I’ve gotten so many ‘comments’ on Blue’s photo on FB – I decided to throw it up here. Really, this needs a post on parenting a little body full of energy. We’re in it and THICK.
Lots of strategizing going one, some questioning (adoption related stuff – amped up behaviors – attachment significant?), a little refocusing, and mostly just buckling down with consistency and structure. To be honest, I’m just struggling to keep it cool. Today (well, and a few other days before this, I admit) I wanted to play it hard and stern – but I know from experience that my version of ‘hard and stern’ is not a good parenting strategy. I don’t think it works for me – I prefer “yes” parenting to “no” parenting. And, I know how to use the “I mean business” voice, but I don’t want that voice to become so common or ordinary that it becomes MY mothering voice. That isn’t to say I didn’t (or don’t) test the waters, but gosh going off “the plan” with time out this and time out that and “NO!” always feels TERRIBLE! There are other ways (calm and consistent would be my preference) to work the room with Blue. I’d like to save “NO!” for “Stop – he’s about to touch a hot stove!” I’m needing a little perspective here, so I can move forward with a little lift in my step.
Truth? I’m exhausted. Flat out…worn out. My age and his status as only child most certainly play into the scene. Work and some other worries/preoccupations add grist to the mill. I think I need to make some changes to do a better job parenting Blue through this moment (yeah, because I do believe that this is one moment, to be replaced by another…and I’ll look back and wonder why the “h-e-double hockey sticks” I was all messed up about this moment? I’m a seasoned enough parent to get this intellectually, but not a seasoned enough person to have it all roll off my back right now).
Some of this stuff comes with the move from the crib to his big boy bed. Whose great idea was that anyway? (It was mine – full disclosure). I *think* we have a little of the “Advance” – – “Regress” dynamic going on. Sweet Fairy Godmother mentioned, “Oh, so he’s going to have to learn some self regulation – that’s new!” Hmmmm. Yes. (Put that in brain and HOLD!) The potty has been a focus of interest too – mostly his interest – so there’s another place to advance/regress. I have noticed increasing requests for his bottle during ‘not bottle’ times (like in the middle of the day, or after breakfast). Clues – – he’s working something out. This is NOT the time to check out myself.
The thing is, I feel like I’m losing ground. Today I felt defeated by his intensity and his persistence (in throwing, hitting, objecting, redirecting, avoiding, derailing…you get the idea?). OK, well he wasn’t biting and kicking and yelling icky things at me…but we might have gotten there, or we might get there tomorrow. Wait, I just thought about it…yes, he was hitting me. He took a stamp pad and whacked my arm with it. I think he yanked cushions off the couch and threw them on me too. In the midst of these events, I’m feeling like I’m losing my grip, not really feeling like I’m digging in and staying the course.
I’m putting together some strategies/reminders:
1. More plans on days we’re home solo – because being home is not enough for his budding little social self. I think, too, we need more faces that mirror his own reflection. I’m going to be more diligent about that. I need to find places where he and I can interact in more social environments (I mean to say, good stimulating time for the two of us that is fun and also satisfies his own social curiosities – it’s not that he’s a super social guy, but he does like to witness the world).
2. Coffee at 3:00 every day – skim latte is my preference. It WILL help with my energy. I need some help. Sad. True.
3. Some additional consequences for certain behaviors; objects that get thrown around the house just for the ‘fun of it’ will get put up and away for their own ‘time out’ (he’s not throwing things at me/us – he’s just tossing them around – – testing?).
4. I’m not a huge fan of time out, so we’ll work a little harder at “work it out” solutions. I don’t like the punative piece of time out – but I have to develop a stronger routine for “work it out” or “take a break” moments. And seriously, if anyone needs a time out, it’s ME. (We had a funny ‘work it out’ moment at the apple orchard; he refused to let anyone but me pull the wagon and he refused to walk. Finally we did a work it out plan and he got out of the wagon to walk for a bit <the plan was calm and positive>. He looked at me and said, “OK mom, now you can pull that wagon for a couple of years all by yourself.” Nice plan, Blue!).
5. IF he is going to be giving up his nap, I need some happy/quiet alternatives so I can lay on the couch/my bed/the floor/near his train table and get some easy shut-eye for 20 minutes. I’m not sure what he’ll do ‘solo’ and happily – but a rest time in his room has got to get in the picture, because I can’t go all day without my own little nap deprived melt-down.
6. Add to my list? Thank you.
7. Oh yeah, isn’t my littlest kid AMAZING? Really, verve – he’s got it!!!!