worst.night.ever.

I feel like I should just rename the blog PARENTFAIL.COM.  What do you think?

Friday morning I did laundry and packed the car, then picked up the kids from daycare early so they would nap in the car on the way to Kathryn’s house – I had everything planned out just right.  I knew Taylor would have a good day at school, which would mean she would get a sticker on her chart, which would fill it up, which would mean a prize, which I would choose, which was the movie Tangled, which would be her reward to watch in the car after she took her nap.  Both kids would easily fall asleep in the car and Russ and I would have two hours of blissful quiet time in the car.  Great plan, right?

Caleb did as he was told, but Taylor refused to sleep.  Which meant that when we got to Russ’ 97 year-old Aunt Rebecca’s apartment on the way, she was crazy.  Bouncing off the walls. Luckily we made it out before she broke anything or Caleb ate some of Aunt Rebecca’s medication, despite his many attempts to get into her stuff.

Then we went to dinner.  Why we decided to go out in public, I do not know.  Taylor dropped a piece of ice on the floor, then picked it up and ate it.  Then she kept freaking out because her cheeseburger wouldn’t stay together after she put salad on it (salad AKA lettuce and tomato).

We finally get to Kathyrn’s house in time for the bedtime routine.  Kathryn had a great idea that Taylor and Ryleigh could sleep in the same room since Ryleigh ALWAYS goes to sleep easily and Taylor didn’t have a nap, so should fall asleep quickly.  Great idea, right? Notsomuch. Both girls were too wound up and excited that they wouldn’t settle down.  So then we moved Taylor’s air mattress into another bedroom and hoped she would fall asleep.

In the meantime, I was trying to set up Caleb’s pack-and-play.  But one of the sides was broken.  After many attempts to fix it, we decided we didn’t have any other options and put him in anyway since with the three sides locked, it was sturdy enough, right?  But he was too wound up from the road trip excitement and wouldn’t settle down.

Finally after much negotiating, rocking, singing, begging, pleading, praying…all of the kids were asleep by 8:30 pm.  Success!  Miracle!  If I’d known what the night would hold, I would have gone to sleep right then.

We decided Taylor would sleep better in our room with the noise maker going and so we would be there when she woke up in a strange place.  So we moved her and her bed into our room without waking her up.  Success!

Then I started reading tweets and status updates about all of the crazy tornadoes….then it got really windy and rainy  outside and Caleb kept coughing, so I couldn’t sleep – worried that Caleb’s coughing would wake Taylor up and that a tornado would kill all of us (meanwhile Russ is sleeping soundly – I hated him a little – I think at one point I even elbowed him out of frustration, but he slept through that as well – and I hated him more).  Finally all noises ceased around 1:00am.

SLLLLEEEEEPPPPP

Then at 4:00 am (FOUR O’CLOCK AAAAMMMM), Taylor woke up and stood in the corner of the room (?!).  Usually if she wakes up that early she’ll got right back to sleep, but not that night/morning.  She kept rolling around and sniffing repeatedly even though she had dispersed all boogies several times.  Then at 5:00 am, she finally woke Caleb up.  He cried.  a lot.  We were trying to keep both of them quiet since there were 5 other people still sleeping in the house (because it was FIVE O’CLOCK AAAAMMMM on a Saturday), but Caleb would not stop crying without a bottle.  So I went downstairs to retrieve a bottle, not realizing that my brother-in-law’s brother was asleep on the couch.  On the way to the kitchen, I kicked two or three things in the floor just to make sure to make as much noise as possible.  Then I got upstairs with the bottle only to realize that I forgot his reflux medicine.  So I had to go back downstairs to get it, knocking over a picture frame on my way causing a really good ruckus just in case he was still asleep.

By the time we got Caleb settled down, Taylor was jumping up and down on her bed, screaming, and laughing an evil laugh.  So we were all awake with no hope of going back to sleep.  In an effort to contain the madness, we stayed in the room for a while, but once two more people were awake in the house, we decided to venture downstairs to play in the playroom before someone in our room met an unfortunate end.

Taylor ended up in time out on the front porch by herself.*

Then Caleb  put a bee in his mouth.**

So the moral of the story is we should never leave our house. ever. again.

*I could see her the whole time and it was only a little cold, I’m not THAT bad of a mother. yet.

**We’re 95% sure it was dead before he tried to eat it.

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Poker Face

Each time we go out to eat with the kids, Russ and I say to each other “NEVER AGAIN!”.  And for the most part, we stick to our oath…and as a result, our “eating out” budget is inversely proportional to the number of kids we have.  But occasionally, we have a lapse in judgment and our desire for food that is not soup or frozen pizza or pancakes trumps reason.

