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>In Which Hope Solves A Problem Without Disturbing Her Brain

May 4, 2011

>By the end of last week the new/fun aspect of iLs had worn off and Hope decided she’d see what happened if she just refused to do it. “But I don’t want to!” got her nowhere, so she decided that it was worth melting down over –especially because Daddy was home and might be more sympathetic.

Smart as she is, she still hasn’t figured out that I can NHA her into cooperating and before she knew it, she was plugged in and listening, happily bouncing on her “bucking bronco-roo,” tossing bean bags at her target.

“You know,” she said bouncing away, “how I almost didn’t do iLs, but you reminded me about losing my point so I cooperated? Well, I think this would work better if I got two points every day, not just one.”

“Two points?” I asked, fielding bean bags.

“Yes. Two. One for doing iLs. And another point for doing it with a happy heart.” Hope paused for a quick look at my face. “Then I would earn points twice as fast, right?”

“You sure would,” I said. “If you get two points per day, how many points will you have after 10 days?”

“20 points!” Hope enthused. “But don’t you think we need some better way to keep track of that many points besides in your head?”

I tried not to laugh and tossed her bean bag back. “So what is a better way to keep track than in my head?”

“We  need a chart!” Hope said. “A chart is a handy-dandy scientific tool!” she sang (thanks to Syd the Science Kid.)

“Okay,” I said. “I think adding a happy heart point for iLs is a great idea. When we’re done with our exercises, I will show you how to make a chart on the computer.”

“But we can’t do that!” Hope said. “NO screen time during iLs! Remember? I don’t want to disturb my brain!”

“You are right. No screen time during iLs. So how about we wait until iLs is over today and then we make a chart on the computer?”

“Crayons and paper won’t disturb my brain, will they?” Hope pleaded, clearly intent on visualizing her points ASAP. “Can’t we make a chart with crayons and paper during iLs? Please?”

“Well,” I said, “I guess I could show you the way we used to make charts when I was a little girl, before we had computers.”

“Let’s! Let’s! Let’s do it right now!” Hope returned her pony to the stable and we went upstairs.

Hope grabbed Mercy on the way to the kitchen table. “Mercy! You have to come see! Mom is going to show us how people made charts in the olden days!”

“Wow! Really? How did they do that?” Mercy asked.

From the awe in their voices, you’d think I was about to decoct dye from butternut hulls. Instead, with nothing more than a sharp pencil and a ruler, I materialized a chart on a blank piece of paper.

Hope picked it up and carefully counted 60 spaces to make sure I hadn’t missed any. “And you didn’t even have to print it,” she said. “It’s just here. Like that!”

Hope slept with her chart next to her pillow the first night before clipping it to the refrigerator next to Mercy’s. And she hasn’t missed a happy heart point since.

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