Contrary to what political geniuses will claim, the actual opposite of “progress” is “regress.” And over the past six to eight weeks, we have seen significant regression in Kaitlyn. Regression in her behavior, her discipline, and her attitude.
While some of the observed regression may be attributed to just “being a kid,” a majority remains unexplained. It has been very frustrating for us.
That is not to say that every day has been filled with terrible behavior, but there have been enough incidents to warrant some concern. I have a feeling that we are witnessing some of the worst Asperger Syndrome can throw at us.
Recently, getting through to Kaitlyn for even the smallest of tasks has been very difficult to nearly impossible. She seems to sometimes be completely locked in her own little world, without much concern for what is going on around her. She is present with us, but still distant. Frustrating. And her regression has extended to school as well. She has averaged, over the past six weeks or so, at least one yellow fox per week, and racked up three last week alone. Each yellow fox has been for the same thing: not following instructions.
I guess we cannot complain too much, however. We had quite the run of amazing behavior, and that meant there was bound to be a time where she would take a few steps back.
From here, I don’t know what our next attempt will look like to get her back on track. What I do know is that we need to get her back on track soon.
So it wasn’t close to the streak that Cal Ripken Jr put together in playing 2,632 consecutive baseball games, but one streak did end last night. And, while it had to happen, I can’t say that anybody in our house is all that happy about it.
Kaitlyn’s streak of not missing a single Thursday of Miracle since we became involved last year is over. Sadly. The streak endured rain and sun, hot and cold, but it had to end.
As part of our efforts to keep her on-task at school, one of the things that we put into place was that our expectation is that she be a green fox every day. All she has to do is follow instructions and behave herself. Is she going to slip up sometimes? Yes she is, and we have some flexibility for that. But if nothing else, she knows the importance of being a green fox on a Thursday because anything else means missing Miracle.
So we kept her home from Miracle last night because she had been on yellow fox yesterday for disrupting the class on multiple occasions. We had just let her slide on her yellow fox from Wednesday, and she follows it up with another on Thursday. Because she knows what our expectations are, and knowing that we have to be consistent or there will be no motivation for her to ever listen, we stuck to keeping her home last night. At first, she was upset, but I think she quickly figured out that she had not made good on her end of the deal and she got over it pretty quick. I know she missed her friends and her green team buddy last night, but she is better off for it today knowing that she just has to be green next Thursday to play with them again, starting a new streak.
After the second yellow fox (Thursday), Amber and I thought we could possibly get Kaitlyn’s attention that her behavior was unacceptable by laying down an ultimatum: either green fox on Friday, or no Sprague family Christmas party. Epic fail on our part, and a quick lesson in shooting for the stars on punishment. After working hard on some desserts for the party (peanut butter balls and chocolate covered marshmallows), we knew that we had out-kicked our coverage. Neither one of us would be staying home to with our offender and miss the party. And I am glad that we didn’t, but I digress. Seeing the need for an immediate audible, Amber and I quickly came up with an alternative punishment.
In exchange for her attendance at the party, Kaitlyn had to agree to give up her after school shows, her computer time, and her iPad time for a week each. And, any yellow foxes during this coming week would add time to the punishment. She was agreeable to that, and was happy to be able to attend the party (she even found a loophole in our plan this morning when she wanted to watch her show and we balked, but she pointed out that today was not a school day. Smart kid).
This past week taught us all something, and we will learn from it and move on appropriately. Amber and I learned that we need to do better with two things: 1) finding just punishments, and 2) enforcing what we said the punishment would be. Kaitlyn learned that she needs to do better in school at following instructions and rules, demonstrating self-control, not complaining in class, and responding appropriately to directions. Kaitlyn’s compliance with these may result in more punishment from us, but we are willing to do what we have to do in order to get her back on track at school.
It was bound to happen at some point soon, a not-so-great week at school for Kaitlyn. She had strung together too many really good weeks in a row for Amber and I to not start to anticipate at least one yellow fox.
This was that week. It started off with two green foxes, and that seems to have been the peak. Wednesday brought the dreaded red fox, this time for not following directions and talking back. We were hopeful that Kaitlyn would get back to green Thursday, but she did not get there; instead she was on yellow.
Friday was her Thanksgiving program in the morning, and Amber took her to school and stayed for the program. It was a neat little performance during which Kaitlyn stood at attention the whole time, no doubt nailing every line in the song perfectly. We have the video on You Tube on our newly-created channel, Kristians0807. The performance was the peak of her day…Kaitlyn got another yellow fox.
We know that weeks like these will happen, and this week could have gone better for her. All that we can do is reinforce our standards and expectations, along with those of the school.
Who knows, maybe she was just excited about going to the FSU game tonight, and wanted to have some of her foxes somewhat resemble garnet and gold. If that is what it was, she succeeded.
I know she is excited to see Osceola and Renegade!