Tonight was one of those lapse in judgment nights.  I had been home for the better part of two days with two kids, one of whom was sick, and needed to get out of the house.  So we went to Target after the time of day that was supposed to include a nap, and Russ met us there after work.  So, we figure we were already out.  AND some student loan money was just deposited in our account.  AND we told ourselves that we were celebrating the fact that Russ got honors* for his Family Medicine Rotation. (NOTE to future selves – going to dinner with both kids is NOT a worthy means of celebration)

ANYWHO…we went out to eat at a place where the food didn’t come fast and was also without a playground.  It started out pretty well.  Piglet ordered for herself a “kid’s mi-ilk” and “grilled cheese and french fries”.  But during the wait for our food, she began to do what she does best…”not listening”.  After a few futile attempts at getting her to sit still and not put her feet in the air or on the table,  I took her outside for a good old fashioned talkin’ to.  I sat her on the bench and asked, “do you want to sit out here by yourself or come inside and eat with mommy and daddy?”

I was so sure she would say that she wanted to stay inside with us because she is not one to want to leave us and it was cold outside.  But that smart girl called my bluff and said, “I want to stay outside”  So I said, “OK”, feeling I needed to follow through on my threat.

I then found a spot in the lobby where I could see her but she couldn’t see me.  She sat, and I stood while a few parties came and a few others left…all looking confusedly at the cute little girl sitting by herself on the bench.   One guy did ask “Who does that little girl belong to?”  I claimed her and said, “she called my bluff” and rather than judge, he looked at her then me, and said “Good for you!”

After a few minutes, she did hop down and started softly crying “mommy?  mommy?”

So I went back outside and we talked about how to behave at the table.  She calmly walked back into the restaurant, sat down at the table, tucked her napkin into her shirt, and began eating her dinner.  I thought I had succeeded, but 15 minutes minutes later, she was all over the place again.

NEVER AGAIN!

 

*MUSC has a pass/fail grading system.  But if you are super awesome, you get honors. Apparently Russ is super awesome at Family Medicine.

mother of the year

On Monday, we had a mother-daughter day because the church office was closed and Russ was gone from 5:30 am-8:00pm.  We did fun things and took advantage of our time and the beautiful day.  It was going to be an awesome day.

We started off by going shopping for shoes – poor Piglet wore last year’s shoes  (that were hand-me-down shoes) on Easter – she needed some that actually fit.  Then we went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.  While in the play area, I got really annoyed (unreasonably so) at the other little girl in there.  She kept screaming at the top of her lungs and trying to boss Piglet around.  She couldn’t have been more than six months older than Piglet, yet her mom just sat in the dining area chatting to a friend, not watching her kid, even though the sign did say “parental supervision” was required.  I was getting oddly angry at the mother.  Then I began to feel sorry for the daughter because she kept trying to talk to me like she really just wanted attention. 

And I started wondering at what age do can you reasonably let your child go in to the play area and not feel the need to watch closely. 

Then after nap, we went to the playground, and my dialogue with myself continued as I watched most of the parents sit while their kids ran a muck.  I, on the other hand, closely watched Piglet as she made her way around the rather large park.   I have at least moved on from actually being on the equipment with her (being pregnant while climbing and sliding is not a good idea).  But I still feel the need to be near her just in case, especially with large open spaces above six-foot drops and big kids running around not watching where they are going.  

So again, I’m wondering how parents can sit around and not know where their kids are (this park is very large and you cannot see the whole thing from any one location)and at what age can you feel confident that your kids are ok without you being right there with them.

After a break at the water fountain, we went back to playing, and Piglet was right in front of me but went into a fort area where I couldn’t see her.  I didn’t realize there was another way out, so I just stood on the outside waiting for her to come back out. (She typically comes to find me if she can’t see me, so I wasn’t worried).  But after 15 seconds of not being able to see her, I went around to the other side and realized there was another exit and that she had gone through it.  I looked around me – up and down – around – under.  I couldn’t see her.  I ran into the middle of the playground but couldn’t see her.  I ran back to the entrance to make sure she didn’t make it back to the playground and didn’t see her.  I asked an old man who was sitting near the exit if he had seen her, but he hadn’t.  I ran back to the middle of the playground.  tears start welling up.  my heart starts beating really quickly.  I start to have trouble breathing.  I still didn’t see her.  I ran up on the playground so I could get a better view.  And I saw her.  playing just fine, unaware that she had nearly given me a heart attack.  It couldn’t have been longer than a minute, but it was the longest minute of my life. 

