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Thu, Jun. 23rd, 2005, 02:44 pm
Bank of Twinkle

It's become increasingly difficult to persuade Mathilda to twinkle. I'd like to start every practice with some twinkling, but she resists. So it goes in with the rest of the tasks to be drawn out at random. (Interestingly, this does sometimes mean she plays them later on in her practice better than she played her first pieces: there may be some benefit in putting them later sometimes.) Really, she'd rather not bother with them at all.

When she does play, she's on auto-pilot. The number of repeats of the central phrase varies from zero to three. She occasionally starts the first phrase and finishes the piece at the end of it, apparently unaware that's she's not played it all. She's even got stuck in a loop, repeating the middle section and the end several times without apparently noticing she's done so.

We need rewards or incentives (even if I secretly think of this as bribery(=bad)). We've gone down the awarding stickers route several times: sometimes interest in collecting stickers falls off rapidly, sometimes sticker collecting becomes the be all and end all and swamps all other thoughts. It's definitely time for something new.

We've opened a bank: Bank of Twinkle. Into this bank we deposit 1p per perfect twinkle played. When the jar's full, we'll count out the total and she can have it in something more portable than pennies. It's a smallish peanut butter jar, but even so, quite a challenge. There's no restriction on when she twinkles (within reason) so if a couple are played in the morning, al well and good. I'm not putting a maximum number per day (... yet).

Is it working? We twinkle first, every practice on her say so. She's concentrating. She's listening to herself. We're not necessarily playing a lot more of them, but the hits are going up. There's a small, but visibly growing, pile of pennies in the jar. There's a satisfying, chink each time one's dropped in.

My only worry is I'm running out of pennies!