A Series of Wildly Unfortunate Events

A few days ago, I had one of those days. You know, the ones where nothing goes right? Where you literally can’t believe the ridiculous series of events that is unfolding before your eyes?

The bad day was actually a few days in the making.  It started, as most things do, with a rough night of sleep.  I’m trying to wean Ell-Bell from her night nursing, but she has other plans. She doesn’t want to cut back, in fact, she’s been trying to wake up for an earlier feed.  I know things will never get better if I give in, so we’ve been butting heads.  Two nights before “The Day,” Ell-Bell woke up ridiculously early to eat, and it took me half an hour to distract her enough to get her back to sleep.  Before I could fall back to sleep myself, though, K-Man was awake and crying hysterically.  I still don’t know what was wrong, maybe a bad dream?  But it took me another half hour to get him back down.  Then I drifted to sleep for … two … glorious hours, before Ell-Bell was awake and demanding to eat for real this time.  I gave in and nursed her, because I was SO TIRED OMG.  Only, after I finished nursing her, she was not ready to go back to sleep.  I finally got her down and returned to my room, but before my head could hit the pillow, she was crying again.  She had pooped herself.  Ugh.

When I woke up for the day, I was not happy.  Hubby and I had a major fight, obviously inspired by the fact that I had had a terrible night with the kids, and he was awake for zero percent of it.  Hubby got pissed with my attitude and left for work early, which enraged me.  Seriously, when he punishes me by peacing out, I lose my mind.

Anyway, we exchanged apologies by text a few hours later, like we pretty much always do.  And that evening, Hubby felt super guilty and treated me to Chipotle.  And then after the kids went to bed, he went out and got me Sonic mozzarella sticks and ice cream.  Yep, we’re gluttons.  Come at me.  But my tummy wasn’t feeling that great and I actually wasn’t very interested in even more food, but I stuffed it down anyway because (a) I have no self control and (b) I wanted to accept Hubby’s peace offering.

I went to bed early because exhaustion plus tummy ache, and I couldn’t wait to feel better after a good night’s sleep.  Only, I didn’t get a good night’s sleep.  At all.  Ell-Bell was awake from 12:30am to 3:00am, sparring with me about eating.  I held strong for hours, you guys, but every time I would get her back to sleep, she would wake up again only 10-15 minutes later.  It was torture. In the middle of it all, K-Man woke up again (what the heck) and needed attention, all while Ell-Bell was screaming her head off in the room next door.  At least this time, Hubby woke up to help out.  I finally gave up and fed Ell-Bell at 3am because I NEEDED sleep.  Then K-Man woke up again at 5am and wanted me to “sing songs.”

Two hours later, I was awake for the The Day and not feeling it AT ALL.  I had no idea how I was going to make it through the next 12 hours.  And stupidly, I weighed myself.  I was three pounds heavier than the day before.  Fack.  Who knew eating two dinners and dessert would pack on the pounds so quickly?

I spent all morning just trying to power through, all the while day dreaming about nap time.  I couldn’t wait to put the kids down, turn on the fire, sip some tea, and watch my YouTube videos.  And maybe fall asleep for a bit.

When 1:00pm rolled around, Ell-Bell went down for her nap like an angel.  My mouth watered as I was one step closer to my glorious anticipated break.  Only, K-Man had no visions of napping.  He. was. fucking. wired.  Like, I can’t remember the last time he was so awake at nap time.  He wouldn’t lie still.  He actually wouldn’t even lie down.  He was jumping on the bed, flailing his body around wildly, asking for milk, asking for water, demanding to go potty for the one zillionth time.  Every time I left his room and went downstairs to make my tea, I would hear him jumping down out of bed and opening his door.  We played this game for an hour and a half.  I watched about 10 total minutes of YouTube (in two minute increments), and sipped cold tea between visits back upstairs.  When K-Man started screaming at the top of his lungs, I gave up and brought him downstairs.  I couldn’t have him waking up Ell-Bell.

Ell-Bell woke up after 20 more minutes or so, anyway.  I threw some goldfish and milk in her direction, set K-Man up with some paint and paper, and opened my laptop on the floor to cyber shop for a bit (#therapy).  I was doing some deep breathing, trying to figure out how to turn the day around despite being unbelievably bummed that I got no break at nap time.

And then, as K-Man was putting away his paint, he failed to screw the lid on tightly for one of the containers, and he dropped it on the rug.  I watched horrified, in true slow motion, as green paint splattered across my light-colored rug, onto the adjacent wood floor, and up onto the brick hearth.  Holy. fucking. shit, I thought to myself.  Is this really happening right now?  (As an aside, if you have any idea how to get paint out of brick crevices, please enlighten me.)