Last week, Piglet was challenging and we would say things  like, “Can we give her away?”.   But in that longest minute of my life, I realized more than ever that no matter how frustrating she gets, she keeps my heart going and I wouldn’t be whole without her.  And that we are not anywhere near the point at which I will let Piglet out of my sight at a playground, not even for 15 seconds.

bribes, threats, and deals

Having a two year-old is really challenging.  (Is that an understatement or what?!)  But on the plus side, Russ and I have become masters of trickeration to get the job done.  Disciplining is so hard, and just when we think we’ve figured it out, a new issue comes up and we have to put on our creative parenting thinking hats once more to come up with a solution.

THE OPTION

We learned early on the power of the option.  Instead of, “let’s get dressed”  or “let’s eat breakfast”  or the really wrong approach, “do you want to eat breakfast now?” – we say “would you like to wear your purple shirt or your pink shirt?”  or “do you want cereal or oatmeal for breakfast?”  It’s amazing how many tantrums and arguments we have avoided by giving Piglet a small amount of power and control over the situation.

THE THREAT

But there are times when the option does not apply, when a direct order is, well, in order.  This usually leads to all forms of heads exploding because Piglet loves to  not listen and do the exact opposite of whatever the order may be.  Repeating something 55 times with no result drives me completely batty.  So we then mastered the count to three approach.  A time out used to be on the other side of the “three”, but Piglet has learned to be completely apathetic to time out.   awesome.  So we started taking away toys.  The top shelf of our bookshelves are full of toys.  She gets them back when she has been a good helper or listener.  There are good days and bad.  But I find myself saying, “if you don’t do X, then you will lose a toy” way more often than I’d like.  I wish there was an easier way or a better way to discipline.  any ideas?

We are also struggling with bedtime.  Piglet is a master at THE STALL.  So we start threatening to take away books one by one until we don’t read any books before bed (which is really heartbreaking for me because I love reading books).   THEN we struggle with her actually staying in bed.  So we have to threaten to take away her stuffed animals one by one until she stays in bed.  But last night, I hit the ultimate threat.  I said, “if you want to watch any TV in the morning when you wake up, then you need to stay in bed.”  Girl did not move a muscle after that.

The same thing worked in the mornings when she kept getting up to early.  Now she stays in bed until 6:30 (when her good night light comes on) every morning (unless she has to poop, which is actually quite often).

THE BRIBE

AKA THE INCENTIVE or THE REWARD (if I want to make myself feel better about it ).  We have also been working on pooping in the potty for a while now.   Piglet is a pee champ, but she holds onto the poop like it’s her BFF.   We tried offering two m&ms, but that was not enough motivation.  So we finally made a sticker chart to hang in the bathroom.  Whenever she poops in the potty, she gets two m&ms AND a sticker.  And when she gets five stickers, she gets a reward.  It was a slow start (taking over 2 weeks to get five stickers), but now she is on a roll (five stickers in a week).  And she gets really excited about the sticker.  more so than the reward really.  Now it’s time to up the number of stickers required for a prize because with two stickers a day, it’s going to get pretty expensive to go to Old McDonald’s or get a new movie every five.

THE DEAL

The deal, a close cousin to the bride and the threat, also known as THE BARGAIN, is most utilized at meal time.  “You can have one more strawberry if you eat one more bite of chicken”  But it’s really fun when making bigger deal deals because we shake on it and she says, “deal”.  And she is really good at holding up her end of a deal, so I’m rather partial to the deal as opposed to the threat and bribe.  But WHATEVER GETS THE JOB DONE.

At the end of the day, my head hurts from all the deals, threats, bribes, and options, but at least my head is not exploding.  I just hope we’re not screwing Piglet up.

morning mayhem

Monday – 6:55 am

Scene:  I am in the bathroom getting ready.  Russ is still sleeping.  Piglet is watching Curious George (or so we thought).

