Mommy Loonies, or dollars, or bucks, or money… We went with moonies ;-). I have gotten so tired of my girls fighting and bickering and picking at each other. They are less than 2 years apart and should be friends, or at least get along some of the time. Emily has her sensory issues and can be physically rough with her little sister and Grace can be just as mean. It has been non-stop fighting since they arrived and I really don’t like to yell. I wake up in a positive mood, relaxed and generally happy, and within minutes I’m feeling bitchy and impatient. It only took two days before I reached my limit and had to do something or consequences would be severe.

So I took an idea from the girls’ teachers and decided to let them earn “moonies” for being kind, thoughtful, and polite, of their own volition. At the end of the week, the moonies would be tallied and converted into something special, a treat, toy, outing, etc. I would not reward individual actions or direct requests, the moonies would only come out when I witnessed ongoing considerate behavior. I told them that I did not require them to play together or do things for each other, just treat each other the way they treated their friends. In addition, if I saw rudeness or bullying, I could take away a moonie.They were very excited about this “game” and I gave them each a box to decorate to keep their moonies in.

We started Sunday morning, and the vibe in the house was instantly much better. I walked into the living room to see them helping each other with their iPods and actually thanking each other. This behavior continued through lunch and one invited the other to play outside, each bringing a game of choice. They entertained each other all afternoon. I must be honest, I didn’t expect it to last. Emily is an instant gratification kind of kid and loses interest quickly if there is no action. But we’re Tuesday now, and they are outside playing with water guns and laughing hysterically. I have not had to intervene or take away a moonie once.

Ahhhh…. peace in the home …. I know I shouldn’t have to bribe my kids to be nice, and I don’t plan to continue this system indefinitely, but I believe that they are developing a habit of politeness with each other. I’m not deluded enough to expect them to never fight again, in fact I fully expect it. I think we just needed to break the nastiness cycle and regroup. I find myself enjoying their company more and I’m so proud of the different ways they are finding to be considerate on their own.

mommy loonies



Discrete Trial Training (DTT) “is a method of teaching in simplified and structured steps. Instead of teaching an entire skill in one go, the skill is broken down and “built-up” using discrete trials that teach each step one at a time” (Smith, 2001).
Find the software at Accelerations Educational Software DT Trainer Download

I know that the first therapy that comes to mind for Autism is ABA Therapy, and while it is extremely effective and early implementation is critical, it isn’t what we started with due to long wait lists for an ABA Therapist. Before we even had an Autism diagnosis, we knew that Emily had language difficulties. We had her assessed by a wonderful speech therapist, Stacey Knecht, who diagnosed Emily with a severe receptive and expressive disorder. I wish I could recall who directed me to DT Trainer so I could shower them with gratitude, because it had such a huge impact on Emily.

I purchased the home edition, dug in, and customized it according to Emily’s knowledge base at the time. From there, the software handled the rest. Emily was only 4 and loved being on the big computer and loved the various praise and rewards for answering questions correctly. She was so proud of herself! The software “learns” with the child in that there are three steps to “mastering” a concept. The only thing I had to do was control how much time she spent sitting at the computer, 10 minutes proved to be ideal in preventing her from burning out. From there, I could review reports and make adjustments to the topics covered.

We did not manage ABA Therapy until almost 2 years later, but by that point, Emily had a strong foundation as well as a tolerance for that type of learning. I cannot recommend this software strongly enough, it was worth every penny. As a follow on to DT Trainer, we also purchased the Activity Trainer, which was also a great tool. Both of these offer a no-strings-attached 30 day free trial.

Coming home …

Well, I survived – I mean, my girls survived – a week in the Bahamas with their dad … they are flying back today. Last year they returned with sunburns, Grace had a black eye, and Emily was covered in mosquito bites that she had scratched until bleeding…. As it’s summer, they have one more week with him before they get to come back home… They call my place home …. I get to spend tomorrow afternoon with them, so I will see their condition and do any nursing necessary… I don’t know why their dad insists on taking them each year… it’s really an adult trip, a small island that caters to singles and couples … but he needs to show he’s an active dad and he’s going all out …

Unfortunately, I won’t be taking them back home for a visit to my family again this year as my ex buried me in legal fees, spousal support is ending, and I still cannot find work. It’s very frustrating to know that I can find good employment in a few different fields in Seattle, but I’m utterly worthless in Quebec. I have been hitting the freelance thing pretty hard and have finally landed a very small, very low paying, contract as a Virtual Assistant. It doesn’t pay anything but it’s a start.

Emily absolutely loved her two weeks at Spectrum Productions earlier this month. She was so proud to be on Global News as their featured student and loved seeing herself on TV… I will post the video soon! Boy, do I love how that kid’s brain works! She has recently been learning Garage Band so that she can start writing her own music. I think she’s going to be a famous writer, producer, director, editor, or all of the above or maybe a school janitor!

Grace will be going to sailing lessons, an activity that I have never heard her utter a word about… Her dad will only pay and support activities in which he has an interest, thus sailing, skiing, etc. The girls can forget ice skating, dance, art, drama, etc …. Emily’s camp was such a departure from his usual behavior, but I’m thrilled he went for it.

Well, it’s a hot and humid Sunday and I have chores, one of which is working on this site… well, this isn’t really a chore, I enjoy it, but the laundry and grocery shopping are not as much fun *sigh.