Saturday, September 4, 2010

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble

Hello Wit’s End…it’s me Amy. I am here. I am currently looking for my sanity. Have you seen it? I can’t even remember the last time I have. If you find it, please send it my way. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be mine. If you see any sanity just running around – send it my way. I am about to lose it. Big time.

This about sums up everything since my last post. I know I promised cute pictures of Louisa and funny stories, well…they just didn’t happen. It is much easier for me to deal/blog about the funny things, so I would much rather have those too – but Louisa has a different plan I see.

I have a toddler. A 3 and half year old little girl with fire running through her veins. She is spunky, she is wild, she is manipulative and she is bad. But, on the other hand, she is sweet as pie. I just don’t get it. But I do know this…there hasn’t been one day in the last 2 weeks in which I didn’t want to string her upside-down in the backyard by her toes.

I think first and foremost is her sleeping issues. I wont go into detail here since I just don’t feel like it and I have talked about it before a dozen times, but if I could just have one night of sleep, maybe just 6 hours – I think we would both have different perspective. Over the years, I have learned to live with not much sleep, but now I am pregnant – and so far the only thing I have been craving is sleep. And, I don’t get it here. Louisa, on the other hand functions just fine other than turning into a fragile-meltdown-waiting-to-happen every day. She has napped maybe twice in the last two weeks. Most people would say since she is this age she is just phasing out her naps. And that would be fine…IF she slept for more than 3 hours at a time at night. She NEEDS this nap, I NEED this nap and when it doesn’t happen and then we have bad nights…we have bad days.

Byron has been in Honduras this last week and is coming home today. I cannot even begin to express my excitement over him coming home. I don’t know if it is just maybe to have someone else on my side, or to see the damage or just to help with the discipline. Which, discipline is a whole other story. I still have yet to find a technique that works for her. People tell me over and over, you need to be consistent. Trust me, we are consistent – Byron and I are both disciplinarians and we don’t play. But, she could care less. The one thing I am big on is not having empty threats, when I threaten, I follow through. In fact, I sometimes have people stare at me when I discipline my child and I know what is going through their heads, and I just want to scream at them…you have NO idea. None. Here are the things I try and implement on a daily basis and how she reacts to them. Please, any suggestions or ideas are wanted here.

Time Out – this one is just about the least effective. She will sit in a corner and make it fun. She will sing, and I tell her to stop. So, she hums…well, I tell her to stop. So she moves her hands like dancing, I tell her to stop and she does and then moves her head…do you see a pattern here? The manipulation kills me. Usually, time out ends in a spanking because she is being so disobedient.

Taking Away Privileges – I remember this one being big for me as a child. When you are young, you know the things you enjoy and when you cannot play or have them, it is awful. Well, at least it was for me. Louisa on the other hand – just finds it a way to bring her sass to the mix. For example – I take away her crayons and markers as punishment for something she has done. Do you know what happens then; she crosses her arms and says, “Well, I don’t likes to color anyways.” These are the moments when my toes curl in my shoes and I find my fists clinching and I need to go count to 10. She is 3, why is she so manipulative? I just don’t understand. I could get it if she ran rampant with no rules, but that is not the case here. She has rules, and she is punished. Ugh, it is so frustrating.

Spanking – an oldie, but not necessarily a goodie in our house. I made a decision when I had a child to only use spanking as a last resort. And I do. However, I use it in threats and it seems to be effective, ie. “Louisa if you talk back to me that way again you will get a spanking and you will sit in your bedroom in the corner.” I’d say I only have to spank 1 out of 3 times. Well, one time when I did…she turned to look at me and said, “dat din hurt Mommy.” I mean, what do you do at that point? Honestly, I wanted to spank harder, but that was beside the point at the time. I would only be spanking again to prove myself, and if I did…I would only be stooping to her level and ultimately feel bad about it later. Other times when I spank, one would think a lashing was occurring with the amount of dramatics that follow. In the words of my Grandmom Kay, Oh dear me.

The whole “I am disappointed in you” talk – this one is one I have implemented just recently. I figured if she is going to act like she is older, she may understand this more. After bad behavior, I will sit her down and have this talk in which I almost make her feel guilty. Is this wrong? If so, I guess it doesn’t really matter since it hasn’t seemed to work yet.

I mean, wits end. End of the rope, you name it. Just recently it has been awful, and not just since Byron has been gone. I remember him having a talk with her before he left about listening to Mommy and being on her best behavior, etc. It just seems that nothing goes through to her. I am just so tired, impatient and over it all right now that I just have no tolerance left. I asked myself one night as I lay wide awake in bed if I was setting too high of standards for her as I tend to do so with myself sometimes. But, I don’t really think so. I understand completely that toddlers will test their boundaries and that is just part of life and I get that. What I don’t get is the obvious lack of respect, bull-headedness and sass that comes forth from this sweet little thing. I know I am not the only one out there with a child that can sometimes drive them crazy, but I seriously have no clue what else to do. I get so tired of getting on to her. It is like she sticks her fingers in her ears when I talk to her. I wouldn’t know what to do if I went just one day without having to yell at her, punish her or get on to her about something. It is just wearing me out and making me scared to death to think that come February I will be bringing a second one into the mix.

So, other moms…I am reaching out big time. What do you do? What do you find that works? I know there are other readers out there with sassafras-drama-queens because you comment to me about them, please help me out here.

So, to end this I will give you 2 pictures from the last week. The first is a picture of something I cherish, my child asleep. Nothing better in the world, especially not when she sleeps about as often as a blue moon.