I hear serious crying through the bathroom door and open it to find Russ catapulting out of bed (still half asleep I’m sure) and running into the living room to see what’s wrong.  I close the door again figuring he’s got it covered.  Then I hear a loud thud and a groan on top of the serious two year-old crying.  Then I decide it’s time for me to take action.   I run to Piglet’s room where she has on mismatched pjs (neither the top or bottom were the ones she was wearing when I got in the shower) except that she is stuck in the shirt and can’t get her arms out and she is crying that her finger hurt (she apparently closed it in the drawer while stuck in the shirt).   I get her shirt fixed and kiss her finger and then find Russ who was still wandering around looking for Piglet (still half asleep and now limping).  I seriously just laughed out loud as I typed this story. I then worry that Piglet had changed clothes because she had thrown up AGAIN (Sunday was not a good day), so I start looking for the original pjs.  I can’t find them in the usual places, so I ask her where she put them, and she very matter of factly (with a side of “duh”) said “in the washing machine”.  Sure enough they were IN the washing machine.  Impressive.  But they were not dirty, I am not sure why she got the urge to change at that moment.

Wednesday – 5: 40 am

After a restless night of having to get up and potty and bad dreams, Piglet starts crying so I go into her room to get her up.  She asks for another pull-up, but I try to convince her that she can wear her Dora panties, so she doesn’t need another pull-up.  MELT DOWN.  I finally get her pull-up off and panties on.  But then, as I get her pants half way on, she screams, “NO MY DO DIT BY MYSELF” and starts thrashing about.  So she takes off her pants and then tries to start over by herself, only when she pulled them off they turned inside out.  So I let her struggle with it by herself until she looks at me with eyes full of tears and says, “Mommy, help please”.  So I fix her pants and she gets dressed.

5:50 am

We head into the kitchen to fix her morning cup of juice.  I pick out her pink cup and get it ready.  MELT DOWN.  “No, I want the blue one”  I refuse to give in and let her have a tantrum that lasted five minutes.  I put her juice where she can reach it and go back to the couch.  After five minutes, she comes and sits in my lap – still crying, but a little calmer and easier to understand

  • Piglet:  I want the blue cup.  It matches my pajamas, the shirt and the pants
  • Me:  Well, the pink cup matches your pink socks, don’t you want the pink cup?
  • Piglet: Uh-huh

Then she gets down, gets her pink cup, snuggles back in my lap, and we watch the last two minutes of Sesame Street.

I must say that this week, I have not been sad when I drop her off at school.   I am STRESSED OUT and AT MY WITS END before I even get to work.

meltdown monday

I am not a fan of almost two who thinks she’s two and therefore must be in the terrible twos and pitch fits about everything.   I said to my mom the other day, “Since she’s starting early, she’ll get over it early right.”  She smiled slyly, and said “no”.  Today was supposed to be another fun family day of our staycation.  It started out nice enough – hanging out on our new deck in the kiddie pool.

Then while Russ was brushing his teeth, Piglet decided that she too wanted clean teeth.  When Russ dare suggest that he brush her teeth instead of her “brushing” them herself – COMPLETE MELTDOWN.  She would walk around the house, back and forth to me and Russ (who were ignoring the tantrum) showing her most pitiful woe-is-me teary face…she was finally distracted at some point (which seemed like 30 minutes later). 

Then she decided that she needed yogurt at a non-meal time and THREW HERSELF at the feet of her high chair, yelling “chair” over and over again.   This lasted another 30 minutes until she was again distracted – this time by her new puzzles.

We had a nice lunch and nap so we thought we would good for a fun outing to play putt putt and go to the park.  Piglet and I have been forced to watch too much British Open lately, but she does enjoy watching a little and playing with her own plastic golf set, so we decided to take a chance on mini golf with our mini golfer.   It was fun for a while – Piglet was hilarious as she squealed at each ball hit and ran to pick it up.  So at least we have some nice photos to remember the day by – maybe we’ll just remember the fun.

watch and learn

taylor - summer 09 286

correct hand placement

taylor - summer 09 287

watch the ball

taylor - summer 09 288

if the ball doesn’t go in, just put it in yourself

taylor - summer 09 291

Unfortunately this fun only lasted seven holes before Piglet decided she would rather run away from us toward the water hazards and throw her ball.  So we decided that was enough golf for one day and began to head to the car.  Piglet WAS NOT pleased and proceded to have her third complete meltdown of the day – I love it when she does this in public, it’s really exciting.

Then we headed for the park and playground.  And again things were fun until she decided to head repeatedly toward the water (the Cooper River this time)….so we again headed back to the car and yet another fit was pitched.  So again, we carried her back to the car kicking and screaming, again in public.

And these were just the major fits – there were also several minor fits throughout the day because we dare suggest she hold our hand in the parking lot or come inside when it’s raining – we are such strict, unreasonable parents.  Poor almost two year-old trying to be independent – it’s a rough life.

(and I’m sure as my mom reads this, she is thinking “mwahaha…she’s just like her mother”)

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?