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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Field notes

* In one of our first days home from the hospital, when Neve was getting a little fussy, I placed her on my chest, and she stopped crying for a minute or two, her eyes wide open. I wondered if she was hearing my heartbeat, and if, to her, that sound was home – the only place she’d known before this. There was a look of longing on her face as she blinked, and all I could think to say was, “I know it’s a big change, baby girl. But I think you’ll get to like it out here.”

* While I’m sure part of it has to do with having past experience going for us – and while I’m also sure some challenging times lie ahead – I must admit that so far, this home-with-a-new-baby experience has been about a billion times easier the second time around.

Now more than 2 weeks old, Neve is thus far a sleepy, laid back baby. She sleeps well and quickly between nighttime feedings, which are reasonably spaced out, and she has never yet fussed inconsolably for longer than a few minutes. (Swaddling, feeding her, or finishing the diaper change seem to be the answer in every situation presented so far.)

And despite my paranoia – or maybe partly because we did everything we could to prepare Lily for the change a sibling would bring – Lily is generally handling the whole thing like a champ. She’s maintained her routine, going to pre-school on weekdays; she loves holding Neve and giving her kisses; and while I’m repeatedly having to admonish her to GENTLY hug Neve, and GENTLY rock her in the swing, and GENTLY play with her fingers and toes – I’m struggling to bodily protect Neve while not completely dousing Lily’s enthusiasm about her – I’m thrilled that Lily’s so tuned in to her new sister, and seems not at all threatened at the start. Again, I’m sure there will be more challenging times ahead – but it’s sure nice to have a smooth, dare-I-say “easy” transition after a bat-crazy delivery. Continue reading

Transitioning from one kiddo to two (or, “I still love ya, baby!”)

So in the latter months of this pregnancy, I’ve been freaking out a little about how Lily will adapt to suddenly having an attention-hogging new baby in the house. After all, she has enjoyed the loving, undivided attention of two parents her whole life, and knows nothing different from that.

And while my yammering about this issue one night caused Joe to lie awake in the middle of the night, worrying about it, too, overall, I’ve been obsessing about this much more (shocking, I know). Mainly, this is because Lily’s very mommy-centric – 9 times out of 10, I’m the one she wants to do, well, any given thing – and because Joe won’t be producing milk anytime soon, the baby, by necessity, will be overwhelmingly mommy-centric, too.

So unless the opportunity to clone myself arises between now and July 10, I figure I’m screwed.

It’s funny. Joe, and many other people, point out all the time that everyone who has a sibling has survived the transition just fine, and rationally, I know this is true. Plus, it seems ludicrous to drive yourself crazy because you know your kid is going to be unhappy for a while. That’s just an inevitable part of life. But right from the get-go, your child’s happiness is what you want more than anything. That’s why we parents spend so much weekend time at the zoo, the park, at kids’ birthday parties, etc. You love to see your kid smiley and sing-songy and joyful, and you’ll bend over backwards to make that happen.

But when a undeniable limitation, like a new baby, enters the picture, there are inevitably going to be bumps in the road for your little one. Continue reading