Thursday, May 7, 2009


Boy, it has been an intense week. Both kids are really pushing
boundaries, testing authority (mine) and developing in leaps and
bounds. There is a lot of screaming that is inconsolable; mostly this
starts when Pequita is foiled in some way, or - god help me - I HELP
her when she wants to do something by herself. Once she is wailing
with tears streaming, snot bubbling, body stiff and uncuddleable, then
Monito decides that he is also stressed and joins in the festivities,
matching his sister in volume and vigor. If Monito starts the cycle,
then his sister chimes in after a while. Ack.

To their credit, they *mostly* save the really good tantrums for the
house. I like to think that they feel safe there and can relax into
the morass of feelings that must be swirling through their brains in
times of meltdown. I do give them space to feel all their rage and
frustration, to make a lot of noise and express themselves in whatever
way they need to, but have also created a time line so that this
doesn't keep going. We have a house rule now that they are allowed
to carry on for a little while in the general population, but if they
can't pull it together pretty quickly AND refuse any help/ comfort,
then they have to go upstairs and finish their fit in their room. This
generally is pretty unpopular and brings on a hastened end to the
episode. Monito hasn't ever been escorted upstairs, but Pequita has
had a few trips to solitary. Usually she is sniffling and calling to
me from the top stair within 3 minutes. I want to point out that the
refusal to accept any comfort is the key to being sent upstairs- I
feel awful and punitive sending them away from me and I hate to do it,
but when they are really over the top they are typically biting and
hitting too, and I can't let them do that to me and their sibling. I
guess this is the part of parenting that is hard now but pays off?
The part that parents of kids who end up on "Super Nanny" can't bring
themselves to do and end up creating little tyrants and monsters? It
makes me feel like a bad parent, wrong, lonely, punitive and just
generally unpleasant all around. It is the thing that makes me doubt
myself more than anything.

EXCEPT for the spanking. Whoops! Did I just say that? Yup, I've gone
there. Monito is the only recipient of this little 'correction'
technique of which I am so ashamed. A couple times for running right
into moving traffic, scaring the bejebus out of me and the oncoming
driver and then laughing. I know he isn't laughing because he thinks
its funny; he probably doesn't know what to think or do. And I imagine
the level of excitement I am exhibiting is overwhelming to him. BUT it
can't happen. Pequita is not a darter-into-traffic, or the
what-else-can-I-stick-into-the-electrical-outlet kid, Monito is. Last
night I spanked him because he climbed on the table and knocked over
the $400 stained glass lamp* that he knows is off limits. I heard it,
walked into the living room and asked what had happened, and both kids
pointed to Monito; I lost it. In my limited defense, I've been a solo
parent for much of the last 5 days with no break or help. Homestead
Mama's grandma had a stroke last week and H-Mama has spent three of
the last five days hours away spending time with Lillian as she slips
away, either staying away overnight or not returning until after we
are all asleep. This is as it should be, but I've been a little thinly
stretched at times. After the lamp incident, later in bed while
snuggling and reading books, I talked about it with the kids and
apologized for getting so angry and losing control, but I still wish I
could have a do-over. I was up at 6:30 this morning and got to see my
beloved as she was leaving for work, and she pointed out, gently, that
since he owned up to the naughty act it may have been better to talk
it out and not punish the honesty. Duh. That didn't even occur to me
at the time.

My parents are arriving tomorrow for the long weekend, and I'll get a
respite. I've also arranged for a friend to start babysitting once or
twice a week starting tomorrow morning at 8am so I can clean a bit
before my parents arrive. We'll see how it goes.

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Becca said...

YES! I am so happy to hear that *my* two year old is not the only one who has turned into a wild animal recently. I may try the solitary confinement technique because there is a limit to my ability to stay upbeat and nurturing when a child is screaming for the fourth time in the day because "his toast broke" into two (still perfectly edible) pieces. Time to learn some resilience, kid. It's toast for God's sake.

I do agree that it is this part where the parents who make it to Super Nanny go wrong. They need the structure now more than ever. Even though I feel more like giving up more than ever by the end of most days! To use my previous example, my thought process goes like this: "Two minutes to make another piece of toast and save the rest of the morning from tearful hysterics. Sixteen more years of wasted toast, etc, because I haven't taught him how to handle disappointment."

I am just glad one of my kids is not awash in a sea of growth hormones. I cannot imagine having two toddlers. So glad you are getting some relief this weekend! You've earned it.

Grandma said...

Hang on! Help is on its way. Just think two extra pair of hands. We can wisk them away and provide one on one attention for them both.
I must say your father could not stand the tantrums of a two year old and was rather heavy handed with the quick punishment of a swat on the butt. However this meant that I got to see the tantrums when I had you to myself. Kids have to let off steam sometimes, don't they. It is so hard to cope on some days. Don't worry about house too much. We are adaptable and Dad will not even notice. Love you and see you soon. Plan to escape for a lunch out with me.

Alison Williams said...

OK, I am now feeling like a mean-freak. See, I get SO angry when Harry bites, that I relish speaking very loudly and crossly, putting him rather firmly on the floor in another room so that he gets really upset. I am not satisfied until he is beside himself crying... I can then calm down, it takes about a minute, and then we make up. I figure a minute for each year of age. Nearest & Dearest HATES to see him upset. He bites her a lot more than me! Given that I really feel ENRAGED sometimes, I am glad that my compulsion is to get him away from me, as I don't think I have much control in those 30 seconds...
BTW, your parents are awesome! They can come visit me anytime ;-)