Home > Monday Minute > Monday Minute: I call this magic trick “pleasant morning”

Monday Minute: I call this magic trick “pleasant morning”

If you search the term “morning” on my site I’m sure you will find an array of stories, complaints, trials, successes (then failures) and more complaints as to how James gets up before school. After the alarm clock went from effective to disaster we decided that we needed to find a more immediate positive reinforcement since earning/losing Wii and TV privileges after school was too far into the future to effect James’s morning behavior.

I’m almost afraid to write about how the last week has gone since school (and a regular routine) resumed for fear that I will jinx it. So instead, I’ll allow the Monday Minute to speak for itself:

James is in italics, my responses in bold.

Good morning! (comes into the kitchen for a hug, 2 minutes after alarm went off)

Wow, you got up all by yourself again – great job! What do you want for breakfast?

Toast and two eggs over easy please. Okay, I’ll make that while you get dressed. Go quickly so you have some time after breakfast to play.

(I make toast and eggs and hear nothing. It’s only been five minutes but I decide to go in and make sure he is getting dressed – as I start toward James’s room I run into him, fully clothed at the dining room table waiting for me.)

Whoa, you scared me! I can’t believe you’re dressed and at the table already! Yep, can I have my eggs please? What do you want to drink? Coffee (think milk and sugar with a splash of coffee here). I’m so proud of you this morning James – you are doing such a good quick job! Am I being a good boy to earn some ipod time? If you eat your breakfast like a good boy you definitely get ipod time. Yes!

Thanks for the eggs mom. You’re welcome. Thanks for the eggs. and the toast. and thanks for my delicious coffee. Does this coffee have sugar in it? Yep, give it a stir. Thanks mom. You’re welcome. And thanks for my ipod.

(fast forward 10 minutes, when medication and breakfast are done, rather seamlessly)

Are you done? Can I play ipod now? First let’s brush teeth then you can play. okay (hops up and heads to bathroom).

(while brushing) am I being a good boy? You are being great today! you’re the best. Thanks. please stop talking so I can finish your teeth. I can’t wait to play that ipod. I know. I can’t have smelly breath and play an ipod – gross. No, I guess not. that would be really gross! Shhhh.

Okay you can go play for 10 minutes before it’s shoes and coat time. thanks mom!

(15 minutes later)

Okay, one more minute is up. Time to go. Okay. Come on, bud. Turn it off and charge it for later – if you do a good job on your homework maybe we can look up a new app. okay, mom. Thanks for letting me play ipod this morning. love you!

(Ryan and I look at each other in disbelief)


Was it really that easy? You betcha. And this was the 4th smooth morning in a row (don’t worry, I just knocked on wood). Apparently instant reinforcement is far, far more effective than delayed gratification for James.

At the time we debated about buying James such an expensive Christmas gift that would only suck him further into his own little world than he already was, but I have to say, this thing is proving to be worth its weight in gold. Encrusted with diamonds.

Alakazam! Monday morning, you’re smoked!

  1. Patrick Gerrity
    January 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Gosh, James has better mornings than I do…

    • January 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

      except for mornings like this morning, when everyone had a better morning than James

  2. January 10, 2012 at 7:27 am

    And I jinxed it. Can’t call me superstitious for nothing…

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