Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Terrible Two's

See that sweet, adorable little girl? Don't be fool - she's a Terrible Two's nightmare. I'm having such a hard time with Edith right now. She's definitely pushing the limits (and my patience) to see how far she can go and what she can get away with. It is driving me ca-razy! Besides regular two-year-old antics, I think she is too smart for her own good. I know all parents say "Oh, my kid is so smart!" But Edie always seems to find a way to outwit me.

One rule in our house is no television before breakfast. I am working really hard to enforce sit-down breakfasts every morning at the dining room table. Edie would rather munch on dry cereal in the living room while watching "Curious George." She kept asking me to turn the TV on the other morning, and I told her no, not until after breakfast. The damn kid figured it out herself when I wasn't looking, and threw a complete temper-tantrum when I turned the TV off and made her sit and eat her breakfast. Or how about the time she learned how to make Chocolate Milk herself (thanks Grammie and Papa)? I've got plenty of stories like this - if you are ever completely bored, email me and I'll make you chuckle with her antics.

Edie was sleeping in a crib (with the mattress all the way down basically to the floor) until recently, when she fell while climbing out and smacked her face right on the hardwood floor. I have never seen a bigger goose-egg or a blacker, more swollen eye (it was completely shut at one point! Thankfully nothing was broken). Now she's in a toddler/day bed, and it's been a nightmare! She won't nap or sleep, and instead pulls all the books off the shelf, rips the curtain rods out of the wall (yes, this happened), "zings" her brother while he is sleeping in the same room, and spreads baby powder/lotion/diaper cream over every possible surface. Fun! Needless to say, what was once a beautifully decorated nursery is now an empty cell with a toddler bed, crib and dresser (with drawers tied closed!).

Mealtimes, bathtimes, and working on potty training typically results in her punching, hitting, kicking and screaming (with subsequent time-outs). Sometimes I think, "It's okay. She's two and this is what two-year-olds do. She's just testing her boundaries." Sometimes I think, "She's bored with me. The babysitters always say she's been outstanding and so nice and polite. Maybe she needs more time at the sitters or to go to Pre-school." Sometimes I think (usually while I lock myself in the bathroom and cry a little), "This kid is the Spawn of Chuckie, and it's getting worse because now Eric is picking up on the behavior, too!" Here are some things I've tried and some "rules" I've established:

1. All meals have to be eaten at the table. No snacking between meals (she's getting better about eating)
2. Don't yell at her - it just shows that yelling is okay. When she is bad, give her a warning, then put her in time-out.
3. When time out is over, tell her why she was "punished" and receit the rules with her (no kicking, no hitting, no pushing, no yelling, be nice!).
4. When she is naughty or acting out, don't engage her or react (she is only looking for attention - see rule 2). Give her lots of positive reinforcement and love when she behaves.
5. Spanking is right out. See rule 2.
6. Try to spend more one-on-one time with her, both in the house and away from the house (I'm thinking of taking her to see the new Cars 2 - sometimes, she can be incredibly good, if it's something she wants to do).
7. Try to find a pre-school that will take her once or twice a week (this has been tough, she is already at the sitter's house Tuesday and Thursday).

Anyone else out there going through this? Have you already gone through this? Any tips, hints, or suggestions for me? Don't get me wrong, Edie can be a absolutely perfect child sometimes (saying, "Please," "Thank You," "No, Thank You," and giving lots of hugs, kisses and smiles. I'm just really struggling with her right now (it makes me feel like an absolute shit mom) and I would LOVE your advice! You all seem to be such smarties. Even if you don't have kids, but know something, I'm happy to hear it!

Thanks lovies, you are the best-ests ever!


Prippy Handbook said...

She is adorable... but mischief wears patience thin for sure!

Since I'm not yet a mom, I got nothing in terms of advice... but a glass of wine and a bath once she is asleep!

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

Hi Tara, yes, she is a cutie, and she uses it to her full advantage. Booze is always a good mother's helper :-)

Charlene said...

It all sounds so familiar. She'll probably grow up and go to Duke one day, so don't despair. ;)

Lynn said...

First off, she's totally adorable and I'm sure so super smart - look at her mommy! ;)

Now to give you the bad news - everyone told me how terrible the "terrible twos" were but no one warned me that the threes were a million times worse. I really hate to say that but I foolishly put a lot of hope in the fact that as the boys turned three things would magically change (ok I know logically it's not that easy but I was still hoping) and it was like they knew the second they turned three to turn into a terror.

Your rules are good ones and pretty much the same ones we have at our house. We also ask the boys to be respectful and responsible and always remind them "you get what you get and you don't pitch a fit". I've also got a little manners poster at home on the fridge as a gentle reminder.

I also do a reward system with the boys. I find something they both like (silly bands, money, time on the computer to play a game, ect)and they earn the item throughout the week. With your little one, I'd probably do it by day or half a day (before lunch and after lunch maybe). Set a goal with her for something special she would like to earn and define how she'll earn the prize (when I started, I rewarded EVERY good act with a prize or sticker towards the goal and slowly weaned down as the good behavior improved). The toughest part for me is sticking to my guns and not letting them do the special activity when they've really put in the effort. Just make sure you're willing to do/buy/whatever the special prize is (there's no point in telling her she can have a puppy if you're not going that day to get one). The same type of thing can work for potty training but if you're going to do one for behavior and potty training, I would try to make them different (like give her something each time she goes potty and earn stickers for good behavior towards a prize) so there's no confusion. Once she catches on, you can add to the mix and if she earns x number of prizes in y number of days, she gets a bigger, better prize. (You'll know if she would get this or not)

Hopefully that helps a little bit. If you've got any questions, let me know. :) If you find something else that works better, please share your secret! lol

renée said...

uh oh, is this what i have to look forward to? what a tough situation. good thing she is so cute! not very helpful. i like what lynn has to say.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

@Lynn - I'm going to use the sticker chart idea for sure! Great thought from a great momma.

@Renee - Don't worry, she's getting better. Hopefully little Miss V will skip this phase altogether!