Monday, June 16th, 2014
Any parent who has an addict for a child knows the pacifier is like crack. With Fia the crack was also my crutch. It could silence her in crucial moments–like on a 5-hour airplane where no one wants to sit next to a wailing baby. Or occasionally at a restaurant if she was cranky. We didn’t make her get rid of it until she was 3. But she was a rule-follower and knew the only time she could use it was naptime or bedtime, unless I specified otherwise.
Until recently Emmett followed the same protocol. But I could tell he was more attached, or maybe just not as much of a rule follower as Fia. He started to periodically sneak into his room and grab it from the crib and go racing down the hall, looking behind him to see how fast we were on his heels. He laughed and treated it like a game. But the minute we would take it away, he would start to wail. Then hit and throw things.
Then he got a bad cold and I basically let him have it all the time, thinking it was soothing him. Little did I know it was turning him into a beast. When he got better and we went back to the old routine, he would constantly ask for it or try to sneak into his room to get it. When we wouldn’t give in, he began to throw anything he could get his hands on–trains, his sippy cup, a fork, you name it. His pacifier was creating a monster. Still, I was scared to give it up. Looking back, I was just as addicted as he was.
Last week we went on a family vacation to Colorado (crying picture while making a snow-ant). We took the paci on the plane and he was great. But once again, as soon as we landed, he began wailing for it. Every hike we went on or family adventure, he was begging for it, eventually crying and screaming. I know realize this is the point as a parent where you give in all the time because you think it will make your life saner–or, you decide to take charge and set boundaries. We literally watched our funny, sweet boy become a complete terror over the paci. We gave in, thinking it would make it easier. But instead, I think it just made him more headstrong. He became bratty–verging on a nightmare child who was constantly tantruming.
As soon as we landed back home, we put on the Sesame Street episode, Bye Bye Binky. We also cued up the song on YouTube and he watched it over and over. Then we explained that in 3 days we were sending the paci to TT (his grandma) so she could give it to another baby. That’s the same thing we did with Fia. This week, on day 3, we will have him help us wrap it up and take it to the post office to bid farewell. Leading up to day 3, we have only let him have it in his crib.
Just putting up these parameters has already made a huge difference in his personality. Literally in 36 hours I already feel–and can see–we are getting our boy back. It’s also been incredibly eye opening to realize what a difference it makes when you take back control and set boundaries for your kids. He doesn’t want to be fussy, but a 2 1/2-year old has no impulse control or emotional range to understand how to regulate his moods. The only person who can really regulate them is you: the parent. Basically everything I’ve read about this in regard to 2-year behavior is true: they want, and more importantly, NEED boundaries. Leaving them unregulated or with false threats not only makes your life incredibly difficult and frustrating, but theirs too.
Tomorrow we will happily say bye bye binky and at least until the next curve ball is thrown, have our good boy back.
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binky, bye bye binky, pacifier, parental boundaries, parental guidance, rule follower, Sesame Street, soothing, tantrum, terrible two's, toddler tantrum, travel | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Monday, February 6th, 2012
Leaving the hospital with Baby Brother
I hate the sentence I’m about to write. But I’m going to do it anyway.
My two-year old is “mad” at me.
It sounds so lame. I promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those parents who project adult emotions on a toddler. But here I am.
It began the day I came home from the hospital with Emmett. Even though we had prepped Fia all about a baby brother coming into her world, she clearly hadn’t grasped it. How could she? I can barely grasp the magnitude of how one’s body “makes life,” so I surely can’t expect a 2-year old to fully comprehend.
But from the moment I stepped in the door something had changed. While excited about Emmett, she was aloof with me. She didn’t want me to hold her. She did, however, want to hold Emmett. She was clingy with Phil and her grandparents. With me, she ignored.
I thought, What have I done? I have destroyed the relationship that matters most to me in this world. (Another sentence I cringe at while writing. Seriously. But remember there are some raging hormones here too.)
I panicked that things would never be the same. That a “new normal” had set in. One I didn’t like. My mother-in-law, my best friend and my aunt all assured me Fia’s behavior was normal. They cited examples from their own childrearing experiences.
But they must not have had the connection with their kids I have with Fia, I thought hopelessly.We are symbiotically entwined.
Phil took Fia on a walk and asked her, “Are you mad at mama?” In her little voice, she squeaked, “Yes.” Then he asked if she was mad at baby brother. “No” she said.
Upon hearing this, my heart broke a little more. Yes, I’m putting a lot of stock in those two words, “yes/no” but having a new baby is a seismic shift in all our lives–and I do believe she feels a bit jolted and unable to express herself. Again, she’s 2.
Time, is what my mom friends told me. Give her time.
So I have. And it’s getting better. I’m getting my Fi back a little more each day. And my heart too.
I still can’t hold her, which is tough. “Mama hold you,” she pleads. I tell her to come sit on my lap.
I took a bubble bath with her the other night. I washed her hair and she dumped water on me. A welcome sign that normal was coming back.
What does seems to be her new MO of “not-so-fun-normal” is to go from 0-10 in a matter of seconds. She will throw herself on the floor, screaming, crying–real tears and all–because I brought her an apple-banana squeezie and not a yogurt. Such tragedy. Again, since I can’t physically pick her up, I have to wait patiently for her to stop wailing, then explain, distract or relent–depending on the enormity of the issue at hand.
I know this is typical 2-3 year old behavior. Hers just happened to coincide–or was instigated–by Emmett’s arrival.
She has also just spent the last 2 weeks being showered with attention from Phil’s parents. She and his mom were inseparable (his mom is like the grandmother everyone wants to have). So when they left yesterday, she experienced another jolt in her little life.
Again, all normal stuff I’m told. And I have no choice but to go with it. Kids are far more resilient than we are. I have to remember that. And to continue to tell Fia that I have her heart. And I’ll never let go.
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behavior, big sister, birth, Emmett, hospital, labor, milestone monday, new sibling, newborn, sibling, toddler tantrum | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Must Read, Newborn Care