Friday, June 01, 2012

A Reminder to Myself

After two horrible days of feeling like my eldest had morphed into a crazy person overnight, I broke down and bought some parenting books.
It was that bad.

Surely I'm not the only one who needs direction on how to raise a hooligan who suddenly realized his abilities to climb onto counters, crawl into fridges, use closets as ladders, refuse to nap, hit, scream and challenge rules all overnight.

After I bought the books I thought, I bet whatever is in those books could probably be found online. Yes. Some quick internet research provided a few basic answers until my books arrive.

I learned my son is suffering from the "terrible twos," and I was relieved to learn I'm not alone in my parenting conundrum.

I understand the issue. He has this little mind going a million miles a minute. He wants to be into everything all the time. He has his own agenda. He can think faster than he can communicate. It's a lot for a pint-sized body (and me) to handle.

After reading several articles on toddlers, I implemented a few strategies today and found a couple very useful. I wanted to write them down in case I forget them I can come back here on the more defiant days and give myself a little reminder of things that might work.

1 - Your toddler is not an adult.

Sounds easy enough, but especially since I had Carson, I kind of expected Eli to instantly mature. I need to remember Eli's still a child, too and to stop expecting him to behave like an adult.

2 - Set rules and make the rules easy to keep.

The part that got me about this one is make the rules easy to keep. Again, part of treating him his age. The other day I told him not to climb in Carson's crib. He kept climbing in again and again and I kept putting him in time out. It would have saved me a lot of time out trouble if I would have just told him we don't climb in the crib and then diverted his attention somewhere else instead of allowing him to go right back to the crib again and again. Sounds obvious, but this one has really helped me.

3 - Kids want to make their parents happy.

This is kind of hard to believe when Eli is acting up, but when I tell myself he's acting up because he doesn't understand why we do or don't do certain things and that he's not acting up to make me mad, I'm able to be much more patient with him. When I give Eli the benefit of the doubt, it helps me better think about why he's acting a certain way and then I can find a better solution to our problems.

4 - Find opportunities to say yes.

I have been trying to avoid saying no just to say no, or to not do something he wants to do just because I'm being lazy. Like our battle with chocolate chips. They are so messy, but he absolutely loves them. I found that most of the time when he asked for them I said no because I didn't want to deal with the mess, yet I had been discreetly eating them behind his back. He deserves some chocolate chips, too, by golly. I found that if I told him he needs to wear a bib when he eats chocolate chips, he gladly lifts his chin for his bib to be put on and we both enjoy a handful of chocolate with an easy clean up. If there's not a good reason to say no, say yes.

Whew. There's everything I know about parenting. Right there. Four paragraphs long. Feel free to let me know any of your favorite tricks or helpful hints. Eli turns two on Monday and I'm determined to outsmart the terrible twos.

May the force be with me.


Eric and Justine said...

Those sound like great tips and guidelines to go by and will hopefully make life easier/happier for you both.
Any tips on getting newborns to sleep when its bedtime? Binky doesn't work all the time. Spits it out and cries for it to be put back in. Rocking usually know how that goes. Do you let Carson cry much?

sarah said...

Carson is super crabby right before he goes down for the night. For about an hour and a half he looks like he's asleep, but he wakes up several times before he's really down for the night.

Carson seems to do the best when he's swaddled with his binky in. If he starts crying, I go in and put his binky back in. If that doesn't work, then I rock him until he's calmed down and try laying him down again. Sometimes I have to nurse him several times right before bed before he'll go down.

I've also heard that even at this age bedtime routines help to calm them down at night. We don't have much of a routine yet, but I remember that helping a lot with Eli.

Good luck! I hate the sleep battle. Just when you think you've found something that works they seem to change!

Kim said...

I'm so glad you do your venting of your frustration with your cute little nearly-two-year-old on your blog. It is funny to read about all the things Eli does and says. Just think--you were two once, too, and I lived through it. You will make it. Just hang in there!

Rebecca said...

One of my parenting mantras is "I am in control." It helps me not cave in when my kids are spiraling out of control and throwing tantrums or demanding that their every whim is satisfied exactly to their ridiculous stipulations.

For example, if Caroline asks for a drink and I get her a cup, fill it with water, walk it over to her, give it to her, and she sees it and starts throwing a tantrum because she wanted a pink cup instead of a purple cup, I think, "I am in control." I then just tell her that I've already gotten her cup and she can drink that drink or be thirsty and I tell her that next time she wants a certain color cup she needs to tell me BEFORE I've filled it with water.

So there's my tip. But then again, you've seen how well I cope with my kids so you may want to take it with a grain of salt!

Eric and Justine said...

Sounds like we are on the same page. Maybe its what every mom with a new babe goes through. I think I'm going to try the routine thing. I've just debated what time to start it and what the routine should be. Anyway, thanks for replying to my comment. I too enjoy that you talk about what you go through with eli. You are an awesome mom Sarah!

David and Mary said...

I love the pictures you get of Eli with those mischievous faces! I can feel your pain, but it does get better. Keep feeding him chocolate chips and you should get along fine!

Anonymous said...

um... hang in there :) I don't have any good or simple advice for toddlers. I'll be borrowing your books in a few months.