Archive for September, 2009

September 11, 2009

for sale: two-year old child, cute but cranky

motherhood is hard.

motherhood is infinitely harder when your child is incredibly willful (and bordering on bratty some days)
motherhood is damn near impossible when your willful child decides to give up napping.
this past week has been tough. i think my daughter has napped once, maybe twice, in that entire period, whereas prior to this week she would nap for a good two hours every afternoon. that two hour stretch was my time to catch up on blogs, shower, clean the house, watch tv, eat lunch, or just enjoy the silence. now that time has been stolen from me by a snotty, bratty, stubborn, whiny, over-tired child. and i’m not thrilled.
i’ve continued to put her in her crib at nap time everyday but she refuses to nap. she chatters to herself until her chatters turn to aggravated screams. she demands books, she throws her puppy and blankie overboard and then cries, “puppy FELLLLLLL, blankie FELLLLLLLL, HELLLLLLPPPPPP!” in the most pitiful (albeit loud) voice a two-year old can muster.
today, after an hour of her squawking, i went into her room and pulled her mattress from the crib, set it on the ground with her pillow and blanket, put a gate across the door so she couldn’t escape, and i gave her a choice (thank you, love and logic). she could either nap or play quietly in her room. “that is your choice,” i said, “but it’s nap time, so you have to rest and be quiet.”
was she quiet? oh, hell no. she proceeded to pull every article of clothing out of her dresser. she pulled every single book out of the book box and threw them about the room. she pulled the nightlight out of the wall and broke off the cover. and then she exclaimed, “mama. i’m in the box!” hmmm, that doesn’t sound good to me. i run to her room to find her standing inside her dresser drawer, attempting to climb to the top. of a dresser that is (shamefully) not leashed to the wall in a childproof manner. with visions of a squashed child running through my head, i lift her out of the drawer and decide that “nap time” for today is a big fat failure.
so now she’s watching Noggin (hey, it’s preschool on tv, right?) while i self-medicate with homemade cinnamon rolls, counting down the minutes until bedtime.
it’s frustrating. of course, this whole thing makes me feel like a suckass mom. i feel like such a wimp that her non-nap days make me want to cry. i feel like a bitch for telling my daughter that we are not friends today after she zapped my absolute last nerve. i feel like i’ve done a terrible job as a mom, because a “good” child would never throw fits the way my kiddo does. i really hope this is just a phase.
September 6, 2009

i be kicking the new k-nowledge

my friend angelika hit it spot on when she said, “i swear that two-year olds are like cats – they are freakishly strong and grow extra limbs when angered.” i shamefully admit that my daughter fits this description all too well. being two, she is particularly fond of “NOOOOO” and “THAT’S MIIINNE!” and “I WAAANNNT IT!”, and she has become particularly adept at using her little slap-happy hands to manipulate me into doing things her way. and, hey, guess what? i’m a pushover.

i’m pretty good at enforcing discipline (ed. note: maybe i’m not really enforcing discipline, but just distracting her from her tantrum) when we’re at home, but the public temper tantrums have become a bit harder to manage. she is certainly not an unholy terror (believe me, i’ve known some terrors) but she is impolite enough that i realize we need a bit of a behavioral intervention before she escalates to full on terror mode.
i listened to a “love and logic” cd tonight to brush up on my skills and plot a new course of action. it’s funny because i used to work as a child and family therapist, working with the aforementioned terror tykes. i would recommend and teach (!) “love and logic” and “1-2-3 magic” to the parents i worked with. i’m discovering that it is a completely different ball game now that i am the parent and the tyke in question is my own sweet baby angel.
some of the little nuggets of information that resonated with me tonight were:
  • families with out-of-control toddlers often have out-of-control dogs as well. yup. guilty as charged. maybe we also need to enroll in doggie obedience courses.
  • parents who are mental health professionals often raise wacky children because they’ve read all the psychobabble self-help books. ummm, yes? crap.
  • parents often try to justify their child’s behavior by saying, “oh, it’s because she is only 2,” or, “this is just a phase.” yes, and yes.
  • parents who try to get on their child’s level and try to reason with their toddler are basically shooting themselves in the foot, setting up a scenario in which their toddler becomes a drug-addicted teen and an imprisoned adult later in life. shit! really? i’m screwed. we’re not saving for college, we’re saving bail money.
clearly that is not the entire message of “love and logic” parenting; there are a lot of great bits of advice in there, and i think we’re already doing some of them, actually. i know we just need to be more consistent, and we (meaning my husband and myself) really need to get on the same page in regards to consistent and effective discipline. (husband, this is an invitation for you to write a guest post about your view on discipline, btw)
we are still doing the star chart that i posted about a few weeks ago, rewarding good behavior with stars and jellybeans, and it has definitely clicked with her. she is totally stoked whenever she earns a star, and she understands that she needs to earn three stars to be rewarded with a jellybean. it’s just not doing enough to make the fundamental behavioral changes that we’d like so we can feel less like we’re living with a pissed-off, sharp-taloned cat, and more like we’re living with a sweet, delightful, hilarious, cute, amazing toddler.
so, tomorrow marks Day One of “love and logic” parenting. i foresee a lot of uhhh-ohhhing in my future. i hope i’m more successful with this than i was at training our dog. as far as i can tell the kiddo is smarter than the dog, so i’m hoping that bodes well for a better outcome.