Ladies and gentlemen, we have a conundrum.
Don't you like that word?
It just rolls of your tongue with such force that you have to stop and think, "Hmmm, yes, if she's using that word she definitely does have a conundrum."
In the realm of our home, it appears a toddler has evolved into a little boy with opinions and objections to everything.
Where once there was a sweet, carefree babbler, has now emerged a defiant little stinker.
Here are some conversations that just bust my buttons in frustration (the good parental frustration that makes you laugh later).
We are currently working on potty training. We're really trying to not pressure Caderyn into it and just let him learn at his own speed. But, not in that annoying stand-offish-parental hippie kind of way where you go, "He's a flower child! He'll learn when he's ready." and then we let him run around naked with flowers painted all over his body. No.
Me: Good morning Caderyn! Do you have to go potty?
Me: Ok. I'll ask again in a little bit. Let's go play.
C: Mommy. I went potty in my diaper.
Me putting Caderyn to bed last night.
M: Lets snuggle on your floor and sing a song.
C: No! Don't wanna sing a song (he has thing angry little stubborn voice that he uses).
M: Caderyn. On the floor now. We're snuggling before bedtime.
C: I have to go potty.
M: Okay lets go.
We proceed to walk into the bathroom and sit on his potty for five minutes while he plays with a truck he brought in. It's obvious he's just stalling so we get all suited up again for bedtime and go back in to the room.
M: Okay buddy it's time for bed.
C: No! Don't wanna go to bed.
M: Well too bad. It's bed time.
Caderyn proceeds to throw himself on the floor and refuses to give bedtime kisses. I am a STICKLER for bedtime kisses. I put him, crying, into his bed.
M: Good night Caderyn. I love you, let's wake up happy!
M: Do you want Lightning McQueen (he likes taking toys to bed)?
C: NO. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
M: Okay. Good night.
C: I WANT LIGHTING MCQUEEN.
M: Here you go good night.
C: Good night Mommy.
WHAT THE HECK.
This phase is so back and forth it has our heads spinning most days. I am a non-negotiable person. If I say some thing's going to be done or is going to happen. It happens.
Now it's like we have a little lawyer objecting to everything and some times I catch myself negotiating with him for my dinner table space.
I don't approve of the "mean" tone Caderyn uses sometimes, but I don't know how to show him or tell him that it's not okay in a way that he would understand. I've tried redirecting. I've tried talking and showing him the nice tones- but what kid wants to hear their parents talk when they could play?! I've tried the serious tones only to be met with his mock-up of a serious tone. We've tried time out and then explaining....I'm just so flustered about it. He is so stubborn! We don't speak in a mean tone- we speak in serious tones when we're trying to emphasize something very important. Where did he get this tone? Honestly, it frightens me sometimes when he uses it. Eeeee!
Last night when he finally went to bed I just sat on the couch and reflected on what I could have done differently to avoid the bedtime meltdown.
We have been putting Caderyn in timeout when he doesn't use "nice words" or his "mean" voice. We don't do it constantly, but just when it gets a little out of control or to make a point. Part of me just thinks sometimes he doesn't know he's talking in his mean voice, he might just think he's talking.
Jeff and I have agreed that as parents we will spank, BUTWAITDON'TFREAKOUT, but only for extreme behavioral issues and we will never ever do it in public.
For example, about two weeks ago, Caderyn was misbehaving and back talking me when we were camping with family. I warned him twice and then told him if he didn't correct his behavior he would get a spanking. When he lashed out again, we calmly walked behind the motor home, had a chat, got a slight bottom swat and then we sat together.
He was upset.
But I feel that's okay.
After about three minutes he calmed down a little and I asked him if he was done and ready to go back and play.
He said, "Yep." And went about his business. He didn't repeat the behavior again.
Side note: I'm also not a fan of spanking as a form of punishment for hitting. That just seems a bit redundant don't you think? Hitting for hitting? So in those cases we take a toy away for the day.
We are also big advocates for removing the misbehaving child from the situation. For example: Yesterday we were at a birthday party and Caderyn started to throw a temper tantrum when we tried to redirect him away from an unsafe part of the yard. So I picked him up, legs and arms flailing, lungs in full use, and plopped him on the front step around the corner from everyone. I told him to sit there until he'd calmed down. He cried for a minute. I asked him if he was done. He said no. He cried for another minute. I asked him if he was done. He said yes. I told him to not go back to that part of the yard because he could get a bad owie. He said okay and went about his business. And he listened!
So to sum this whole verbal explosion up, sometimes, I have no clue what I'm doing as a parent. You think you have one thing mastered and another thing pops up.
Some days I feel like there's another ME floating outside of my body, waving my marms (yes- I said marms), yelling, "Sarah! What the heck are you doing?"
To which I think, "I know, I know. I never thought I'd be a cheerleader, championing someone who tinkles in a potty shaped like a dinosaur. Popping chocolate chips in their mouth every time a "pee pee" happens or singing the "Pee Pee Song" which, just so you know, I made it up and I never sing it the same way twice. I never imagined myself getting so frazzled over a little boy who uses a mean voice to speak to me when he doesn't get his way. My tender Mommy heart feeling a bit shredded after his verbal babbling. My Mommy brain spinning up new ideas on how to change the behavior. I never thought I'd feel so dizzy from having a little boy who's decisions swing back and forth and back and forth faster than that Bolt guy who won lots of gold medals."
And then I take a breath and look at the ME floating outside of my body, waving my marms and you know what? The ME floating outside of my body, waving my marms just gawks at me like I'm crazy.
Which I probably am.
But aren't all parents a little crazy? Doesn't that happen once you have kids?
On the plus side. I read this article online and I'm pretty sure that Caderyn's defiance just means he's gifted.
Here's hoping he's a genius who will become a mega-millionaire. Lord I hope so, 'cause then he can put me in a nice rest home where the sun always shines and I eat cake all day long before heading over to the activity center to play Ping Pong with Jeffster.