Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tootle the Grouch

Ever since Tootle had a bad sinus infection in January, she has been responding to questions and making her demands in a grouchy, nasty voice about 60 percent of the time. The infection is gone, but the attitude has remained. She only uses the nasty, grouchy voice at home, but on Friday she used it on a friend who was over for a playdate and I had finally had enough of it (it went on way longer than it should have because I was sick too and then away on a business trip for a few days).

Once I had made up my mind to eradicate the behavoir, I promptly employed the approach that I successfully used with both girls to end the constant whining that comes at age 3-4: pretending that I can't hear until the request is said in a normal voice (I wish I really couldn't hear; it's like nails on a chalkboard). When I explained that I couldn't hear her when she used that voice, she covered her ears and only made her request in a louder, meaner voice. Not a good start, but I knew that I had to hold firm and not give in. Tootle went to sleep that night in tears because she fooled around at bedtime and I told her there wasn't enough time for books. Her request for just one book was said in the nasty voice so I wasn't able to read to her. She didn't want to listen when I told her that I would be able to hear her and read to her if the request was made in a normal voice. I modeled the voice; I told her how sad it made me not to be able to read to her, all to no avail.

Yesterday morning started off badly again, until I told her that she could wear shoes that I don't normally let her wear to school later in the week if she used a nice voice for the rest of the day. It worked for the rest of the morning. At recess, she apologized to the friend who she went off on, and in the evening, the grouchy voice made no appearances. At bedtime she learned that she had earned her reward. This morning the nasty voice stayed under lock and key. Perhaps we've turned the corner and Tootle the Terrible is no more. If not, I'll have to dream up another motivating nonmonetary reward, while perfecting my hearing loss.


Beverly said...

Oh what a good system. I will have to employ that more at bedtime.


Malabei said...
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