Ollie and Si have been quite obsessed with Transformers ever since their cousin Mason brought all his Transformers to the farm last summer. Ollie and Si played with Mason for hours on end while Mason patiently explained the finer points of each Transformers personality. A couple weeks ago, Transformers were on their mind for some reason and they asked if I would take them to the store to get some. I told them they could earn some Transformers if they wanted to. I helped them make a chart where they could color in one blank box for each job they did. They decorated their Transformer goal charts with pictures and put them on the fridge and quite suddenly went through their own transformation into the best little workers in the house. They were so excited every time I had a job for them. They put laundry in the dryer, cleaned up toys they didn't leave out, cleaned floors, cleaned walls, dusted baseboards, emptied the dishwasher, straightened all the shoes in the mud room again and again as they worked towards those Transformers. Typically, Ollie and Si have not been great helpers. They take the typical younger child role of wandering off when they were asked to do something, in hopes that no one will bother to make them come back and do what they were supposed to do (and that hope is far too often realized). Given their work history, I thought after a day or so of doing extra jobs happily, the twin would tire of the whole thing - but they didn't. Filling in those boxes on their chart was so very gratifying that their eagerness to do jobs didn't go away.
After about 2 weeks, Ollie and Si had all their boxes filled in and they were SOOOOO excited! The very next day after the charts were done (which was luckily one of our few non-visitor, non-crazy schedule days), I took them to Walmart. It was like Christmas morning when we got to the toy area and saw a whole new shipment of Transformers stacked up there! They knew exactly which Transformers they wanted but I'd warned them that you never know what they'll have at the store. But to our great joy, Oliver found Optimus Prime and Silas found Bumblebee and they were these new "gravity assisted" Transformers that are great for little kids (Ashton had insisted they'd break the regular kind of Transformers the first day they got them and would be so disappointed). The looks on their faces when they had those long-awaited and hard-earned Transformers in their hands was priceless!
We checked out and opened the packages right up and the little guys were in heaven. They haven't let their Transformers out of their sight since then (except that they can't bring them to preschool so Oliver and Silas are so cute about standing their robots on the counter in the laundry room where they can "watch" the door and "see" the twins right when they get back home.
Ah, the triumph of high achievement! Ah, the joy of seeing your kids get what they want because they earned it! And even though Ollie and Si aren't actively working towards any particular toy right now, they are still great little helpers - the Transformer chart seems to have helped them get into the habit of working and I think they like all the positive reinforcement they get - even if it's just a "great job" or "you're such a great helper" instead of a Transformer that they get for doing what they're asked to do.