As I was crouched down with my face in the rug, pep-talking to myself and vigorously scrubbing the green paint-affected areas with a soap-and-vinegar mix, my son–who insisted on playing with his cars basically on top of me as I worked–accidentally lost control of one car and smashed it right into my eye socket.  And I lost it.  Not in an angry way, no, I started sobbing.  Crying big fat heaving snotty tears into my newly-green rug.

While K-Man is a total butthead, he’s also a softie and a sweetheart, a total empath. So he launched into a series of efforts to make me feel better. “Don’t cwy, mommy. Isss okayyy, mommy. I give you a hug and kiss and you feel better, okay mommy? You need a toy mommy? Here, ha’ dis car mommy. You want another toy mommy? You want dis one?” It was so cute and ridiculous that I started laughing between sobs.

“You feel better mommy?” K-Man asked.

Just then, Ell-Bell crawled over and showed interest in K-Man’s toys. So I said, “I would feel better if you shared your toys with Ell-Bell.”

K-Man’s face changed as he pulled all of his toys closer. “No, you be sad mommy.”  Major eye roll.

A few minutes later, K-man squatted down and took a ginormous piss through his undies, right there on the family room floor, even though he had peed twice already in the potty in the last hour.  At least he missed the rug, right?

I already had a stash of paper towels nearby, so thankfully I cleaned up the pee with little effort.  As K-Man resumed his car play, he taunted me: “Cwwwyy, mommy!”  I take back everything I said about him being a sweet softie.

At that point, I gave up. I scooped my two kiddos up and brought them into the living room and turned on Trolls.  Some days, you just gotta.  As I sat there and watched Trolls for the hundredth time, with K-Man sprinting back and forth on the couch, jabbing me in the spine with his elbows and knees as he passed, I thought to myself, this is really fucking hard.  I’m glad I’m doing it, I have zero regrets, I love my kids to the moon and back, but still, this is really. fucking. hard.

But, on the bright side, and in the words of the famous Princess Poppy, if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again.

Until next time,

Vee

How to Discipline Your 2-Year-Old (#NaBloPoMo Day 18)

And we’re on to NaBloPoMo Day 18!  I know it’s the weekend, but I hope you’re all behaving. Today’s theme is Discipline, and things are about to get pretty stern up in here.

Let’s talk about my son K-Man.  I love him to the end of the Earth.  But the terrible twos have struck hard, and my once sweet little boy is now a bona fide ass face.  Guys, it’s so bad, so bad that I have to wonder if everything is ok.  Is this normal two-year-old stuff? Or is he going to have major behavioral issues as he ages?

The biggest problem is violence.  His body is a weapon and he knows how to use it.  He knows how to use it on the cats, his little sister, and even his poor unsuspecting parents. It’s not so much that he’s outright hitting us — he mostly knows that’s wrong, though he’s not above it when he’s delirious with exhaustion.  Instead, he’s all about crazy, uncontrolled hyper movements that he knows are going to land on an innocent bystander.  And casually bumping his little sister out of the way when she’s already teetering on her unsteady feet.  Or hugging her and then slowly pushing her to the ground. (Rage.)  Or jumping on my knee caps when I’m sitting on the ground with my legs extended. (More rage.)  Or choking Hubby out from behind.

And then you have the epic tantrums and the never ever listening when you ask him to stop doing something destructive.  All of this without an ounce of apology or empathy behind those beautiful big blue toddler eyes.  Ugh, it’s so exhausting.  And it’s constant.  And it’s been going on since well before he turned two.  And he’s almost three now.  Relief, are you out there somewhere? Are you lost? Did you get my change of address?

So what do you do when you have an extra sociopathic toddler?  How do you discipline a two-year-old?

My knee-jerk response is to say that you don’t.  Because they’re still so dumb, you guys.  They really don’t understand anything.  I mean, I’m 32 and I still haven’t fully learned how to follow rules or do the right thing, so why should I expect my toddler to?

But deep down in my heart I know that as hard as disciplining is at this age, we have to try, right? Because if we don’t, sociopathic toddlers (normal) could turn into sociopathic adults (not normal).  Yikes.

So if your kid is about to enter this charming stage of his or her life, and you’re looking for help (because I know I still am), let me give you the low down on some of the things we’ve tried with our little butthead.  Spoiler alert: most of it doesn’t work.

