Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Downside of Success

Alex has been doing really well with his toileting lately.  We're starting to have some hope that maybe by this time next year, we might be done with diapers and extra laundry.  (We'll see, I don't want to jinx it.)

There is a downside to his success, though.  Nathan is having his schedule disrupted on a regular basis to give Alex his rewards.  If Alex does a BM in the toilet, he earns ice cream and usually wants to go right away.  So Nathan comes along with us.  I usually give him an ice cream as well, but it's not the same motivator.

Yesterday, Nathan was quite upset.  He'd had a hard day at school and wanted some downtime with the XBox to unwind.  I knew he wasn't going to be able to tolerate sitting at the McDonald's (Alex's preferred way of getting ice cream) so I did a compromise: we got the ice cream but we went through the drive-thru so that we could get back home quickly.  Not quite as big a reward for Alex but not quite as big a penalty for Nathan.

Balancing out what the two of them need is a real challenge.  It's not fair to ask Nathan to constantly put himself second just because Alex is having success.  On the other hand, we really need to build on Alex's successes right now if we're to have a shot at getting him properly toilet trained.  

There's no easy answer.  I try to be sensitive to Nathan's feelings and recognize that his resentment and frustration is both real and appropriate to the situation.  (I don't want him to feel that he can't come to me with his feelings or that his feelings aren't as important as Alex's.)  I try to make sure that Nathan has special things to work toward and downtime and that he knows how important he is to us and how proud we are of him for all the hard work he does.

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