Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beads for Good Behavior

As many of you know, we have been struggling with Allie's bad behavior for quite some time.  Our little Allie is determined and very strong willed.  She has been like this since birth and at around 17 months old, we noticed her behavior was just getting worse.  We finally talked to the doctor about it and he witnessed some of Allie's bad behavior and agreed with us that it was more than just the "terrible twos".  Our Psychologist at CHW said Allie has post traumatic stress syndrome.  This was most likely due to all of the medical procedures that she has been put through and she just could not handle it.  I would always say, "Allie's need to be in control is out of control".  Our Psychologist recommended we start seeing a mental health therapist for Allie.  So, we added another doctor to Allie's list but the best part was, she is in Wausau so we didn't have to travel.  We started seeing our new Psychologist and she gave us some great tips to deal with Allie's behavior.  After implementing several of her techniques, we realized it just wasn't working for our family.  We had been instructed to put Allie in her room every time she doesn't listen or even when she wines.  Basically, Allie was spending all day in her room.  Not to mention, every time we put Allie in her room, she would get mad and have a tantrum, which in turn would leave to endless vomiting.  After talking to our Psychologist about this, she instructed us to continue doing it and Allie would eventually learn that inappropriate behavior is not tolerated in our house.  I think our Psychologist had some great points and techniques but they just were not fitting into our life at the time. So, I had enough and I decided to throw in the towel and find other help for Allie.

After talking to our Birth to 3 coordinator, she told me that our Occupational Therapist could work with us on Allie's behavior.  I was thrilled because Sheena and Terri already know Allie and we are very comfortable with both of them.  At each OT session, they offer us advice and different techniques we can try with Allie.  She had OT this past Tuesday and they suggested we try something new, called "Beads for Good Behavior". 

How this new behavior technique will work is the girls will get a bead (to make a bracelet or necklace) every time they do something good.  So, here are a couple examples that Allie can get beads for.  Keep an open mind - some of these things are simple tasks but most of the time Allie refuses to do them and it turns into a half hour tantrum.
 - gets dressed in the morning without refusing
 - brushes her teeth without fighting me
 - lets me comb her hair without fighting me
 - lets me change her diaper without fighting me (she's awful about this)
 - gets her shoes and jacket when I ask her to get ready to leave the house (this is another one that is continually a struggle.  I don't mean she just doesn't listen, I mean physically it's hard to get her dressed sometimes because she doesn't want to, until she is ready that is)
 - eats by mouth - this is a big one ;-)
 - accepts her tube feeding without any rejection (this is always a challenge)
 - lets us hook her up to her night time pump without fighting us
 - goes on the potty like a big girl

These are just some examples but you get the picture.  Of course, Chloe has a whole different set of "good behavior" that she can earn beads for.  Once the girls earn enough beads and their necklace or bracelet is full, they will get to wear/play with their necklace.  At that point (if we ever get there), they will be aloud to start making another one.

So far this behavior technique is going pretty well.  It's working wonderful for Chloe - however we don't have behavior problems with her.  Allie is doing pretty good also - she seems to lose interest in the bead though.  She initially gets excited and starts her "good task" but then easily forgets and refuses to continue what she is doing.  since Tuesday, she has earned about 5 beads so that's not too bad.  The other night, I asked the girls to pick up the playroom and Allie just flat out refused.  She stood there and instructed Chloe on what to pick up (sassy I know).  Chloe picked up the whole playroom so she got a bead.  Allie had a meltdown because she didn't earn a bead - I thought for sure this would teach her a lesson.  Well, that time it didn't but maybe it will next time.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you our new behavior technique.  I think it's a great idea and I bet it will work on a lot of kids.  I'll let you know how it works for little Ms. Allie.

As for her medical standpoint, things are going alright.  Her feeding are going pretty well but she still has the occasional vomiting.  I have started tracking what she is eating and tracking her vomiting because it seems as if her vomiting is a little more often than before - but I'm not really sure.  Her nights are getting worse and worse, seems she is up 6 times or more during the night.  Part of it is she is just used to us getting up every time she cries, but I cannot help it.  I'm always so nervous she's tangled in her feeding tube or something is pulling on her mic-key button.  I am just a worrier so I always have to go in and make sure things are okay.  I should know better because every time we get up, she either wants to be tucked in or she wants her slippers on.  I know I'm a sucker, but she's still my baby girl.  Anyway, not sure if her being up 6 times a night is just a phase or what but Matt is getting very tired of it.  He said we have to let her start crying herself back to sleep - not sure if I agree with that - lol.

The other night I asked you to add a little boy named Eli to your prayers.  Please continue to pray for him - he's still in the hospital with complications.  You can check out his mom's blog at:

In addition, please pray for Zach and his family.  He is also in the hospital with complications due to mitochondrial disease.  You can follow his progress at:

Thank you - these families are facing some tough times and we all know the power of prayers!

Here are a couple recent pictures of the girls:

Little Ms. Allie putting chap stick on herself

Allie with crazy hair after her nap and screaming because she isn't aloud to have a "corn"dog - poor girl

Still mad because she wants a corn dog - it was not a good afternoon

Chloe Ann always posing - wearing mom's slippers

Play dough makes everything better


  1. I had to chuckle reading the part of Allie bossing Chloe around when it was time to pick up toys. This is oh sooooooo familiar to me, same exactly thing when my two daughters were young. Too darn funny! The bead reward is a great idea Jodi, once Allie gets her first bracelet made she will be anxious to move up to maybe a necklace or angle bracelet. Good motivation! We will be watching to see the pretty colored jewerly the girls will soon be making... :)

  2. Love the bead idea and I will shamelessly copy you with some of our kids, I know our girls will love the idea, I am not sure my son would be to motivated, but I can figure something out for him ;o)

    Hope you saw my update about the J-Peg and how she is tolerating everything since the placement :o)