Discipline: When “the small stuff” has enormous consequences

While picking up around the house a few days ago, I finally grabbed at a ripped-off piece of pink Pull-up that was on the living room floor – the detritus of a recent battle with Lily.

On this particular occasion, Lily had a poop-filled Pull-up on, yet she was ardently resisting being changed. (She’s pretty much got the whole peeing-in-the-toilet thing down, but for some reason, we’re really, really struggling to get the #2 piece of the puzzle in place.) We tried to reason with her, but in the end, she fought and kicked while Joe forcibly changed her; and as soon as she was back on the floor, she yanked at the Pull-up, trying to take it off while insisting that she wanted her poopy diaper back on, and, in a rage, tried to hit one of us – I don’t even remember who. (Again, all sense goes out the window when kids get worked up. I mean, really. What’s the appeal of putting a poop-filled diaper back ON, exactly?)

Joe swept her up and took her up to her room, which is where Lily’s “time outs” occur. The screaming escalated; Joe removed an item from her room each time Lily opened her door to try to leave (a new and effective method coined by Joe); and eventually, she yelled and cried herself out and became calm, if a bit whiny, once more, and apologized. (Though, maddeningly, at this stage, we always ask her, “Do you know what you’re sorry for?” and inevitably, she’ll be struck dumb or say, quite earnestly, “No.” Her rages and tantrums take her so far away from their point of origin that she completely forgets what they’re even about.)

A similar huge-tantrum scenario played out a few nights ago, when Lily, after requesting something specific for dinner, complained and whined about not wanting to eat it the minute we sat down to eat (that time, I took her up to her room); and last night, yet another battle over a seemingly microscopic matter resulted in Lily screaming in her room.

Oof. Continue reading

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Birthday party burnout

Lily, having her cake and eating it, too

It’s been more than a month since I last managed to get something up on this blog, and a big part of the reason for this lag is not just preparation for Lily’s birthday and party on May 14 – and the subsequent, still-not-completely finished (of course) “thank you” notes that follow – but the five additional birthday parties (and a dear friend’s wedding in Minneapolis) that we’ve attended since. (It’s been a cake and goody bag marathon that’s convinced me, on the basis of a ludicrously small sample, that the bulk of the world’s current pre-schoolers were born between mid-May to early June.)

Now, Lily’s had fun at each party, but Mommy’s feeling a bit beaten down – perhaps in part because this onslaught has coincided with the infamously fatigue-plagued third trimester of pregnancy. Regardless, I’ll need to buck up and get used to this, since I have years of the same ahead of me.

For Lily and two of her cousins, who now both live in the area, were born within a 13 day span in 2008 (which seemed a strange coincidence, but kind of neat, too, at the time); plus, an older cousin also has a May birthday. And while an appealingly pragmatic thought that briefly passed through my head was, “What if I suggest throwing one big, collective birthday party for all the 3 year old cousins?” I was too scared to even suggest it out loud. For I could hear, and feel myself also giving voice to, the inevitable BIG objection as soon as the idea flashed in my mind: Shouldn’t each girl have her own special day/party, where she didn’t have to share the spotlight?

Again and again, the right answer seemed to be “yes.” But as we all know, doing the right thing is often a huge pain the tuckus. Continue reading