Tag Archives: Wii

Operation Unplugged

A few days ago, we set up a new reward system that involved the boys earning TV/Wii time rather than having full access and losing it when they misbehaved. Basically, a full day of good behavior earns one hour of time the following day. Semi-good day = 30 minutes. Bad day? No TV/Wii the next day.

This means our TV is only on when the kids are awake for a max 3 hours/day now. Compared to the almost non-stop television/game playing we’d gotten into the habit of enjoying over the summer, this is a very drastic change. I was a little worried this would be more stressful for us than it would be for the boys!

This is only our third day, and you know what I’ve discovered?

Our boys are calmer. The stress level is MUCH lower in our house right now. They’ve been (*shock!*) using their imaginations more. They’re reading and playing with puzzles more. They’re enjoying those precious television moments more, rather than mindlessly sitting in the room with the TV going.

Today, we went to a local fair that featured various restaurants. The drive down was over 45 minutes. Usually, we’d flick on the DVD player in the van to keep the peace. I pointed out that was TV time and they’d used up most of their earned time already, so we left it off. You know what happened? They looked out the windows and asked questions about what we were driving past. Rick and I were still able to talk because the kids were calmer.

As I type this, all three just sat down together to put together a new puzzle I bought for them. (Colin could put the older ones together in under five minutes! This one’s a bit more challenging.) They’re begging me to let them play the new “popcorn game” they saw in the bag with the puzzle – I picked up both items from a local teacher supply store. The “popcorn game” is a word game – you pick a piece out of the box and it has an ending sound typed on it (ex: -ound, -ord, etc.). You then have to think up words that end with that sound.

Yes, I’m trying to trick them into learning!


Oh my word! They're working together!

Robbie just made me pinky-swear that I’d show them the popcorn game when they finished with the puzzle.

We’ve been listening to a lot more music. I have a little speaker that hooks up to my ipod, but we keep that in the car, so Rick pulled out his old iPhone and we’ve been using that to keep us entertained when the TV is off.

Things were so nice and calm today, I even let the boys help me make dinner. Homemade pizza. I make pizza every couple of weeks. Usually, I just give the boys cheese pizza. It’s easy and that’s usually what they want anyhow.

Today, I offered options and let them top their pizzas. Colin just added some cubed turkey…which he attempted to pick off later anyhow. But Robbie and Ryan surprised me. They chose spinach, tomatoes and turkey. They even wanted some of my feta! Who ARE these boys?? They were so excited for the pizzas to come out of the oven and they ate every bite.


Nom nom nom

All in all, I’m really enjoying this. I love the star system – giving them a warning before removing a star really helps them become more aware, I think. So far, Robbie and Ryan have kept their stars. Colin had one bad day and two ok days – lost one or two stars.

I really hope this holds up when Kay is here tomorrow. I told her about the plan and she is on board, so…fingers crossed!

Discipline & Seeing Stars

Monday morning, I threw my back out.  I’d pushed myself a little harder than usual the day before at the gym, which probably greased the wheels for what happened.  I was drying off after my shower, twisted to the right, and suddenly there was shooting pain.  It was all I could do to get to the bed and lie down.  Thankfully, Rick was due home soon, so I didn’t have to worry the boys or anything.

Long story short, I stayed home Mon, the 2nd half of Tues (I tried going to work and just couldn’t make it all day) and all day Wednesday.  Thanks to my chiropractor and my GP doc, I’m doing much better now.

Monday and Wednesday, I learned a few things.  Monday I was in too much pain to sleep but couldn’t get up and do anything, so I was just lying in bed…listening.  Kay was out there with the kids, Rick was asleep next to me.  And the things I heard coming from the living room shocked me.

My children were acting like little monsters!!

It was constant back talk, hissy fits, rudeness to each other and towards Kay.  I was flabbergasted. 

Around noon, I tried to get up. The naproxen was working and I thought I was superwoman.  I couldn’t even bring the pizza from the freezer in the garage back to the kitchen.  It was too much.

While I was out there for my brief stint, I apologized to Kay.  I told her I was sorry they were having such a rough day.

She raised her eyebrows at me. “Um…this is a good day.”


I told her they don’t act that bad with us and I can’t believe they’re usually WORSE with her.  How has she not quit by now?  Good grief!

I’m not sure what all went on Tuesday – I was at work when she was there.  Between the hours of about 2pm Tuesday until roughly noon on Wednesday, I slept somewhere around 18 hours.  I still can’t believe I slept that much.

Wednesday was not a great day, either, but I only caught the tail end of it.  More disrespect, back talk, etc.  More picking on each other, being mean to each other.  Just the opposite of how we’ve been raising our boys to act. 

