Tag Archives: terrible 2s

Never Try

Last semester, I asked Lily’s teacher if we could read a story about Purim and eat Hamantaschen. She said it sounded like fun and I promptly forgot about it until I looked at the calendar 3 weeks ago and realized Purim was during our university’s (and therefore Lily’s preschool’s) spring break. Oops! I emailed Lily’s teacher and set up to come in a week late for Purim.

I got everything ready to give a nice presentation to the kids. The only Purim book at the library kind of sucked, so I even went to the trouble of finding a great abridged Purim story online, printing it up, dissecting it, and taping parts of the story to appropriate illustrations. (I procrastinated on this part, but I DID get it done). I made about 50 Hamantaschen and was ready to go. It was going to be great. Or, at the very least, passable.

Unfortunately Rose had other plans about my presentation at Lily’s school.

Rose LOVES going to Lily’s school. Whenever we go inside, she joyfully runs to the play kitchen and starts making food. She loves being there and always puts up a fuss about leaving (thank goodness they offer door-to-door kid delivery service and Rose usually stays in the car!). This time we were staying so I thought she would be good. I thought she could keep playing with food while I read.

I thought wrong.

Circle time happens about 30 minutes after school starts. Rose played happily for the first 20 minutes we were there. She looks like she’s 3 instead of 2 so she fit right in UNTIL…

Another kid wanted to play with a toy that was NEAR her. It wasn’t even a toy she was holding. It was a toy that was NEAR her. This was UNACCEPTABLE apparently and she yelled no and latched on to the toy. I told her she had to share and gave the toy (it was actually an entire basket of small blocks) to the boy. A major tantrum followed.

I tried EVERYTHING to get Rose to stop crying and screaming and throwing herself on the ground. I tried to distract her with other toys. I ignored her. I pointed out the class pets. I gave her hugs. I pointed out the art table. She wanted nothing to do with any of it. I finally offered a Hamantaschen and even that didn’t work.

She cried so long that we had no choice but to move on to me reading the story. I think this made it worse! Rose HATES it if kids her age get near me. It doesn’t bode well for what’s going to happen when the new baby gets here. All the kids were looking at her in my lap and she was still crying. Every time one of them talked to me, she’d wail. It didn’t help that the Purim story is interactive and requires the kids to yell “Yay!” and “Boo!” when certain names are read. Every time the kids would chime in, Rose would cry and tell them to stop.

It was a disaster.

Luckily the preschool kids were so distracted by the promise of triangle jelly cookies for snack time that everyone seemed to still enjoy it. I hope.

But, I’m never trying to be a helpful parent again– at least not until I don’t have a smaller unreliable child I’m supposed to be managing while also reading a story or giving a presentation.

I had good intentions. It’s too bad Rose didn’t agree with them!

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Sticker Inequality

Rose has been going through some rough terrible twos. She was refusing to let me dress her or put her in shoes and a coat. Getting out of the house was getting to be an epic battle. No amount of threats or punishments work. For some reason when someone is throwing an absolute fit about putting her shoes on and is otherwise acting like a monster, positive reinforcement is the furthest thing in my mind. Punishment is the first thing that comes to mind, but since that wasn’t working, it finally occurred to me to offer sticker rewards instead of yelling “Do you want to come with us? THEN LET ME GET YOU DRESSED NOW! STOP IT! STOP IT! LET ME GET YOU DRESSED! COME ON! I’M GOING TO LEAVE WITHOUT YOU! NO! STOP IT!” while a 2 year old struggles against you and screams her head off.

God, 2 year olds REALLY suck. I got lucky with Lily. She wasn’t perfect, but our battles were NEVER this frequent. She usually liked putting on her shoes and coat because she knew it meant we were going somewhere fun. Man, she spoiled me.

For some reason, stupid stickers and a sticker chart have worked like magic for getting Rose out of the house without a fight. She will let me put her clothes, shoes and coat on (purchase of an entirely blue dress wardrobe may have helped here) without too much protest. If she starts to resist, I offer a sticker and she’ll follow through whether or not I actually remember to give her one.

At the same time I was creating Rose’s sticker chart, I made a sticker chart for Lily and the inequalities between the two are blatant. Looking at the two sticker charts, one might think I was playing favorites and making Lily be my slave. Here is Lily’s sticker chart:

In case the small print is hard to read, it says she gets stickers for cleaning the playroom, cleaning the living room, picking up her crayons (always all over the floor), putting Lumpy in his room when we leave the house, getting Lumpy food, letting Lumpy in or out and putting her shoes and coat away when she walks in the door. These are actual chores that necessitate effort on her part. These chores REALLY help me.

Now, before you think she’s overworked, when I say her chore is to “clean” any room, I just mean she needs to put away her toys and books. She’s not vacuuming or dusting at age 4.5. Often I only make her do one of the clean-up chores a day even if the other room is messy. She takes FOREVER to put things away because she examines each and every toy before she puts it away, then seems to sit and think about where she should put it for a minute. Drives me insane.

So, Lilys chore list is a for real chore list. Because of her age and comprehension level, I expect her to actually contribute to the household a little. She seems to like the system and loves running to get her own sticker.

