Monthly Archives: January 2009

Flinty Days


I’m loving this quote from PRESIDENT Obama in today’s Mobile News Network (thanks, Kristen!):

The weather gave President Barack Obama a chance to rib his new hometown on its winter weather wimpiness.

“Can I make a comment that is unrelated to the economy, very quickly?” the new president told reporters at a gathering with business leaders. “And it has to do with Washington. My children’s school was canceled today. Because of what? Some ice?”

The president said he wasn’t the only incredulous one.

“As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled,” Obama said to laughter. “In fact, my 7-year-old pointed out that you’d go outside for recess. You wouldn’t even stay indoors. So, I don’t know. We’re going to have to try to apply some flinty Chicago toughness.”

Flinty, indeed.


Communication Therapy Online News

The new Communication Therapy Blog is live today!  Come on over and take a look, add it to your Bookmarks or RSS feed, and join in the conversation!

In other news, the Communication Therapy website was just updated and got a mini-facelift, so pop on over there and take a look – my new employe, Laura Allison, is finally part of the Chicago page, with a bio and photos!

When the Cat’s Away

Splainin' me somethin'As I was spending some nice time with Lyle this evening – the child who has been upset for a week about my upcoming weekend trip – I said, “Boy, I’m really going to miss you when I go to Seattle in a couple days.  What should we do when we miss each other? Do you think you’d talk to me on the phone if I called you?”

“Weeeeellll,” he said dramatically, “we’ll be having Special Daddy Time™ so we might not be able to hear the phone ring in McDonald’s.”


I’m hosting an iPhone application giveaway over on Wondermama 2.0 – head on over and check it out!

Positive Behavior Charts

No fuss at bedtime!Listening the first time!

Whenever possible, Matt and I lean towards natural consequences for a child’s behavior.  Being kind and generous makes other people feel good about you and therefore want to spend time with you and do more special things with you.  For a somewhat extreme example on the flip side, when Lyle threw a fit in the car tonight and threw off his boots and then was extremely rude in the way he asked us to put them on – which he knows how to do – he was given the choices of: a) putting them on himself b) asking us politely for help, or c) walking to the house in just his socks (it was 10 degrees out and snowy).  Well, you can guess what he chose: by the time he got to the house he was hollering for us to get that door open because it turned out to be rather chilly on his feet.  I can guarantee that he won’t make that particular choice again.

However, when the usual strategies of natural consequences and processing things with the kids don’t work, we are firm believers in positive behavior charts around here.  We don’t do negative reinforcement – or, I should say, when things get really bad and we feel the need for things like Time Out or separation of kids from each other – we realize that it’s time for a positive reward system.

What is most important about these, I believe, is simplicity.  You want the child to feel successful, so it cannot be overly complicated or stretch out too long.  It is critical that the reward be for just one specific behavior that is achievable (think child development here, e.g., you wouldn’t want to create a chart for using the potty for a 1-year old, no matter how much you loathe those diapers).  The reward must be concrete, as well.  That’s not to say that it has to be a toy or other concrete object, but just make it as clear as possible to the child what the reward will be.

To that end, Matt and I have begun to create basic reward charts on the computer.  We grab an image from Google Images that shows the reward that’s been discussed.  This week it’s the promise of a pizza with Daddy when I’m away next weekend, and so each chance to earn it looks like a slice of pizza.  We leave these next to the boys’ seats at the breakfast table so that they can put a sticker on one spot the morning after it’s been earned (we do it the next morning because Dr. Freud Lyle’s working on going to sleep without screaming endlessly about wanting to sleep with Mommy so we can’t give it to him before bed).  We try to time them so that the kids can earn one sticker per day and end up with a reward over the weekend when we have time to provide it.

(Note: the sky’s the limit when it comes to the rewards, but I will say that most kids are happiest with a reward that involves time with you – whether it’s sharing dinner at the pizza place, reading an extra story at bedtime, extra alone time with a parent on Saturday, etc.)

I was particularly impressed with the ones Matt made tonight, pictured above.  I love how he put the target behavior in quotes, so that it gives the child a real sense of success.

If you have a child at this stage, what works for your family?

I Think They’re Having a Good Time

Pancake Machines Hit the Suburbs

This photo was taken this morning by Matt’s father; apparently, the boys are having a wonderful time with their grandparents and cousins while back at home their Dad plays on the Wii and their Mom rearranges her blogs like a total dork who has nothing else to do.

New Spin-off: Wondermama 2.0

I am in the midst of a project to separate some of the content on The Wonderwheel.  Most exciting to me is the new professional blog that I am creating right now, and that will be unveiled after my fantastic design team has worked its magic over there.

But for tonight, I will share a very small spin-off blog called Wondermama 2.0, where I will post technology-related information for the busy mom.  For now there is old content from this blog up there, just to get it started.  It won’t be as active as the other two, but I hope to post a little something now and again over there.

(And I really like the new header!)


Hope and Peace: Inauguration Day, 2009


Mama’s Little Dreamboat





Matt says his head is too big to model, but I look at these and think we’re missing out – Lyle’s face could be the ticket to all of our financial challenges!!


The temptation to vent the horrendousness of the past 5 straight hours here is overwhelming right now.  However, I have decided to forgo the emotional dump in favor of turning the hell into something positive.  Lemons into lemonade, if you will – and I know you will.  Humor me here, I think it’ll help:

– I am grateful to have two healthy children.

– I am grateful that when one of my sons needs extra help, I have access to one of the best OTs you’ll ever find, and although she is expensive I get a bit of a discount at her practice thanks to our professional connection.   It doesn’t matter what time of day the appointment is, we’re just lucky to have it and to see the improvements.

– I am grateful to have a warm house to come home to when it is very, very cold outside, and cozy blankets to wrap my sleepy kids in while I make dinner.

– I am grateful to have a refrigerator full of fresh food at my disposal when I return home, and enough knowledge to throw together something healthy for myself at 9pm rather than junk food.

– I am grateful that an ounce or two of wine is yummy enough to give me a sense of relaxation without desiring a whole glass.

– I am grateful that I can get through a stressful afternoon and evening without even thinking about chocolate, or anything sweet, for that matter.

– I am grateful for, which – when on the “Jordan” station – manages to consistently play my favorite songs of all time interspersed with songs I’ve never heard but love immediately. This always improves my mood.  Pandora is truly impressive.

– I am grateful that I have a job in these times that keeps me very busy; it doesn’t matter what time of day I have to get that work done.

– I am grateful that Matt has a job; it doesn’t matter if his meetings are here or in another state.

– I am grateful that I have a fun and successful way to work out in my own home when the weather is bad or Matt is out of town, as a replacement for an early morning trip to the gym.

– I’m lucky to have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, clothes for my family, and a car that is (somehow, and only by the grace of God) still running. I can buy food and put gas in my car without worrying about money.

In light of the above, a little hissy fit about a small series of inconveniences is beyond ludicrous.

What are you grateful for tonight?