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going backwards
monday, june 20, 2005

it's been something of a long week and longer weekend. for one, jewel has been at her pms worse - and she's not pms'ing. then there's the dog. both of them essentially took steps backward in the good behavior department at the same time

teenagers tend to be very fluid things. boys and girls both suffer the emotional-behavoral roller coaster one day things are up and everything is good and they're near perfect angels. the next you wonder if you gave birth to a pod person. then there's the days of true temper tantrums and dark depressions and crossing the line so much that it's beyond pod people. we're been in the latter stage with jewel. a lot of the problem is attitude. as i've mentioned before, our jewel is a whiny, bitchy girl. she complains. she argues. she has to have a come back for everything, and it's usually a disagreeable one.

well, we finally hit the limits of our patience with it.

for awhile there, we were using a behavior chart. and it actually did pretty good. she's been pretty much on track with the chores for awhile now and we let the chart slide. we've been a bit more relaxed about television viewing, computer time, and the ps2 overall, but there's still a sense of rewards in these. so, now we're going back to it. only this time the focus is more on attitude than on behavior, though the behavior is still a part of it. we've included a new job for her on a daily basis, and adjusted the "bad" behaviors that get counted against her to include the arguing, whining, and complaining.

really, this constant back talk has got to stop. she can't open her mouth in this house without it being an argument. the rolling of the eyes, stomping, and huffing and sighing are irritating enough. but they can be ignored. she wants to have attitude like that, then fine. but she's crossing the line when everything becomes a fight with her. we can't even tease her without her deciding to "correct" us! i love my kids, but this is just too much to deal with on a daily basis.

so, back to the behavior chart. we just put it up last night (with 2 marks against her and her outdoor and computer privileges gone) and there's already improvement. but that could just be the mood roller coaster working its way back up. we're going to keep it going for a bit, i think. attitudes are harder to change than behavior, but if we could just get her not to spout off the first thing she thinks of, even that would be an improvement.

as for the dog, she's started pissing and crapping in the house again. we're not sure why - nothing's changed recently. and we thought the problem from the move had cleared up. she has been pretty good about this in the past. but now she's regressed again and we have no idea what's up.

stuff like this is one reason i'm so seriously not a dog person. maybe we need a dog box for her? (you know, similar to a cat box?)

we seriously need a back yard she can just run around in, so she can stay outside more. we hate having her locked up inside, and she's not really suited to being an inside dog, but without a fenced backyard, we just don't dare risk having her out loose. we have a runner for her, but she gets on that thing and just barks and barks and barks. saxy's going to look into extensions for the leash line, see if we can give her more run around room, but that means the kids will have to go out every now and then to untangle her. still, if it will give our "herd dog" (she's an aussie) more necessary out door time without all the bullshit barking, then it will be a good thing. all we can do is try.

as for the flea thing mentioned previously, we're doing a little better. the medication on the back of the neck seems to be kicking in for all the animals. we've also taken to daily vacuuming. once i'm back to work and kitten's cat, hitomi, is among us, we'll pick up those electronic collars as well. a product called capstar has been recommended as well, but that looks to run a bit expensive in the long run. we may end up using it as well, but i'd rather go low cost first for the moment. the vacuuming seems to be helping a bit, at least with the humans, so that's something.

at least something in this house is making forward progress. now if only we can convince the teenager and the dog to do the same, things would be just peachy.

word of the moment: poignant

painfully sharp to the emotions or senses; deeply moving; arousing sympathy

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