Mark made it to the end of our agreement and is now the proud new owner of a fish named Feather.
And since Eric follows the rules most of the time without being prodded, bribed, or punished, he got a fish too. Then Zack proclaimed that HE wanted a fish too, never wanting to be left out. I talked him out of that by saying that (spin, spin, spin) this was Mark's reward and Eric's reward, but the fish were for us ALLLLL to look at and enjoy. Miraculously that smoothed it over and Mark didn't even freak out or insist that it was only HIS fish! Whew. Sometimes things just work out. Or maybe it was because they were all so excited that it didn't really matter anymore. So we are the proud owners of two bettas. Eric's fish is as yet unnamed, but it is the one on the left.
The tank is divided so they each get their own side, and don't go crazy and, you know, kill each other.
I've learned a few little things from this experiment.
1. Mark can be extremely good when he wants to.
2. A week was TOO long. The end got a little sketchy. We had a few near misses. The LAST day before fish day Mark did something (I don't remember the details, but it was big) and I was walking out the door to run an errand and didn't know what Kevin was going to do about it. He deserved to be sent to his room, that was FOR SURE. I was relieved to hear that Kevin decided the ramification would be Mark cleaning the playroom by himself. I rolled my eyes when I heard that because I thought it would NEVER happen. I went up to look and almost passed out because everything was put away. He did it! So, it was a close call, but he made it.
3. Motivate motivate motivate and use positive reinforcement. Not always a big thing, but the promise of reward goes a long way, I've discovered. Well, I probably already knew that, but it was a good reminder.