Thursday morning, as I was getting out of the shower, I overheard one of the boys say something along the lines of, “Don’t do that! He’ll get sick!” Then I heard Colin say, “He’s going to throw up!”  (Vomit is one of Colin’s obsessions – if you so much as cough, he thinks you’re going to throw up and freaks out.)

I snuck around the corner to see what was up.  Ryan was on his way to the kitchen, but he stopped and held his cup of juice out to Chloe!  WHAT?? I lost it.

I’ve told them more times than I care to count that they are not allowed to give the dogs anything.  Main reason?  They don’t know what’s good/bad for dogs.  There are more than a few foods that are safe for humans and dangerous for dogs!  I pulled Ryan aside and asked what he was thinking.  He did his typical mumbling-with-mouth-closed thing.  I asked him if he thought he could just do anything he wanted if Mommy and Daddy weren’t looking.  That seems to be the case. 

Thursday during the day, Robbie had a horrible time with Kay.  He got in trouble and it just snowballed from there.  He refused to sit in time out, threw a pillow at Kay when she tried to discipline him.  He was sent to his room and when she came in to check on him, he chucked a shoe at her!  And every time she tried to talk things out, he made talking hand motions and made fun of her.

Something had to give.

I thought about punishments – Ryan had already lost his Wii privileges for 2 days due to a meltdown on Wed.  Robbie had lost his privileges through Sun. But this isn’t enough.  It’s not enough to just react all the time. I want to be PROactive.


We have a reward chart we were using during the school year.  We’d gotten awfully lax with it over the summer and essentially stopped using it altogether.  I decided it needed an update.

Before, they earned prizes for having “green” days at school.  Now they will be earning TV/Wii time. 

This is now a 7-day/week chart. If you have a green day, you get one hour of TV or Wii time (or some combination of the two).  A yellow day only earns you 30 minutes.  If you have a red day? No Wii or TV time the following day.

I wanted to make the rating system a little more concrete for them.  At school, they don’t always know what their color will be until the end of the day.  I wanted to give them a visual aide, so I added stars on a cork board next to the chart.

If you have all your stars by the end of the day, it was a green day!  If you lose 1-2 stars, you’ve had a yellow day.  Lose all the stars – red day.

So far, it’s been great.  Granted, I’ve only had it up for one morning so far, but it worked well for me this morning.  Colin was messing with the dogs this morning and I said, “Colin, you don’t want to lose a star, right?  Please stop messing with the dogs.”  Of course, he was back at it in 5 minutes, so I said, “Colin, this is your last warning – if you don’t stop messing with the dogs, I will take away one of your stars.”  He stopped! 

Ryan and Robbie both woke up excited about the new chart, even though they knew they weren’t getting any Wii or TV time today.  I explained that Kay can take away stars just like Mommy and Daddy can.

Fingers crossed that this works.


Oh, also?  Not sure if you noticed, but the names on the chart and stars are, “Colin, Ryan, Rob.”  My baby has decided he wants to be known as Rob, not Robbie.  *sigh*  I told him it’s his choice, but he had better be sure about it before school starts next month!  He seems to be sticking to his guns.

He’ll always be MY Robbie.  🙂

I’m holding Wii Just Dance 3 as collateral

She survived!

Our sitter – we’ll call her “Kay” – just barely survived her first day with our crazy bunch.  She got a crash-course in Colin – he was into everything the second she’d turn her back.  She also had one of our dogs slip out (Rodeo, go figure!) and instead getting Rick (she didn’t want to wake him) she chased him down with the help of a neighbor, our boys and a gaggle of teenaged boys that were on our street!  In the process, she fell and scraped herself up very badly.  Gah, I felt so awful!!  We told her if that ever happens again, just go get Rick!  Chasing down our dingbat dogs is not part of her job description!! lol

She also mopped the kitchen when the dogs got the floors muddy – how sweet!

When she came to meet us on Wednesday night, she told Colin she had Just Dance 3 (we have Just Dance 2) and promised to bring it over.  She told him he could hold onto it for the weekend and she’d get it back on Monday.

I think I was more excited than Colin – I’ve just about worn out the Just Dance 2 disc!

I told Rick that gives me hope.  She left something of hers here and plans to come back for it on Monday!  Despite all the insanity, she plans to come back.  Yay!

I also offered her a little more money, because I felt awful for her rough day and – did I mention? – I REALLY WANT HER TO COME BACK!! 🙂

Just another $10/week, but that’s still not bad.   $140/wk for an 18-20hrs/wk. Cash, even!

I’m just relieved that she did well and she’s not ready to quit on us already. Rick got some sleep, I got some peace of mind, the boys had fun.  And Kay said she got her exercise for the day!  (yes, it was running full throttle down the street with three boys in tow and getting sanded down by the sidewalk, but it’ll be okay!)

And she gets three days to recover from us before coming back.  🙂