  • Yelling:  Nobody likes to be yelled at, so this one should discourage your kid from doing most undesirables, right? Wrong.  Toddlers are immune to yelling.  They don’t care if you scream at them until you’re red in the face.  In fact, they enjoy watching you change colors.  There is, however, one exception.  If you’re yelling at your kid in terror out of fear for his or her life — as in, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP YOU’RE ABOUT TO RUN IN FRONT OF A MOVING VEHICLE — they listen right up.  And thank god for that.  (Hmm, maybe I need to learn how to emulate that terror in my voice even when I’m just asking K-Man to get his mother effing butt off the mother effing dining table, for the last time. Gawd!)
  • Time-in:  Time-out is getting a bit of a bad rap these days, so the new hip thing to do is sit down with your child for some “time-in” — you can discuss the transgression with your kid while also keeping them company and reinforcing how much you love them.  Aww!  For a while, time-in was our jam.  If K-Man smushed his little sister one too many times, we would buckle him in to his booster seat at the table and sit next to him to talk through it.  And once K-Man had a good idea of what time-in was, we were able to use the threat of it as a deterrent.  As in, “if you smush your sister again you’re going to have to do time-in!”  Unfortunately, in recent weeks, K-Man has learned a little self-determination, and he no longer willingly goes in to his booster seat for time-in.  And since I’m not cool with physically forcing his body in half to get him to sit down, we’ve had to retire time-in to the discipline graveyard.  Boo.
  • Bribes: K-Man loves him some choc-luht, and we’re not above luring it over his fat head to get him to do something that we need him to do.  They’re just baby teeth, right?  This tactic works well for encouraging certain immediate affirmative behaviors (e.g., “if you let me brush your teeth you can have some chocolate after”), but it is less effective for discouraging prospective actions (e.g., “if you don’t do the naughty thing that I don’t know you’re about to do, you can have some chocolate”).
  • Taking Things Away:  I can’t believe how long it took me to figure this one out.  Toys? A privilege.  TV? A privilege.  If my turd of a child is acting out, I don’t have to let him keep playing with toys or watching tv! Whaaaat? This is my current discipline of choice, because it is the most effective deterrent.  “If you don’t lay down for a diaper change, I’m going to turn Moana off!” or, “If you hit your sister with that truck again, I’m going to take it away!”  Genius! Should I write a book?
  • Telling Him He’s In Trouble:  K-Man hates being in trouble, even if it comes with no real consequence.  He just cringes at the word.  So sometimes, all I have to do is tell him that if he carries on with certain behavior, he’ll be in big trouble.  Or if he’s already done the offending act, I just let him know he’s in trouble and he immediately gets majorly uncomfortable.  “No, I not in trouble, you happy mommy.”  “No, I give you a hug and then I not in trouble.”  “No, I not in big trouble, I in small trouble!”  What a dork.

 

So there you have it, my busted up list of tips and tricks for toddler discipline.  (Side note: should they really let people be parents without first passing a course in child psychology?)

The only other piece of advice I have for those maneuvering toddler discipline — and this bit is actually genuine — is to sit down and talk through strategies with your significant other.  Make sure you have a game plan, and make sure you’re on the same page.  Ideally, you would do this before your child gets to the age where they need actual disciplining.  Because the last thing you want when you’re navigating your child’s first god awful temper tantrum is to learn that your hubby doesn’t even know what time-in is.  Yikes!

Until next time,

Vee

 

Why does my kid always…

Why does my daughter always …

  • Poop her diaper the second after I change her into a fresh one.
  • Take short naps when I need to get something done, and long naps when I need to get out the door.
  • Spit her pacifier onto the floor every time we’re in a public restroom.
  • Hide food in her neck folds, and somehow, also in her diaper.
  • Try to touch my brain (via my nostrils) whenever I hold her.
  • Get a head cold, followed by an ear infection, followed by a diaper rash. Rinse and repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.
  • Insist on unfolding the laundry as soon as I’ve folded it.
  • Bee-line for the kitties’ water dish as soon as I put her down on the floor.
  • Cry from exhaustion, but then do metaphorical (or sometimes actual) cartwheels when I try to put her down for a nap.

And why does my son always…

  • Refuse to fall asleep in the car until we’re 5 minutes away from our final destination.
  • Magically identify and extract new vegetables from his meal.
  • Ignore a toy all day, but need to play with it immediately if baby sister shows any interest in it.
  • Refuse to wear a jacket or use a blanket, no matter how cold it is.
  • Try to choke me out when hugging me from behind.
  • Drink bath water by the gallons.
  • Confess his hiding place when playing hide-and-seek.
  • Have a growth spurt right after I drop a fortune on new clothes.
  • Talk about his penis to strangers.
  • Squeeze the full juice box before he puts the straw in his mouth.

Why do blowouts come in threes?

Why do the Terrible Twos start at 18 Months? And when oh when do they end?

Why does it hurt like a mofo to step on a Hotwheels car?

And how is it possible that in spite of everything, my kids melt my heart over and over again, every single day?

Until next time,

Vee