Three of Ricki's last five weeks have been spent in the hospital. And she used her situation there to her advantage. She craved attention, and she got it. Most of the time she kept me hopping with her requests (for food, drink, and entertainment), (For example, she would ask me to check every 5 minutes if "lunch was coming". If I refused, SHE went to check, which meant that she would be without oxygen.) Additional be-a-pest tactics included refusal to wear oxygen, and other acting up. I guess she learned early on that Mommy did not appreciate her prancing half-unclad in the hall, wetting her bed, or other let's-get-Mommy-riled-up activities. In the hospital, it is easier for her to get away with these type of shenanigans, because if ignored her, she would bother the nurses, or other patients.
On our return home she continued to garner attention with negative behavior. After a few days,I tried sitting down with her and explaining that she has three options:
1) To not wear her oxygen, get sicker again, and return to the hospital ("which includes blood tests", I reminded her…).
2) 2) To be a pest at home, acting out. Then mommy won't have the time to do fun activities with you, you will get punished, etc.
3) The third choice is to be a darling wonderful kid that listens to Mommy……
"So what do you prefer?"
Yeah. I KNEW it…….
Explanations that Mommy does NOT want the hospital disappointed her.
Anyway, the following day was a disaster. She tried innumerable tactics to keep me at her beck and call, and succeeded pretty well. She was pretty horrendous, and received PLENTY of negative attention. At day's end I realized that if this situation was going to improve, I would need to change the game rules. I would need to avoid giving negative attention, for even the most provocative behavior (like sitting absolutely stark naked in the living room….*), and simultaneously do two things:
1) Lay down clear obtainable consequences for any bad behavior that continued.
2) Be sure that when she WAS behaving to keep her occupied with various activities.
Ie, I simply needed to use my head, not my emotions, to persevere. Because although she weighs more than me, I am smarter (at least today I am…..).
*(I DID close the window slats so that the neighbors wouldn't be able to view her…)