This has been a challenging week. I can tell that I am not in the best of moods to start with – hormonal and cranky – and Kate is pushing my buttons. I know it’s just the age and what toddlers do, but I feel unprepared for constantly arguing with my kid.
First of all we turned off the TV. The Elmo-demanding had increased to such a level that we were not only not okay with how much TV she was watching but her attitude frankly sucked. Enough is enough and so we are going through what I affectionately call “Elmo detox.” She’s allowed one Sesame Street episode in the morning – I seriously need that time to wake up and get my head on straight – and one before bed. Then it goes off for the day. She was clearly not happy about it at all and begged all day long for Elmo, but I think she realized from the start that we were resolute this time and she wasn’t going to change our minds because she didn’t throw a tantrum about it like she has previously. On the down side I now have to find ways to occupy an extremely bored toddler all day, but now when she says, “Elmo?” and I say, “No, not now,” she lets it drop and goes to find something else to do.
The tantrums… let’s talk about the tantrums. She’s not a terrible tantrumer like others I’ve seen/heard, she doesn’t throw herself to the ground or anything, but she definitely has the screechy wail, the hysterics, the huge tears and sobs. And it just seems to go on and on and on. I admit I roll my eyes a lot. Today she was throwing a fit about me not retrieving an old paci from under her crib so I left the room, told her to have fun. Miraculously, minutes later she was quietly – and happily – reading books off her bookshelf all by herself. Tantrums are apparently less fun when there is no one watching.
A huge tantrum trigger right now is the freakin’ bathroom. She is OBSESSED with water, and by obsessed I mean if she gets into the bathroom she’s climbing up on her stool to reach the sink, and if she sees us using a sink she says, “Hands? Hands?” and tries climbing our legs. So the bathroom is this huge point of contention because as soon as the door is cracked open she makes a beeline for the sink. And if I dare say, “No Kate, not right now, lets go,” say perhaps because I just had to grab my hairbrush or do a quick pee or something, then she starts up the hysterics. This is extremely unfortunate timing because with me being pregnant and all I have to use the bathroom like fifty times a day, and each time I’m playing linebacker to a toddler and then dealing with the sobbing aftermath. I do let her play in the sink once or twice a day, since it does a great job of occupying her and it’s a fun activity to play, but not only does she get drenched in the process but so does everything in the room. So I only do that once, maybe twice. The rest of the time I am that mean mom who tells her no.
No is being said a lot lately. I never really had to say no very often to Kate, and she always listened when I said not to touch something. Oh how that has changed. She has entered the toddler stage of, “Oh, you asked me not to touch that? It must be cool to play with, then! Let’s do it some more and laugh as you get angry!” We had several instances today where when I warned her not to touch something she looked straight at me, put her hand on the object, and then laughed when my voice got sharp. She suddenly doesn’t seem to care when I pull out the mean mommy voice, which leaves me at a complete loss. That ALWAYS worked. I found myself arguing with her a few times before realizing that I’m being an idiot, I’m the mom, and taking the object away. You want to keep touching mama’s pen and drawing on her work notes? Pen goes away. You want to keep banging on mama’s laptop keyboard when she tells you not to? Computer goes away. You want to draw on the floor instead of your notepad? Crayons go away. Oh there have been a lot of tantrums, yes there have been. But at least it makes an impact on her, rather than her blatantly ignoring my voice.
She’s also moving into the independence phase. She now wants to walk herself from our door to the car – which is an issue because when I need to turn around and lock the front door she’s trying to go down the porch steps by herself. Though I must say if she’s going to pick a time to insist on walking, me heading into my third trimester of pregnancy is a great time for that. I do have to still live her up into her carseat (our SUV is too tall for her to climb in), which she is not thrilled about, however I can distract her by getting her to help me buckle her in. She now does the chest clip herself, and she is so super proud of it! It takes a lot longer than me doing it, but it’s helpful to have her working with me rather than fighting me. (She also has a toy phone that lives in the car so she’s always asking for her “fo” soon as she’s buckled in… that keeps her happy, too!)
She has recently figured out how to use a spoon properly. She’s been using a spoon for sticky things like yogurt, but she was tilting the spoon a lot. Well now she’s figured out how to feed herself keeping the spoon level, and thus keeping things on the spoon. She can eat soup! (Though tomato soup? Not the best choice.) And our morning now usually consists of oatmeal, since she seems excited that she can do that by herself. And that’s fine with me, that gives me a chance to eat something!
The walking by herself thing is more stressful in stores, as she will only hold my hand for so long before attempting to wander off on her own. Today I stopped at staples to photocopy something and that was kind of hellish. She wouldn’t let me hold her, I had to give some attention to the photocopy machine, and she kept trying to run off every time I turned my back, so I ended up standing there poking at the copier’s buttons while holding her arm as she squirmed and sagged to the floor and loudly protested.
She is okay in her stroller for a while, but then she wants out. I learned to not make the mistake of taking her out of the stroller for a little bit and then trying to put her back in. I ended up walking down the mall pushing an empty stroller with one hand, carrying a wiggling, wailing toddler tucked under the other arm.
I used to be the awesome person. I was the magical adult who could do all kinds of wonderful things. Now? I am the person who says no. A lot. I make up stupid rules, like no eating random crap you pulled out of the garbage can, and no coloring on the hardwood floor, not to mention no climbing up on round, wobbly objects in order to pick up the xbox. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I really don’t like saying no. I hate hearing myself say no a thousand times a day. I would love to just make you happy all the time. But what you want and what is safe and acceptable, they are not exactly on the same page. So you will be continuing to hold my hand in parking lots, even though you’d rather not, and you will continue to not touch expensive pieces of equipment that are not yours, and you will continue to hear no a lot. This is something we’re just going to have to live with.
You do own a lot of toys. How about playing with them once in a while?