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Bootie Camp (on discipline for babies)

November 27, 2012

For a while now, Miss P’s behavior has been deteriorating.  It’s all my fault.  I’ve been woefully lax.  She was such an easy baby…so cheerful…hardly ever needed a thing. When Miss P was 8 months old, I was at the hospital to meet Kettie’s new baby Soren.  He finished his feeding. When Kettie began to burp him, I suddenly remembered I had forgotten to burp Miss P.  Ever.  I also forgot to discipline her.  It was all part of her plan.

Things really came to a head Sunday after church when she blocked the exit with her body, jamming up traffic and screaming at multiple parishioners, “I WANT TO OPEN THE DOOOOR!”

That’s when I knew.  It’s time for a B-Day.

B-Day, or Baby Boot Camp, was first experienced by the twins at around 18 months.  Bootie Camp (as they fondly call it) is not a one time experience.  It’s something they have returned to several times over the last few years for a little tune up whenever they need one.  They received the news of today’s Bootie Camp with enthusiasm, more than willing to pitch in as experienced coaches for Miss P.  There are few things they find as cheering as watching another child being disciplined, and they strutted around all day saying things like, “I did Bootie Camp too when I was your age!”

The most difficult part of Bootie Camp for me is committing to a few days at home to ensure proper follow through for behavioral infractions.  But, as with potty training, the results are worth parking the van for a few days.

We begin Bootie Camp with extensive role playing.  Charlie always wants to play the part of “Naughty”.  Elisabeth always wants to play the part of “Nice”.  Miss P assumes her usual role as audience.  I give directions and Charlie disobeys and receives discipline.  I give directions and Elisabeth obeys and we all clap.  We also role play such troublesome moments as holding my hand on command, allowing me to buckle you into the carseat,  and going potty even if you are sure you already went on Wednesday.  We practice off and on all day.  The goal is to respond with an automatic, “OK!” instead of “Why?” or “But…” or “I don’t want to.” I intentionally give lots of directions and anything less than “OK” is met with a very small aversive stimulus (we will just leave that to the imagination).

At some point today, Miss P began to take great pride in her status as Bootie Camper.  When the twins asked, “When are we Bootie Camping Baby Annie?”  Miss P sternly reminded them, “Today is MY Bootie Camp!”

All four children celebrated Miss P’s progress with an after dinner trip to the gas station to buy their own little box of Tic-Tacs.

Tomorrow, Bootie Camp continues, with an advanced course on closing your lips on command.  If all goes well, there may be gum at the end.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Allison Milam Cheka permalink
    November 27, 2012 2:14 am

    Oh Lucy…you are so clever!!! Love reading your posts! So, our daughter has just come off steroids for respiratory ordeal and I have lost all control. Now that enough time has elapsed for her to be completely steroid free I must get back to keeping her in line:) It was impossible while on steroids as she became completely irrational…crying for no reason, absolutely mean another moment and then crazy hyper the next…and to top it off she would hardly sleep. So, just curious…what do you do when your precious little ones fail to respond appropriately? Just looking for other alternatives! Love this idea though!!! Thanks for sharing, Allison Milam Cheka

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Grammie permalink
    November 27, 2012 2:46 am

    Lucy, you are always showing us another side of your brilliant creativity in bringing the little peppers up right. I marvel.

  3. Beth Saav permalink
    November 27, 2012 5:58 pm

    This is so great! My imagination is lacking when it comes to small averse stimuli and I would be happy to hear ideas to add to my arsenal. We may need to do some Booty Camping with my youngest shortly. I kept saying to myself that she’s just extra sassy because she’s got three big brothers to deal with, but I’m starting to rethink whether original sin might play into it as well….

  4. Angelina Joy Frohlich permalink
    June 14, 2013 7:55 am

    Oh Lucy, how much I can learn from you!

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