Gloom and Doom

It started to rain yesterday afternoon at 1:00.  It stormed all night:  howling wind, rain, thunder, lightening – the works.  This morning was a monsoon – I got soaked going to church, and I even had a big golf umbrella.  I was really impressed with the turnout in worship because I really don’t know if I would have braved the elements if I didn’t have to.  It didn’t stop raining until mid-afternoon.

And that was the bright side of the day.

This morning was less than stellar.  Issues.

Then we took Piglet out to lunch.  She actually slept 50 minutes in the nursery, which hasn’t happend since she was 3 weeks old (oh, the day when she just slept in her carrier the whole time).  So we thought we would be good to go for lunch.  We opted to try the new Japanese Steakhouse.  A bad idea for so many reasons:

  1. It was more expensive than most – but we still splurged for the Hibachi Steak and Shrimp since this morning was less than stellar – nothing like drowning your sorrows in 2 lbs of fried rice with shrimp and steak.
  2. The service was so slow.
  3. Piglet was a total brat.  She has never been this bad. ever.  Even this outing that I thought was the worst dinner out ever was a walk in the park in comparison.  We planned everything right.  We brought toys; the “cooking show” provides entertainment; she had just had a nap.  She sat still and cute for 5 minutes.  Then evil Piglet came out.  Screaming, yelling, crying, throwing her body back in forth in the high chair, trying to stand up in her high chair, throwing her toys, throwing her food.  OMG.  So Russ and I took turns eating lunch alone while the other took Piglet to the lobby.   I was determined not to give in to her, not to let her walk around like I knew she wanted to do.  So I spend at least 30 minutes sitting in the lobby, holding her like a straight jacket.  It was miserable, for both of us.  We would have left, but like I said the service was so slow and it took FOREVER to get boxes and the check.

And this is a Japanese Steakhouse so we are not even at a table by ourselves.  We have seven strangers watching our parental failure – dinner AND a show.  Oh, and when we first sat down, the couple next to us said that they had a 14 month-old at home with grandparents so they could have a break.  Nice break.  Have lunch with someone else’s screaming toddler.  I have never been so embarrassed.  I just imagine the other people talking about how we were bad parents who couldn’t control our kid.  And we really couldn’t – I had no idea what to do with her.

So what do you do with a 16 month-old?  How do you discipline?  We’re already facing the biting issue, but don’t really know how to handle that since it’s mainly a school-time issue.  She’s been really good with us until now.  She doesn’t understand reasoning.  We do time outs occassionally, but I really don’t think she gets the concept of reward and punishment yet.  Any advice from you seasoned parents out there?

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6 Responses

  1. I could kind of write a novel on this topic, but I’ll refrain because really, every child and parent is different and you really have to do what works for you. I’ll just tell you what worked for us.

    We started James on time out at 15 months. We set up the pack and play and each time he misbehaved we looked straight in eyes and said, “No, James” and off he went to the pack and play for one minute while we walked around the corner. After a minute, we picked him up, hugged him, said, “I love you, but no (insert bad behavior).” And then we moved on. The worst was when we were in public, because little ones can’t wait for time out until they get home. So we had time out in the car seat – strapped him in and sat in the front seat ignoring him for a minute. After a few weeks, he totally got time out and we started to see some changes. As he got older, we had to switch it up a bit, but that’s how we started. Oh, and if the pack and play doesn’t work, when I nannied I used a cheap ugly umbrella stroller (not the one we actually used) and put on the brakes in the corner of the room. Hang in there – it gets better – and it just means she’s got spunk. 🙂

    …and it’s a novel after all. 🙂

  2. It happens to all of us! If they were cute and adorable and easy all the time we would have no comparison point. Good luck!

  3. I automatically thought of this when I read your post …

    “You have to take the good with the bad,
    Smile with the sad,
    Love what you got & remember what you had,
    Always forgive but never forget,
    Learn from your mistakes but never regret.
    People change. Things go wrong.
    But just remember : Life goes on.”

    Key phrases being “take the good with the bad,” “love what you got,” “always forgive,” “life goes on”

    I am OBVIOUSLY not a parent yet, but I would like to speak from my years of experience with children. CONSISTENCY is the key. Children need to know what they can and cannot do. If they get away with it once and punished for it once, they start to get confused. I have to give A LOT of consequences at the beginning of the school year for calling out, running in the hallway, having an attitude, but after a few weeks …. they know what it is expected because they were punished EVERY time and they don’t do it anymore. Life is glorious because I was strict at the beginning of the year.

  4. I also want to clarify that I was not mean … I didn’t yell or show emotion … if they did something they were not supposed to, they knew they lost recess or had silent lunch & I calmly reminded them of that. I know it is harder to reason with a 16 month old but it is important not to get frustrated and lose your cool because you are not upset with HER … just her behavior 🙂

  5. I don’t think kids can really grasp the idea of negative reinforcement until much later than most parents would like. I wouldn’t expect much in that regard before piglet turns two… maybe two and a half.

    Honestly, the truest bit of wisdom I ever found in a parenting manual was this phrase: “Distraction is discipline.” I don’t even know where I read it, but it’s the truth. Parenting young children can be sort of like judo – sometimes it’s just not worth the effort it takes to get a kid to STOP doing something. Instead, if you can simply redirect their energy – using their natural momentum against them – you may be able to throw them to the ground and immobilize them with some sort of grappling maneuver. Or… you might interest them in some other silly, but more socially-acceptable, activity.

    When Noah was younger, sometimes the easiest thing to do was just to physically pick him up and carry him away for a few minutes. (“Oh wow, Noah! Look at that awesome… um… plant over there! Whoa! Crazy, huh?! Let’s go check it out!”) Of course, at 4 years old, he pretty much sees right through that trick these days.

    Then again, sometimes kids just need to go crazy for a while and there’s not much you can do. Maybe piglet was just having one of those days…

  6. Thanks guys…

    Margie, we do time out in the pack and play at home, but that is usually only when she bites or tries to climb on the fireplace. For everything else, we try to just distract her (as Luke said) the first time, but if she immediately does it again, she goes to timeout. In hindsight, we should have just gone to the car on Sunday like you said, but it was raining, and I kept thinking we’d be leaving any minute – I was wrong.

    Luke – We tried distraction – Russ is the king of this. “Hey Taylor, look what I’ve got – it a…(looking for something)…sock…ooo….wow” But at Sunday lunch, we went to look at the crazy bamboo tree wall, and the banana trees and the fountain and the big mirror and the rain outside on several occassions – got her to calm down, then came back to the table for a minute of quiet until she freaked out again…I think it was just a bad day.

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