It’s maddening to get Peter up and dressed in the morning. He keeps on asking for “one minute, please” and dives his head under the blanket. We usually end up having to tickle him out of bed, and he moves in slow motion to get dressed. After going to an outstanding DIR conference by Profectum at the Pasadena Convention Center this weekend, I thought I’d try a different approach.
So this morning when Peter peeked out of his blanket, instead of seeing me with his shorts in my left hand and “tickle monster” right hand poised to strike, Peter saw Charmander, his brother’s giant stuffed animal Pokemon character, wearing Peter’s pants. Peter snatched Charmander, took off the pants, and ducked back under the blanket, pants and all. I waited. A few seconds later, Peter’s hand reappeared from under the blanket, offering the pants. When he peeked out from under the blanket again, he saw Charmander wearing his pants on its head. Peter took off the pants, and dived under the blanket with them. Lo and behold! His hand reappeared offering the pants again! We repeated this game with the pants appearing on Charmander’s chest with the pant legs threaded through its arms, then reversed on its back but through the arms, then on one arm and one leg.
Finally, Charmander wondered if the pants might go on Peter’s legs. Charmander wiggled under the covers and got both legs of the pants threaded onto each of Peter’s feet. But when Peter tried to wiggle his pants up (still completely under the covers), he discovered to his chagrin that the mischievous Charmander had inserted one of its own legs into one of the pant legs so that it was tangled up with Peter in the pants! After Peter had struggled to right the situation and get his pants on, he threw the extricated Charmander out of his bed onto his brother’s. Then to my delight, he threw the covers off, and got up out of bed, quickly, not in slow motion, not requiring coaxing or tickles, and made his way to the bathroom to complete his dressing.
The story doesn’t end there. Peter usually takes an eternity to get dressed, lying on a long vanity seat a prior owner had converted the bathtub into. But miracles of miracles! When Peter spied Charmander sneaking up to steal his shirt, Peter snatched the shirt first and popped it on. Ta-dah! Competition won the day, and beat any timer I could have set to use classic behavioral methods to complete his dressing.