it nicely. Something that I have very little tolerance for, is her seeming inability to obey. I feel like I have to ask her repeatedly to do the simplest of things, or to stop doing the most obnoxious things; but no matter how or how many times I have to ask...my requests seem to go in one ear and out the other - or maybe not even in either ear at all. I have tried to threaten her, (and believe me, I do not offer up empty threats...we have left many a playgroup, birthday party, and family-get-together early because of her lack of obedience), I have tried to bribe her, I have asked her in my kindest voice, and sadly (at times)have even resorted to raising my voice...but still she continues to do what she wants, how she wants, and for long as she wants - paying no regard to that fact that I am her mother, and therefore should always do whatever I say...haha (laughing to myself) who am I kidding?
I was starting to feel at a complete loss, until my sister-in-law, Amy, shared the simplest (but very effective) little incentive program with me. After hearing how much her boys have loved it, I decided to give it a try. I told Ruby all about the plan, and together we went to the store to pick out some colored pom poms (which she calls "puff balls"), along with a couple of different size jars. We got home and transfered all the puff balls from the packaging into the largest of the jars, and then decorated the two smaller jars - one for her, and one for Asher. I carefully explained the rules to her, which were very simple..."Every time that you are obedient and do what mommy asks, the first time I ask, you can earn a puff ball for your jar. As soon as you jar is full to the top, we can go to the store and pick out a really neat present. However, If I have to ask you more than once, or if you whine and complain about doing what I have asked, then you will not earn a puff ball." She was thrilled about our new little program, as was I, and neither of us could wait to get started. It took a few days for her to really catch on (didn't realize there would be a learning curve attached to our new incentive program), but after about a week of working together, I am happy to say that it is really working. I can get her to do things that I never thought possible, and for once, she jumps up almost immediately at the onset of my bidding...exclaiming "yay, I get a puff ball" as she rushes off to complete the task. I usually just laugh...so maybe she complies for the wrong reason, but I'm hoping it's at least getting her into the habit of obeying what I say, and understanding the importance of listing and following through. If I have to get her a present here and there along the way (while she's young and still understanding the importance of these basic principles), I have no problem doing so.
Yesterday she removed her belt at her aunt Lori's house and we couldn't find it anywhere. She was having a hard time exercising her newly acquired obedience skills, so out of desperation, I said "Ruby, listen, if you help mom look for your belt, and we actually find it, I will give you THREE puff balls!" The two of us were alone upstairs searching fruitlessly, when I suggested that we offer up a prayer to Heavenly Father, asking that He help us find it, or to at least help her remember where she was when she took it off. (Prayer is another principle that we have been working on with her. I was trying to help her understand that nothing is too small or trivial for the Lord...and that if we exert our faith, and if it's in accordance with His will, He will grant unto us that which we desire.) I asked Ruby if she would exhibit her faith and offer the prayer. Together we kneeled and she humbly began "Dear Heavenly Father, please bless Heavenly father to find my belt so that I can win THREE puff balls, and fill up my jar, and get a really neat present from all the sacks in the top of mommy's closet..."
I'm telling you, there's never a dull moment with regard to Ruby and her puff balls.