Here is Rose’s sticker chart:

 

That’s right, while Lily is getting stickers for actual chores, Rose is getting stickers for putting on her clothes without crying, taking a nap, using the potty (has never happened), sleeping in the correct bed (she’s been insisting on sleeping in her crib again for WEEKS), sleeping all night and “helping” her sister clean. By “helping”, I mean the girl gets a sticker for putting like three blocks out of 100 away. Rose also gets stickers if she shares with Lily without crying.

So, Lily gets stickers for being helpful while Rose gets stickers for not being a nightmare child. It’s not fair. Lily doesn’t get stickers for not being a brat. She gets dressed and shares without crying all the time, but no stickers get handed out for any of that.  I feel guilty just looking at these sticker charts, but the truth is Lily SHOULDN’T get stickers for those things anymore. I wish I didn’t have to give Rose stickers for these things, but they don’t come easily for her and she needs some positive reinforcement to learn how to be a good girl.

And that’s how I had to explain it to Lily. “Rose is learning how to be a good girl. You are ALREADY a good girl, so you are learning how to be a big helper girl for Mommy.”

Hopefully that holds the resentment at bay for a while.

As an older sister, I doubt I can get away with this inequality for long before Lily realizes how unfair it is.

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“You’re Right, Mommy!”

I’m climbing out of the hole of exhaustion that is my 2 year old’s  now unpredictable nights. She started out so good– the best newborn sleeper the world has ever met. The first 6 months were so golden. Then things were bad until a year. I thought we’d fixed things until the recent madness started. In fact, I should be in bed right now because she has a cold and who knows what the hell will happen tonight.

Five nights a week, we are good. She sleeps 12 hours beautifully. Put her in her bed, shut the door, don’t hear from her until morning. It’s the other 2 nights a week that are the problem. Half the time it’s night terrors– 30 minutes of screaming and not reacting to any attempts to comfort her followed by her being WIDE AWAKE and not very happy. The other half of the time she wakes up disgruntled because of a wet diaper. Or maybe it’s gas. Or maybe it’s teeth. Whatever it is, she won’t go back to sleep for hours.

She was up 2:30-6 am Tuesday for gas? Teeth? Gas and teeth? Nothing? A con job? A diaper? I don’t know. I took her downstairs for a little while, then put her back to bed for 90 minutes. She tossed, she turned, she cried. I didn’t sleep. I finally brought her to our bed. She tossed, she turned, she climbed. I didn’t sleep. Finally at 5:30 am I threw her at her dad snapping “GET HER AWAY FROM ME!” Clearly good mom behavior. BEST mom behavior.

But seriously, if she kept me awake another second someone was going to get hurt.

She fell asleep on my husband 30 minutes later. Which is as infuriating as it is a relief.

The next day I let her sleep until 9:30 when I woke her up for a playdate. I fully anticipated napping when she napped later.

Only she didn’t nap later.

How can you be up from 2:30-6 am and not nap later? How?

It defies the laws of toddler nature.

And it’s not like I didn’t give the nap a valiant effort– we drove for 45 minutes, she was in a crib for 2 hours, I cuddled with her for 30 minutes. That’s 3 hours and 15 minutes of attempts to get this child to nap and NOTHING. She was wasting both our times. We could have been doing something fun. Or sleeping. But no. Let’s just aggravate us both by playing around in your crib. I’m surprised poop warfare was not employed.

Two hours later we were driving to dinner and I hear her little 2 year old voice saying, “I tired. I so tired.”

To which I responded, “You wouldn’t be tired if you’d taken a nap like I told you to. Or at least slept at night. Or both.”

I swear to God this next part is true! She responded “You’re right, Mommy.”

Damn right, I’m right.

I don’t know if she knew what she was saying so much as responding the way I do to some of the things she says, but either way it cracked me up.

I hope she knows I’m right for real and naps the next time she gives me a rough night. Or even not a rough night. Or better yet, how about no rough nights at all? Is that so much to ask?

(Yes.)

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My Do It

The Terrible Twos are here. Somehow, we skipped this stage the first time around, but now we have Rose to make up for it. Every. Single. Thing. I try to do for her these days gets met with a howl and a “My do it!”

“My” really wants to do everything herself.

"My" had to pick that apple herself, even though she wasn't strong enough to pull it from the branch.

Unfortunately, “My” does not have the capability of doing at least 50% of the things “My” wants to do. “My” can not fasten the lower buckle to her 5-point harness, but if you move in to do it for her, there are shouts of protest. She squirms, she kicks, she screams. You just want to leave, but “My” wants to do it!

“My” needs to learn that sometimes MOMMY needs to do it.

Unfortunately, it is still very difficult to reason with “My” despite her fierce desire to be independent and grown up.

What happens when "My" doesn't get to do it.

So, we try and try again until “My” either physically succumbs to our brute force to get her into the carseat or whatever or she realizes that really things get done more easily when Mommy or Daddy help. Either way, it’s rough times over here. I look forward to a time when “My” and her big sister really can do everything themselves, but for now, we’ll go to battle over who gets to fasten that seatbelt.

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