Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Happens at Two... Continued

There were so many good suggestions and helps and reassurances from all ya'll on facebook and in real life and here on this blog that I've decided to do a follow up post on what I've learned and decided to implement.

So, what have I learned?

1.  I have the coolest, best, perfectly wonderful loving support system in the world.  That's you guys in case you missed it.

2.  Ben understands more than I think.  Which is something that I kind of knew, but it's one of those things that still takes me by surprise because he has not mastered the art of language to let me know he understands.

3.  He's still little.  As in it is easy to forget that he's just a little guy with very little experience in this world even though he's running around all over asserting his independence.  He's finding new things to do and he thinks they are awesome when I think they are annoying or just plain inappropriate bad behavior.  He has to be taught what is right and wrong and that's my job.

4.  I have learned that Ben will be more content at meal times if he has had time to play beforehand.  Especially breakfast.  I too often have made the mistake of having breakfast ready for him right when he gets up when in reality he needs some time to decide that he's okay being up, and then another short stint of time to play and reacquaint himself with the toys he was loathe to leave behind for the irritating purpose of sleeping.

5.  I have learned that there are times when time out is the best thing in the entire world.

6.  I have learned that Ben acts up and earns himself a time-out when he either doesn't get his way or I have been ignoring him for an extensive amount of time.  The later one eliciting the more serious and explosive ear-splitting volumes.  I have learned that the best way to snap him out of it is to wrestle him (and at this point it is a wrestle) into a hug.  It takes him a moment but he melts into me and wraps his arms around my neck and I hold him tight and then we both forgive each other.

7.  I have learned that a lot of times it's better for me to go with him when he slips his hand around my finger to pull me away from what I'm doing because so very often it is to do something simple that he can't do for himself.  Like fill his sippy cup, or get the sock monkey out of the crib.  He just needs a little help to get something done and then he's content to go and play without me and I can return to my work sans tears and trauma.

8.  I have learned that there is still so very much to learn.

So, with all of this new-found/newly-remembered information, just what will I do?

1.  Quiet time during the day.  This idea I love with all my heart.  It might be a little tricky finding the best time to do this but I feel in my heart of hearts that it will be totally worth it.  He actually does pretty well in church most of the time.  There are days when that's not the case, but rarely.

2.  It's time to be more insistent that he pick up after himself and I need to teach him how.  I need to be consistent.  And sometimes that is really, really hard.

3.  Rather than try to "fix" everything at once, my husband and I will discuss what is most important to us... what will have he biggest impact for all of us and take the time to make sure it is worth the effort.  The last thing I want to do is spin my wheels in frustration over something that really doesn't matter in the long run.

4.  We will be keeping a strict bedtime for him despite his "energy crisis".  We put him down, make the room as dark as possible and it's up to him whether he stays down or not.  If he yells for us, we will go to him, figure out what he needs and inform him that we will not be coming in again. So far this has worked really well.  He's not going to sleep as early as I would like, but he's not yelling/crying/screaming either. I have found that the best way for me to handle him not going to sleep at his bedtime is for me to stop listening to the monitor.  If he needs something he can yell loud enough and that way every little sound that comes from the monitor isn't adding to my anxiety.

So there's the recap.  I think what I a really learning is how to be a parent.  First time parent, first time kid... we've all got a lot to learn.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Oy with the poodles!

A story.

Today I gave Ben some goldfish crackers to snack on while he watched Toy Story.  When I went down to check on him I was met with crackers crushed into the carpet.  Perfect time for a teaching moment.

Mom: "You can't have anymore juice or watch anymore Toy Story till you clean up the crackers."

Child responds calmly with "Jesus?" and points at the picture of Christ.

M: "Yes, that is Jesus, but changing the subject won't work.  Pick up the crackers."

C: "Watch Buzz?"

M: "Pick up crackers."

C: "Buzz? Woody (pronounced "Wooey")?"

