No one is listening to me in this house. Matthew and Lauren don’t hear me until I start yelling. Dave can’t hear me because he’s from Mars.
In an attempt to shamelessly manipulate everyone into actually listening to what I’m saying (and it’s not blah, blah, blah people) I have decided to employ the marble jar method. I will stay calm and everyone will want to listen to me because I will have modified their behavior via positive reinforcement, thus returning our household to a lovely harmonious state.
Everyone gets a jar. Do what I ask and you get a marble. Do it without my asking and you might get two. Not listening to me or not doing what I’ve asked will result in me taking a marble out of your jar. There will be no yelling, debating, arguing, or pleading. Just marbles going in and out. I’m going to be keeping track of invisible marbles for Dave because if I actually get him a jar he might divorce me.
At the end of the week, whoever has earned their pre-determined minimum number of marbles will get to choose a corresponding reward. The more expensive the item, the more marbles that will have to be earned.
I believe in this method. And either I straighten everyone out now or juvie hall’s gonna do it for me.
Lauren’s already tried to beat the system by giving Matthew a fake hug goodbye in order to earn a marble.
Dave earned an invisible marble by loading the dishwasher on my birthday. Dave lost an invisible marble because when I opened the dishwasher to unload it all the bowls and cups were upside down and filled with water that had what looked like pulverized cocoa puffs floating in it. Seven spoons were stuck together because he had stacked them all in the same section of the silverware thingy. Everything was jammed in so the stuff he piled on the bottom rack was still dirty. I organized everything and ran the dishwasher again.
Matthew tried to boycott the whole thing by saying he didn’t care about any stupid rewards. Once he heard what some of the rewards were (like duct tape and Wii games), he went upstairs to build a treasure chest for me to put everything in. He’s catching on quick.
I am trying to be clear with my expectations for everyone. Here are some of the ways they can earn or lose a marble:
1. Saying please and thank you to anyone without being asked (earn a marble).
2. Watching YouTube videos without adult supervision (lose a marble). I know the kids were only trying to find SpongeBob SquarePants but when I came upstairs they were watching SpongeBong HempPants (the crystal meth episode). I know they’re too young to understand the content but from now on nobody’s on YouTube unless I’m in the same room with them.
3. Let Chloe out when she rings the bell (earn a marble). I can hear it when I’m clear upstairs going to the bathroom and I don’t understand why no one else can hear it when they’re downstairs in the same room as the bell.
4. Hitting, spitting, or using physical force of any kind (lose a marble). I don’t care who started it. Just because your sibling hauled off and socked you in the arm does not mean you need to retaliate with a psychotic karate chop to the head. ***And Matthew, Lauren’s kind of a spit-talker so don’t be so quick to think she’s doing it on purpose or to be mean.
5. Unpack your backpack and bring me all forms, notes, assignment books and home folders (earn a marble). If you are capable of doing this at school you are capable of doing it at home. ****Dave please try harder to give me all your ATM receipts. The one you gave me last Sunday, dated September something, does not help me keep the checkbook balanced accurately (lose a marble).
6. Leave a path of destruction with a debris zone a mile wide through whatever room I just got done cleaning (lose a marble). If you are able to drag it all out you are able to put it all away. Don’t bother telling me you all of a sudden have a headache and need Motrin.
We had a family meeting after dinner tonight because we’re still working out some of the marble jar details. Matthew is currently at a negative three marbles and Lauren has earned two. It’s too early to tell if anyone will visit the treasure chest this week.
I hope this works. I’m going to lose all MY marbles if the behavior of my children doesn’t improve. I probably wouldn’t have to spend so many of my Weight Watchers points on wine if they’d stop acting like savages. But I probably still would.