So sorry I didn’t do the “I’m Blessed” post yesterday. In all honesty, I completely forgot until this morning. Yesterday I took the kids to the library, and when we got home, Solveig was feeling a bit warm. A few hours later, her temperature was rising very fast. Knut came home for lunch, and we decided that we should take her into her regular doctor instead of the walk-in clinic like we did a week ago.
We stayed awhile at the clinic, because our pediatrician wanted to do not only a strep culture, but a urine test to check for UTIs, which both she and I were leaning towards as the cause. (Well, we both thought it was either that or teething with a super high temperature, and we both wanted to rule out UTI.) Getting a urine sample from a baby is not a simple thing, and I’m grateful that our ped was patient enough to see if we could get it without giving her a catheter. It took over an hour, and Solveig was uneasy, but we were able to rule that out. In fact, all tests came back negative. She still is acting herself, though tired. She still smiles and jabbers and plays. She was eating and drinking like she didn’t have a fever of 102-103+. No runny nose, no ear infection. Just really hot! I don’t think I would have brought her in if she didn’t have a 5 day fever that ended at the beginning of last week that also had no cause.
I got really uneasy at night because I gave her ibuprofen as directed around 6pm, when her temperature was 102. When I put all the kids to bed at 8pm, when the fever reducer had been in her system for 2 hours, her temperature had risen to 103.5. I wasn’t sure what to do at that point. I had been rotating ibuprofen and Tylenol, so I gave her the next dose of Tylenol, said a prayer for her and put her down to sleep. She was so tired.
Since her fever had risen with the medication, I was wondering if I should take her into the emergency room. None of my kids have ever been that hot while medicated. I decided to wait an hour and see how she progressed, checking her temp every hour. Fortunately, after an hour, she had dropped to 102. Another hour dropped another degree. At midnight, she woke up by herself all sweaty and cool. She had no fever at that point, and she didn’t need any more medicine through the night. She did wake up every hour wanting to be held, though. It was an exhausting night.
It didn’t help that Knut left for work just before 6:30 this morning. He gets to drive a tractor over 100 miles away to pick something up, then drive back. It will take him pretty much all day. So if you see a tractor going 20 miles an hour on the road today, wave to my husband, and be safe.
Anyway, now that we’re all caught up, let me tell you about these puffy balls. It’s our new “system” that we’re trying out in our house.
I found this idea on Pinterest, and adapted it quite a bit. I’ve been having trouble this summer, and during the school year for that matter, with keeping the kids productive. You see, I’m not sure if it’s all homeschool kids or not, but my kids often finish their work by lunch. That means they have all afternoon of free time, and all they want to do is: watch tv, play on the computer, and play our little Pac man cheap video game. I like that they have free time, but I hate that the only way I can keep them quiet so the toddler and preschooler can nap is to just let them watch t.v. all afternoon.
I just don’t like it, but I also don’t want to spend all afternoon giving them chores. They do a pretty fair share load of chores already, and I don’t think it’s fair for them to spend many hours a day doing chores. I’d much rather see them explore outside, read books for fun, build forts, and do other fun kid stuff. However, all afternoon is one long whine for the television or other screens.
After lots of threatening, and taking the t.v. away, and headaches, and disciplining, I’ve sought out a way to get the kids excited about doing “good things” during their free time. They obviously need some more guidance in this area. I want them exploring, learning, or serving others during their free time. So here’s what we’re starting this week.
Just like always, they start their day off with their lists. This has worked REALLY well for us during the school year, as it’s not complicated and all expectations of the day are laid out on the table. The only hard part is that I have to make sure their lists are done the night before without fail. If I put the list together after breakfast on the same day, the kids are already distracted and wandering around, and the whole day is a challenge to keep them focused.
The kids each have a composition notebook (that we still haven’t gotten around to decorating) that I write their daily lists in. On the top of one page, I write the date, and then a list of things I want that child to do that day. This includes both school assignments as well as chores. I write out each worksheet that they need to complete, piano practice time, taking a shower, cleaning their room, doing the dishes, chapters of books that need to be completed, dogs that need to be walked, etc. These assignments/chores aren’t rewarded. It’s just what needs to get done because I said so. Some of them are fun like “pick one craft from our crafting book and complete”, and as much as I can, I let the kids pick which order they get their work done.
However, when they get their list completed, the rest of the day is theirs. That’s where I’ve had problems. I don’t want to give them 12 hours of school/chores. I want them to run around and play without begging for a screen. Now during this time, they can do what they want as far as playing. However, they have the option to earn some puffy balls. It’s completely optional, but my kids are already so consumed with it. We’ll see how long it lasts.
Here are some things that get them puffy balls:
1 puffy ball for reading 30 minutes of reading for fun.
1 puffy ball for playing outside for 30 minutes.
2 puffy balls for folding a load of laundry and putting it away.
2 puffy balls for picking up the toys in the basement
2 puffy balls for cleaning out the messy van.
1 puffy ball for saying a school memory card on a non-test day. (Test day is Friday. If they can say their memory work science card on Monday, they get a ball. Tuesday gets a ball for the same memory work, etc. They really strive for this, as we have 6 cards of memory work a week, they can earn up to 6 balls a day for getting memorizing their cards early.)
1 puffy ball for emptying 3 full trash cans in the house and putting in clean liners.
2 puffy balls for writing and editing a letter to someone they love.
2 puffy balls for picking weeds for 30 minutes
There’s a few more, and we’re still modifying it. Here’s what they can buy with their puffy balls:
15 balls = 30 minutes of t.v.
15 balls = 30 minutes of computer time.
15 balls = 30 minutes of video games.
(marked) = extra treats (I have a basket for school of fun pencils, sparkly notebooks, stickers, etc. They can pick a treat marked with a price)
100 balls = date with Mommy or Daddy
The first day it was tough for them to learn that they only had time to earn 7-8 balls. They were a bit upset they didn’t even get any t.v. that day. However, family movie nights don’t cost any balls. Those are just family dates. There are other rules, that we’re figuring out as we go. I’m hoping by this fall we’ll have a good system worked out. For instance, we have a rule that puffs are for good attitudes only. That rule was written out from the beginning. If they start whining and complaining, it’s no longer serving the family and the job stays, but the puffs go. This happened when David started cleaning out the van. When he realized that the job took longer than 5 minutes, he stomped his foot and said he didn’t want to do it anymore. I gave him one big encouragement that I thought he’d do a great job, and reminded him he had to have a good attitude. When his attitude got worse, and he was dragging his feet and saying how terrible of a job it was, I made him finish the job, but gave him no puffy balls for reward. He used up his reward by whining and complaining. He was not happy, but obediently finished. He finished with such a good attitude that I gave him 1 ball back.
Silje has decided to give up t.v. entirely and just save up for a date with her Daddy. David wants it all. He wants a date, (and picked me to go with him!) but he hates staring at 15 balls, and knowing his favorite show is on and he could watch it if he spent all he had. It’s a good debate I see going on inside of him. They are learning, and using their time a bit wiser, and that’s just on day 2. I’m interested to see how day 20 will be. So far it’s just for the older 2 kids, as I don’t think Elias and Solveig could grasp it, and neither one of them have trouble just sitting and enjoying the day and people around them.