Monday, May 7, 2012

Latest Motivator: Ickee Stikeez

Inclement weather postponed our planned miniature golf outing but we had no shortage of activities this weekend.

For our weekly Video Night, we had taco pizza in honor of Cinco de Mayo:

We also played a chemistry game that Mom brought home from Japan:

The goal of the game is to take various element cards and make molecules out of them. It was fun that Kai memorized all of the elements last year, but knowing how they come together to make molecules will be much more useful to him in the future. From just a few times playing the game, it looks like he already knows several compounds including ammonia (NH3), Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN), and Acetylene (C2H2), among others.

* * * * *

Kai and I also went to the birthday party for one of his classmates. It was a pool party held at a park district pool.

I was one of the few parents who wore a swimsuit and got in the water.

Many of the parents dropped their child off. And of those who stayed, most wore street clothes, even the parents of other special needs kids.

I felt conspicuous.

My choice was because I was unsure that Kai would participate if I wasn’t there to prompt and help him. Of course, when he started off the event clinging to me, I wondered if my presence kept him from interacting with the other kids.

It wasn’t until I got him and the younger sister of the birthday boy engaged in a game of catch with a squishy football did he really have fun with another child. Bailey is younger than Kai, but can catch and throw much better than he can. But she was his perfect play partner as she interacted with him quite a bit. When the ball came to him, she would jump on him. And when she threw the ball backward to me, she and Kai would laugh and high-five each other. It was great to see them laugh and play together.

When it came time to eat, they sat next to each other. But, Kai got mad at me when I did not let him eat the pizza, as we have him on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. Though he was happy when I made an exception and let him have a piece of the birthday cake.

* * * * *
When Kai’s grandmother visited us when my wife was in Japan, she gave Kai a present – funny looking, one inch-high, rubber-textured creatures with suction cups on the bottom called Ickee Stikeez. They are inexpensive (about $2.50 for a pack of three), but Kai was hooked as soon as Bubbe gave him his first ones.

It didn’t take him long to get on the Internet and research them. He found out that there are 24 characters in Series 1, and Series 2 has yet to be released. Bubbe gave him 12 of the characters, and he really wanted the rest of them.

This provided the perfect opportunity to exploit his desires motivate him.

We told him that he could earn one new Ickee Stikeez for every two times he ran a mile at the Rec Center. I never saw him so motivated to run.

This weekend, we ran on Friday afternoon, then he wanted to go right back on Saturday morning to run again so that he could earn his first new character.

On Sunday, we ran in the morning, and then he wanted to run again in the afternoon. I did not want to put my 8-year old through two-a-days so I told him that once was enough. He would have to wait until Tuesday to earn his next character as his after-school schedule on Monday would be too busy to have time to run. He did not like having to wait.

When we came back from the swim party, he insisted that he was not tired and wanted to go running again. I held firm, and he was not happy.

Mom came up with the idea to wake up earlier this morning and go running before he left for school. Kai loved the idea.

We did not want to take the time to drive over to the Rec Center. So, this morning, we all went for a run in our neighborhood.

Kai ran nicely. And he was very happy to have earned his second new Ickee.

I think he will want to run every morning this week.

Of course, with only ten more characters to earn, the morning runs won’t last for too much longer.

Kai wants to write the company and tell them to come out with Series 2. With his motivation running so strongly, I think that I may write to them, too.


  1. Looks like a really fun weekend! I can see why Kai loves his new cool that he is interested in the elements and knows them!

    And good for you for swimming! Conspicuous or not, sometimes we 'special' parents have to go above and beyond the normal duties. :)

    1. He knows many more elements than I do, and now he knows more compounds, too. :)

      Yes, as 'special' parents, we do whatever it takes. I'm just glad that in the end it worked out this time.

  2. I hope the running turns into a habit, later, if not now, as it pays back in so many ways. If he can do it long enough...he will learn the great rewards to be had from it. By the way, some of the latest research indicates a lifespan lengthening effect from LSD (Long Slow Distance) running (without getting out of breath - 45 minutes to an hour at a time) of almost 7 years...and many more years of happiness put into your life that you do run.

    1. As Kai gets older, I hope to start stretching out the time more... right now I just want him to run and hope that it becomes a habit at some point. I think I need the running more than he does at this point, as I feel like I need to live long to take care of him. :)

  3. wow, good luck with keeping up with him on the running front! Amazing what they can do when they want to, eh?! I think we're looking at an amazing scientist here, that game sounds good!!

    1. Ha, yes, when motivated, they can do amazing things. Scientist sounds good... just need to work on his behaviors. :)

  4. this post is CHOCK full of amazing ideas
    you rock Yuji


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