So, we switched up things around the house to try to deal with the meltdowns a bit.
For starters, on the theory that it could be the pajamas, we swapped into a different (read: larger) set of PJs to see if he keeps those on. (That, and made the decision that if he wants to sleep on the futon in his room instead of his bed, he’s welcome to sleep on it…)
We’re also making major effort to get him to understand the concept of cause and effect in terms of rewards.
He does understand, if only just barely, the concept of “if I get to 3, you’re going to your room for five minutes.” (Or at least that’s what I perceive, given that threatening him with the count still seems to generally bring him in line somewhere between “1” and “2”.) It’s really escaped me why “if you do X, we’ll give you Y”.
At least for tonight, he grasped the concept in terms of “you can have goldfish IF you finish your homework”, and the wife got minimal struggle to get his minimal homework done. And we’ve not had a meltdown since Sunday.
On the other hand… he’s also just being wacky sometimes with food again. He insisted – over and over and over – last night that he wanted goldfish (his current favorite snack) when we were offering him a bagel for dinner, since it’s on the list of things he’d eat. I offered him them if he’d go to the potty without an accident – because do I care if he’s getting M&M’s or goldfish for peeing? – and he did, so he got the goldfish. After that, when we weren’t paying attention, he came toddling back over to us with the last quarter of the bagel dangling from his mouth.
At least he’s eating something nutritionally appropriate now and again, even if we’re having trouble keeping him from melting down.