Friday, May 14, 2010


S is a whiz at changing her doll's diapers, but they're dolls. So a few weeks ago I was going to change Baby R, and S asked if she could help. I said sure. I put the clean diaper under Baby R and then turned around to get something - diaper cream maybe? I don't know what. Anyway, in that minute, S took off the wet one, wiped her bottom, and put on the new one - expertly mind you. With a wriggling 5 month old. I was shocked - she's two!

We spent Easter in St. Louis this year. We rented a van which was really nice. It was sort of a trial run because we'd like to buy one this summer. We dyed eggs and went to the park. Sunday before we left, we had an egg hunt. We got back to town just in time for DH's family's egg hunt, too. It was a long day, but lots of fun.

The other day I took S to the sitter's and forgot to bring shoes for her. I had to drop her off and then go buy some at lunch time. Days like those are when I feel like I will never be a good mom.

I've been emailing a sorority sister lately regarding the struggles with the terrible two's. I was always worried I would have kids with my temper. But I honestly thought if I can just be more patient than my dad was (I get it from him) and not lose my cool with my kids, maybe it will skip them. Boy does having kids teach you a lot about nature v. nurture! A lot more is inborn than I thought. S had her first temper tantrum when she was 4 months old. I had not lost my temper with her ever at that age. I had had breakdowns and cried, but never been angry. It took me a minute to realize that she was having a tantrum. When I did, I had to try not to laugh - 4 months old? Seriously? First lesson in her temperament. She's always been stubborn and had a temper. But she's also vivacious and energetic and fun. And that's just her. So I need to focus on helping her deal with her emotions instead of trying to change her and keep her from experiencing them. I'm not very good at dealing with them myself. I'm trying to help her learn to express herself constructively but it feels foreign to me - yelling and stomping is just what I've always done when I was angry. Immature, yes. Thankfully, I don't get that angry very often as an adult. Although, now that I have the kiddos and am sleep deprived, more often than I'd like to admit.

Another concern of hers was cussing. I try really hard not to, but sometimes slip up. S was running around yelling "God bless it! God bless it! God bless it!" at the top of her lungs one day because I say that when I'm upset. I know it could be worse, but that's still not very appropriate.

We also talked about spanking. We were spanked as kids, but never with a belt. I don't think we were spanked in excess, but we also knew that was the punishment and it was never in anger. I always knew my parents loved me. That's been hard because whenever I punish Sam (time out, spanking, whatever), later I always tell her I love her, and I don't like to punish her but she needs to learn to behave. Now when I tell her I love her, she says "No you don't." Ouch.

I think I feel I would be more patient with Sam if I was home in theory but reality is I would probably reach my limit with her sooner than later. :) I think if you work, you feel guilty for not being home with them. But even when I was home on maternity leave, I felt guilty that I wasn't doing enough with her because I was busy with Baby R. And I felt guilty that Baby R's not getting as much attention as S did. I've decided part of being a mom is just feeling guilty no matter what your situation. :)

She had a battle of wills with her DD over getting out of the bathtub. We had a similar event about a year ago. S spilled her Cheerios on the floor on purpose. I told her she needed to clean them up. She didn't want to. We were going to go to the park or something. I told her we couldn't go until she picked up the cereal. She still wouldn't do it. I put her in time out - 3 times. It took about an hour for her to clean them up. I felt like I was being really mean and unreasonable, but she was being stubborn. I struggle because someone once told me that with strong-willed kids you have to break them early so you don't spend the rest of their lives struggling with them, but I don't want to break her - that fortitude can be a good asset when she's older. I just need to figure out a way to channel it while also getting her to mind me. Sigh....

I read something the other day that says when kids are at difficult stages, instead of making it an issue, assume they'll comply. That way if you don't offer a choice, it doesn't give them a chance to reject it. Like instead of saying, do you want to wear the red shirt or the green one, and have them say no, I don't want to wear a shirt, hand them a shirt and say, after you get dressed we'll eat breakfast. I think that helps a little, too, but some days are just tough no matter what you try.