M: "Crackers".

C: bursts into tears and stretches out arms towards mom for comfort.

M: "No.  I'm sorry, but you have to pick up the crackers first."

Weeping and wailing and running of nose ensues while mom leaves the room and hopes child will find the error of his ways while congratulating herself for not getting angry and having a level head about the whole thing.  "What a wonderful teaching moment this is, and how splendid it will be to help my child learn here and now in these very moments, the lesson that is to pick up after himself.  By George, I'll have him working by my side in my housework efforts by the end of the day," she thought naively.

Half hour later weeping and wailing is replaced by a shaky little voice by the railing.

C: "Hi"

M: "Hi Ben. Have you picked up the crackers?"

C: nods in the affirmative.

Mom goes to check and sees crackers still there.  Child reaches out for comfort and mom again rejects child.

M: "Pick up the crackers."

Weeping and wailing again for another half hour.

M: having slight change of heart mom thinks to herself "perhaps if I hand him a cracker so he can put in in the container and then give him lots of positive encouragement for his efforts he will get it."

Mom takes child to basement, hands him a cracker and instructs him to put it in the container.

Child won't take cracker.  Child reaches for mom, mom rejects, child cries.

Mom lets child sit in her lap and tries again with the cracker.

Child eats cracker.

Mom says "Seriously!!"  Throws hands in the air and gets out the vacuum.  Tries to make child do the task but realizes that he's not strong enough to push it.

"Oy with the poodles!"

Ben 1, Mom 0
Rematch is just around the corner I'm sure.

My son is a goober.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Happens at Two?

Can someone please tell me what happens to the child's brain when he/she turns two?

What is it that clicks into place and they decide that all good behavior previously exhibited and that the parents have come to expect is now to be thrown out the window and replaced by complete and utter chaos?

Why can't the couch cushions actually stay on the couch?  Why do all the toys need to be thrown down the stairs?  Why does water have to be spit out of the mouth rather than swallowed?

What happens at two to make your child decide that instead of going to sleep when you lovingly put them down to bed at their regular bed time, you know the one that hasn't been a problem for well over a year now, that one that allows the parents of said child a few hours together to collect thoughts, wind down for the night, and actually reflect on how much they love their child... why does that seem impossible to do?  Why is it a better idea to spend an hour or two jumping in said bed rather than sleeping in said bed?  Alternately crying out in mock duress to get the parents attention while throwing everything out of the crib including the sock monkey that the child can't seem to be able to get to sleep without.

What happens that makes it so that food suddenly becomes a hassle instead of something enjoyable, which actually was the case previous to turning two?  Something to endure a few bites of so said child can get on to other activities like spitting out water, throwing things down the stairs, or begging for one more showing of Toy Story? All the while getting ornery because they actually are hungry but can't seem to associate satisfied belly with a satisfied mood which is what parents are really going for, especially mom who will be spending the rest of the day with said child and having to put up with said orneriness and thus getting more and more frustrated when child will not cooperate and even pretend to try to keep the d@mn scrambled egg (which he loves by the way) in his mouth for more than two seconds.

What happens at two that makes a parent who thought that she was doing a pretty good job overall suddenly feel like a failure.  One who cannot keep her child under control.  One who just does not know what the crap she's doing and finds herself desperately wanting to escape reality for just a little while by getting lost in a book or a good movie but can't because the cushions on the couch are missing?

Am I coming off too strong?  Too frustrated?  Too needy?

Suggestions are welcome. Real ones.  And for the love of all that's holy please oh please do not tell me that it just gets worse cause that will actually not help at all.  I already know that it will get worse.  I know that the time will go quickly because it seems like yesterday that he was just a babe in my arms instead of this little person running around with such a big personality.  I know the weeks and months will fly by, but the days?  The hours that are here right now?  They seem like an eternity to get through, especially when I'm putting the cushions back on the couch for the umpteenth time.