Have you ever noticed how each stage of a child’s life brings different challenges. I have gone through so many of the typical and not-so-typical 0-3yr challenges. Of course the spectrum of challenges only increases as they get older. It seems like the bigger they are, the bigger the challenges.
Gabby started out as my easy child. It wasn’t too hard to get that title, considering Drew always kept me on my toes from his first emergence into the world. Recently, however, she has become quite a challenge. And she’s always a challenge in different ways than Drew currently is. So the minute I get reprieve from 3 year old temper tantrum city, I’m in the land of toddler craziness.
In the ways Drew is easy, she is hard. Drew is so much more independent – he’s able to go to the bathroom himself, put on his shoes, and knows the general safety things that he should and shouldn’t do. Gabby, on the other hand, would love to lick the toilet bowl every chance she gets, a meal of cat food or litter sounds delish to her, and her will to perpetuate a task that I hate is stronger than my eagerness to continue to chase after her by far.
And despite all that, a morning alone with her can be completely stress free and pleasant. After dropping Drew off at school we ran errands, had a slow breakfast, went for a walk, played at the park, had lunch and picked Drew up. Maybe it was because the sun was shining, maybe it was because the temperature was just right or maybe it’s because I’m accustomed to the challenges of a one year old more so than the uncharted territory of a wild three year old. Either way I found our time together relaxing and enjoyable.
Last week I went to a social worker to discuss Drew’s behavioral challenges. Putting aside the fact that the majority of the hour was spent to discussing my background, my current employment status (or lack thereof) and my frustrations, one of her suggestions was that Drew and I spend a couple of hours a week alone. I can’t even remember the last time Drew and I have spent a considerable amount of time alone together. Crazy!
When I’m with Drew, although much easier in many ways, I find myself juggling so much. And the ball that frequently falls is the fun one. I have such a hard time keeping him on task, avoiding circumstances that could lead to a potential challenge and disciplining the problem situations that I find it difficult being fun with him. (Reference my end of summer mission to be more fun here and then how it went down here) I think that time alone with Drew is a perfect idea to get us back on track. Now if only I can find somewhere in the craziness of life to fit in these weekly dates, I think it will help.
I’ve also tried a new approach. I realize that I expect good behavior, so I frequently forget to applaud Drew for his good behavior. Instead, I comment when his behavior is bad. Therefore giving him the attention he is looking for by misbehaving. So far he seems to love it every time I’m pleased with his behavior. Who would have thought that would work?!?!
Thanks to the complexity of having two children, I’m sure I’ll get Drew on the straight and narrow just as Gabby is entering the stage of temper tantrums and misbehaving. At least I’ll be a pro by then. And maybe I’ll be able to throw the fun ball into the juggling mix.
You absolutely crack me up!!
If your mom doesn’t find you humorous, who will?
Well…at least they are cute!
Just kidding. You have wonderful, sweet children, and praise when you catch them being good is a trick I always use. I mean, I get crazy excited about it and I think my kids just behave so they can see me be silly.
I like it! I always knew that positive reinforcements were the way to go but i don’t think I realized that I may need to compliment basic behavior. But the more I compliment basic behavior, the better the behavior gets. Win/win! I like the silly idea, specially since I’m trying to be more fun…may take awhile 🙂
Everything you stated is correct. Always emphasize the positive – you would make a great teacher! Drew and Gabby are both amazing in their own ways! They are lucky to have a mommy like you!
Thanks so much Mara, really appreciate your continual support! I sorta wish I had been an education major. I feel like it helps give you an education in educating students and handling your own children. Maybe I need a masters in raising kids, do they offer that??