Saturday S was having a really rough day. She was cranky all day. At nap time I told her it was time to go take a nap and she said no, she didn't want to. So I told her she could walk up the stairs or I would carry her (choices again!). I went to pick her up, and she started to have a tantrum and struggled and wiggled away. I hate when we have to "win" because we're bigger. It's so unfair. But I finally got her picked up and we were at the top of the stairs and she was still screaming and crying, and I said something to her, and she said NO! and slapped both my cheeks with her hands. I WAS PISSED. Luckily we were at her door and I said, "NO, we do NOT hit Mama" and put her on her bed and walked out. I was going to spank her but that was really not a time to be hypocritical. She screamed bloody murder for about 15 minutes, and I finally went in and calmly told her that it was not ok to hit me and she needed to apologize. She wanted me to lie down and snuggle with her. I told her I would love to but she needed to say she was sorry first. She wouldn't do it. So I left again. Fifteen more minutes of screaming and I went back and we had the same conversation. It was killing her, I knew she felt awful, but she just was too stubborn to say it. So I let her off the hook by asking her if she was sorry she hit me, and she said yes. Ugh, terrible day.

I feel badly saying all that about her because 99% of the time, she's the best kid.

Poor DH doesn't know what to do with S. I was the one with the temper as a kid. He was a troublemaker, but I was a redheaded monster. Her "terrible twos" started at about 18mos and are still in full-force. Now that she's older and bigger, she screams so loud it literally hurts my ears, kicks and writhes and thrashes. She inevitably hits her head on the floor, arm or leg on the wall, etc. and hurts herself then gets even more mad at me. I tell her I love her, and she says, "No, you don't!" Ugh. Initially, time out didn't bother her either, or it made her so mad she had a worse tantrum, and would refuse to stay in her spot, so I'd have to start it over again and again. Then when her time out was over, and I told her she could move out of her spot, she wanted to stay there. It was definitely a control thing. I'll be honest, I have no moral issue with spanking. I think it depends on each kid's personality. I know there are those who disagree with me, and maybe if I was able to stay home with her, I would be more patient, but I've had lots of people comment that I am really patient with her, so I feel like I'm giving her a long leash. I avoid doing it except as a last resort, but sometimes I've exhausted all my Love and Logic options and have gotten nowhere and need an instant result. For example, when she refuses to get in her car seat when we have to leave to get me to work on time, and I can't just say, fine, we'll just sit here until you decide to cooperate, you'll get bored before me, which I've also used as a tactic successfully, although it took almost an hour.

Everything is a control issue with her right now. Teeth brushing is a nightmare for us, too. We try everything - she gets to brush first, then we do. We give her a million choices to let her feel in control - Mommy or Daddy? In the bathroom or in bed? Before going potty or after? Doesn't matter. The last few days she wanted me to hold her while Daddy brushed her teeth, so that gave us a little leverage. If she didn't hold still/open wider/stop biting the toothbrush, I'd put her down. But now she's over it and back to refusing to cooperate. The thing is, you can let them just not brush once or twice, but not all the time. And DH and I both have terrible teeth and had lots of cavities as kids so we are super diligent about it now, and we are trying to spare her that pain. She doesn't understand that a cavity is a terrible consequence (even though she watched the episode of Sid the Science Kid about it, too.) And even though she likes brushing, she knows we want her to do it, so it's an opportunity to push our buttons. So like last night, DH was at bowling, so I was on my own, and I let her take her time (I think sometimes she balks because she feels rushed), but it wasn't happening. I put her in time out, I took away her story privileges, I reminded her about cavities, I offered her rewards, I spanked her, then, cruel mother that I am, I took advantage of her opened mouth that was screaming to brush her teeth. In the meantime, I was trying to minimize the noise so we didn't wake up Baby R. So exhuasting...

Bedtime is the worst battle for us. It took me an hour and a half to get her ready for bed last night. The teethbrushing was 30 minutes of it. Most of the rest was her stalling. Potty training just makes it worse. You have to let them go in case they really need to, even though you're 99% sure they're just saying they need to so they can get out of bed. So even though I tell her she has to go during our bedtime routine, 5 minutes after she's in bed she says she has to go. I tell her she just went, and she's fine. She insists she has to go, so I let her go. Every once in awhile, she goes a fair amount, but most of the time it's one or two drops, and then she says, see, I had to go. Aaack!

The end of April is DH's birthday. This year it was a Friday, so he took the day off work (well-deserved), and went golfing. That night my best friend from college and her family were in town, so they came over for dinner. It was fun seeing them. What a wonderful husband I have to be willing to entertain my friends on his bday.

No comments:

Real Time Analytics