children, mommyhood, terrible threes

Options

My friend who reads my blog regularly (thank you, thank you) came over for lunch. She is raising boys as well and while hers are much older, she has much wisdom to dispel on the subject. Of course I am all ears. I implemented some of her suggestions with varying degrees of success. The first one was to simply tell Full Speed my expectation and to do so only once. If he complied then he would be rewarded, if not then no reward.

When we arrived at school I told him that I wanted him to say ‘good morning, ma’am’ to the school’s receptionist. Oftentimes he is running about talking silly and he doesn’t address her properly. I told him this once and he didn’t do it. I didn’t make a big deal but later that day I told him that meant he didn’t earn a privilege he had wanted. The next day it clicked for him and every day since. He stops in front of the reception area and greets her with respect. So, there’s my progress.

My friend’s other suggestion concerning my constant power struggle to get little T.Puzzle’s shoes on before we head out the door, was to put his shoes on while he is watching his morning cartoon. That way he is distracted and the shoes are on when I shut down the tv and it is time for us to leave.

I put the show on, grabbed the shoes and with great care and stealth tried to slip on his shoes. In the instant he saw me and the shoes he gets up screaming from the couch and runs away to hide.

My friend never once suggested that I be the one to run away and hide, but I’m telling you, on the days that start with tantrums, ‘I nots!’, and general defiance, it doesn’t seem like a half-bad option.

I’ll keep listening, learning and trying different things. Eventually something will click or we will have to move to a place where it is culturally acceptable be barefoot.

children, mommyhood, tantrums

Make It or Break It

We decide to go out to eat. My Dad is in town visiting and he requested a meal of fish. We had an overall successful family outing to Tae Kwon Do so Mad Dog and I felt confident the boys could handle a longer drive to go to a slightly (very slightly) upscale fish market for lunch.

We arrive and everything is going somewhat smoothly. We are seated waiting to order and Full Speed is playing with some hot-wheels cars while little T.Puzzle is coloring.  The boys are full of motion but are being quiet and entertaining themselves. I am taking this moment to attempt to read the menu. My Dad says, “Is he supposed to be coloring on that?”

I look up and see that little T.Puzzle is coloring all over the white linen tablecloth.

“You color on the paper, NOT on the tablecloth!” I say emphasizing my point by dramatically gesturing where and where not he can color.

He looks me squarely in the eye and without dropping a beat, colors on the tablecloth. Now, the waitress is at our table waiting for our order. She sees me lean in and threaten T.Puzzle with edgy vehemence. I realize that I must come across as a scary, intimidating Mom but I power forward. The waitress doesn’t know of T.Puzzle’s recent, defiant behavior and I can’t let the judgment of the world stop my discipline.

Once the order is complete, T.Puzzle again starts in with the tablecloth coloring. I hastily grab his crayons, toss them on the table and yank the kid out of the booth. I tell him he is heading to time-out. As I walk toward the front I grab his legs and heave him up in a disobedient ball. He is yelling and kicking and all the other fine diners are looking at us like he is a complete psychopath. I get him to the front and realize in my haste I left his coat and hat at the table. Normally, in Florida you can bypass the coat and hat but we are in a cold snap. It’s thirty degrees and overcast. He’s been sick so much I realize I’m stuck inside for the duration for what I am certain is going to be a doozy of a tantrum (it reached a level 8). People from the bar were peering at his ruckus, the hostess was politely trying not to make direct eye contact with me and I wanted to throw a tantrum of my own (I was thinking only a level 3 or 4).

Is it just me or am I the only Mom in the throes of a massive power struggle with her child? Full Speed started in on me when he was a year and a half.  T.Puzzle has since picked up the slack when Full Speed finally began to fight me a little bit less. I know my time is coming that every day and every situation won’t be a knock-down, drag-out battle of the wills.

I don’t think I will make it.