The second makes me smile. My two sweet doggies waiting for handouts of boiled peanuts from my Dad. Don’t worry – Lucy was not dis-obeying her confinement rules, we had her on the leash and she stayed seated in front of the peanuts. :)

Until next time…when I REALLY hope to have funny stories again, but you know…you take the good with the bad.

Oh, and PS – today is my birthday. My birthday usually means 1 of 3 things. Hurricane evacuation, SEC football debut or Labor Day. Today, the Dawgs play. It is gorgeous outside and I hope to get out there and enjoy it. So, happy 29th to me (again) and here’s to a great football season, Go Dawgs!


Ashley said...

i am right there with you with my 4 year old. nothing works. yes, i am consistant. yes, i have tried everything. i don't know what to tell you. i am exhausted and stumped myself.

Misty said...

Girl, I most def don't have the discipline thing down either. Just as soon as I think I have it figured out, he switches up his game! I HAVE found, however, that if he's in time out, he will do things to attract my attention and further infuriate me. I have to swallow my tongue dozens of time, and all I do during time out is put him back in the corner if he moves. I don't tell him to go back because sometimes he thrives on my frustration, and if I talk at all, he definitely hears the tension in my voice. I just walk over to him, grab his shoulders, and guide him back to his spot. At first, time out was a big joke for him, but I had to find just the right spot to put him in. It definitely wasn't in his room, and he can not see the tv screen from this spot. I can watch him even if I'm working in three surrounding rooms, so it doesn't halt everything I'm doing just because he can't behave.

Spankings mean nothing to him when they're from me. I, too, had to catch myself when I'd want to "prove" to him that I could make the spanking hurt. I knew I'd put plenty of force into it to discipline him, so I've limited them because they just aren't as effective.

I know this sounds totally crazy, and believe me it is probably the HARDEST thing I do sometimes, but if I'm kind to him even when I'm sleep deprived or he's a moody booty, it almost zaps all disciplinary problems for the day. He's so smart, and he knows when I'm tired and moody. It's almost like he's trying to empathize with me by being just as short tempered and moody as me. I realized I was fouling up both of our days, and then on top of that, Brandon would come home to find us in our sad, frustrated state. Initially, I thought it would be so draining to be nice even when I didn't feel like it, and he didn't "deserve" it, but I've found that it's a lot less draining than being frustrated all day.

I can totally identify with the frustration of raising a toddler while being pregnant... and trying to work from home... and keeping the house from becoming a dump. I thought MANY times that it would be easier to find a full-time job outside of the home while I was pregnant. It's so easy when it's just you and the kids to feed off of one another's emotions all day, whether they are good or bad.

Amanda Jones said...

Girl, I feel your pain....Colby is the SAME way, it's actually kinda scary!!

We always said we would never spank but caved in as a last result but after only a week we noticed that spankings brought out even worse behaviors. He was aggressive and angry and we realized we were breaking our trust and he was fearing us, so we quit and never attempted that again.

Colby does the same thing in time-out (living room) so we took all his toys out of his room and put them in the playroom and now he goes to his room for 15 minutes (the one min per age rule is a JOKE for him!) This is much more effective since he has nothing to play with and feels like he is missing out on good times!

We also made a rule chart of only 5 rules: Obey, no whining, no arguing, no yelling, and treat people with love. He knows if he breaks a rule, it's a 15 minute time out in his room. He also has a sticker chart and I will randomly acknowledge that he hasn't broken any rules in a long time and he gets a sticker to work towards a reward!

He is one strong-willed little booger and he works my patience to no end but I try to remind myself that God will use that strong-will for a good cause one day and I pray pray pray for guidance!!

Good luck girl...let me know if you find any good methods that I can steal!!

derek and brittney said...

Beckett has started talking back or "sassy" talk as I call it a lot these days. I have found that just threatening to wash his mouth out with soap is enough to curb the behavior at least a little. I just showed him a bar of soap and told him I would put it in his mouth if he talks ugly and he seems to be so offended by the idea that he straightens up when I mention it:)

Sara said...

If you're interested in reading anything, you can look into Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman and the website

Sarah Broadus said...

Sassy Sauce is the only thing that works in our house. A jar of white vinegar. When they whine just to whine, sas back, disobey...any thing that breaks our "house rules" they get a teaspoon of sassy sauce then in time out for the allotted age time. It has worked so far. 2x each and they are getting the point. Spanking (which I hate) is the least effective. Taking things away worked once. I cleaned out their room and they had to earn back each toy. It was a longggg month =)

Elissa said...

I have always had an extremely strong-willed child from the first few days of his birth until today at his ripe old age of 4. He is the son of a 5th yr surgery resient and so I have many days I'm at the verge of a meltdown myself. I did find one book which helped me if nothing else to feel not alone in this strong-willed journey. I'm not sure if you would like it or not, but I will throw it out there..."The new Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. Dobson.

Good luck sweetie, and hang in there...I should add I also have another crazy boy who is 20 months old, not quite like his brother, but close at times :-)!

meggie said...

Hey Amy, I'm actually from Barnesville and grew up in the same youth group as Byron. I discovered your blog through Megan Lenhart and love reading your posts. You are a great writer! Anyway, I have a 19 month old so I can't offer much from personal experience but I do have a strong- willed 3 year old niece whose parents have done a pretty great job with. My sister-in-law actually uses a reward system that's been really effective. My niece earns Chuck E. Cheese tokens, quarters (that eventually add up to dollars) to spend at the dollar section at Target or Michael's, etc. They use time out as a negative consequence and I'm pretty sure they ignore her unless she trys to get up. I also have some friends who use some great ideas from the book Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel. Please share what you discover that works... I'm sure I'll need ideas soon!