Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's in it for Me?

This is Corwyn’s underlying motivational drive. It’s not the same as Nathan’s. It’s not better or worse, just different. The light went on for me about this during potty training and so much more made sense.

While in the normal range, Corwyn typically reached milestones towards the end of the scale of normal. Did I worry? Hell yes! I’m a mother, I have to worry. I will never stop worrying. But usually, after I’ve spend countless hours talking with other moms, staying up late reading every resource on the subject, he’ll do something the day before I plan to call the doctor to ask for an assessment. Seriously. Luckily it’s before I’ve made a fool of myself looking like a paranoid parent. For that I’m grateful.

Corwyn didn’t crawl until around 10 or 11 months. He wasn’t sedentary, but he didn’t crawl (kid would spend forever in an exersaucer bouncing up and down too). I know now that it wasn’t because he couldn’t but that he didn’t really see a need for it. He could get where he wanted to go with the roll and spin method (eventually and with a few detours). He got his needs met and why bother crawling. But when he started missing out on things he wanted because his brother was getting there faster crawling, suddenly he crawled, all the time, everywhere.

Fast forward a few months to walking. If you read Nathan’s post on motivation you’ll know that he tried and tried and tried until he did it. Not Corwyn. He loved to pull himself up (it got him access to new places and new messes to get into). He enjoyed holding your hands while you held him up for steps, but he made no effort to try walking on his own or even did much cruising along furniture. Then Nathan walked, which in of itself not motivating but suddenly again, Nathan could get somewhere faster and easier than he could. And Corwyn took his first steps a week after Nathan. And here I have to point out that he really just started walking. It wasn’t try and fall and try again, it was more, “what the heck, I’m already standing, leaning against mommy and I want to get what is on that table so I’ll just walk over to it. “ Seriously. I almost missed it, he was so nonchalant about it.  (And I’m going to interrupt the post on motivation to say I love his walk. It’s more of a swagger. It’s less pronounced now, but it’s still there. So cute. )

His verbal skills fits the same pattern. He was always using just simple one syllable sounds. He didn't pick up  many signs either. I worried. I researched, but he clearly had a grasp on what he was told and could follow complex instructions. Then one night before bed, he asked for 'wa'. Going on a hunch, I asked if he meant water and he repeated 'wa'. I told him I'd get if he said 'water'. He said 'wa' and pointed at the cup. I told him say 'water'. After a couple of back and forths he spit out, rather perfectly 'water' and happily took it from me. Hah! After that I was more conscious of when I thought he could say something but chose not to because he didn't have to. What it came down to was that he made his needs known or had them met without the need for spoken or sign language so why bother. Once I showed him that it made a difference, that results were faster, more accurate or even forthcoming if he even tried, he started speaking more. He's still not leaps and bounds ahead, but it's come along so fast that I'm not longer worried about his speech (okay, I'm still worried, just not paranoid about it).

Potty training ended up being the same thing. For Corwyn, it was why bother? There was nothing in it for him, I changed him, he got to go about his day, what’s the big deal. Then came the stickers. Suddenly he had a reason and low and behold, he was ready. Corwyn is now really good about using a toilet or potty. He will let me know even if he’s in the middle of hard core play at a playground or gym. Sometimes I can catch him holding himself and have to ask, but mostly he initiates it. The sticker motivation is forgotten. It’s now become routine the need to motivate is gone.

Some people think this type of motivation is selfish. It can be, but I think there is more to it than that. Being independent is something that ‘is in it for me’. Pride in a job well done can be that same motivation. It just needs to be nurtured in that direction. That’s what I’m working on. I don’t want to have to resort to physical rewards like stickers that much. Once in a while, for fun, sure, but not anytime I want him to do something new. So the ball is in my court as to how to nurture this need to personal return into a drive that will keep him going forward all his life. Those with this drive often turn out to the best negotiators, they can go very far in the business world.

Two kids. Same genes. Same exposure to people, books, food, TV etc at almost the exact time. Two different motivational drivers. Is it any wonder that there is no one parenting style/approach/book that can help everyone? 

1 comment:

K J and the kids said...

Or 5 kids in 1 family.
Good hell it's hard. and the other thing is, they switch it up on you. One thing might work well at first but later - nothing.

It's REALLY hard not to compare. and not to feel bad about their differences when you think about their future in school with their peers. Will he be treated different because he's not as athletic, or smart, or talks funny. I think about these things all of the time too...but in the end. They'll be fine and whatever happens will hopefully make them stronger in other areas :)