Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is she three... or thirteen?

The person who coined the term "terrible twos" was on crack. Or not very bright. Or just didn't know the age of their own child. For us, the twos were really quite terrific. Elise was a wonderful child; all sweetness and light. I figured if this is as terrible as the twos get, I have it made!

And then as we inched ever closer to her third birthday, we noticed a change. She started talking back. Saying "NO!" when we asked her to do something. She would roll her eyes, and stomp her feet at us. She was sassy, and not in a good way. What happened to my sweet little girl?

Then last night, I snapped. Fred was reading her a bedtime story, but was so tired he kept falling asleep as he was reading. Finally he told Elise that he would finish the story (which was quite long) tomorrow. This did not sit well with Elise and she started yelling "NO!" and whining. I went in and explained that Poppa was so tired and she needed to be understanding. Fred even offered to read her a shorter one, to which she yelled, "NO!" again.

So we gave her a choice... no story, or the shorter story. First she wouldn't choose, then she said, "no story." So when we said good night to her, she started crying. I told her that she had made her choice, and if she didn't settle down, all her toys, books, and stuffed animals were coming out of her room. Her reply? "Take my toys."

I told her to think carefully, because if she continued with this attitude, I would take ALL her toys away, and she would have nothing left to play with. Her response again was, "I want to you take my toys!" Followed by more screaming. She should know better than to dare me.

So I took a laundry basket and took everything out of her room, all the while she was shrieking (think tornado siren loud). Then I went downstairs to take care of the rest of her stuff. Because it was 10:30 at night (and I'm a bit crazy), instead of carting all her toys out to the garage, I took packing tape, and taped off the area where all her toys were. Sort of like a crime scene. Greatness.

Her behavior last night isn't the worst example of how she can be, but it was the final straw. Fred and I are not the strictest parents in the world, but we do demand a certain level of respect, politeness, and obedience from our offspring. We have talked to her about acceptable behavior, and when everything is going her way, she is very agreeable. It's when things do not go her way that she turns into a whirling dervish of toddler angst.

So we have taken away what she holds dear... her "stuff". She understands that the only way to get it back it to earn it back with good behavior. So far it's going pretty well today. Except for one set-back where she lost the toy that she had earned back AND went to sit in time out.

It's cool... Rome wasn't built in a day. We'll do this one stuffed animal and puzzle at a time.


shannon said...

Oh man, nice eye-rolly photo there! Dude, this post brings back memories from when L was 3. Sounds like you handled things as well as possible (LOL crime scene) and she'll figure it out eventually, as long as you're consistent. Hang in there!

Jade =) said...

Seriously.Can.Relate! Ughh, three was difficult for us, but four (since Callen has come along) has been even worse. We never really had to set up a strict discipline outline (ie, one strike gets a warning, two strikes gets time out, etc). So we are terribly inconsistent... so, we got that working against us. No matter how hard we try to keep it consistent, we end up totally blowing it (either letting him off the hook to easily, or snapping and throwing away his favorite thing). Ugh, patience... where does it all go? Anyway, once again, just know you're not alone... and as much as I hate to say this, it appears the attitude problems just keep getting bigger as they do. Yuck.

phonelady said...

right on mom it is high time she learn things dont always dont go her way LOL !!! I tell you some of the parents in my church need to learn a little displine goes a long way . If my kids ever acted up in church I would be mortified ,no consequences equal a spoiled rotten child in my opinion .

Kim said...

Three was difficult for us too. And you are completely right to demand respect. It awesome that you stuck to your guns. You have to, or she will know that you will eventually give in. I, being a pretty strict parent,would have said no story since she was being so rude.

I wish I could say it gets better and easier, and to some extent it does if you are consistent, but I think the truthful answer is that it gets different. :-) I have to tell Josiah fairly regularly that he is not allowed to talk to me in a rude tone. Since we have laid the ground work, he usually apologizes and stops...for the moment. :-)

Praying for you this morning.

SAm said...

Ah yes. I call 'em the "horrific threes." Its when they REALLY begin to assert their independance. Two's got nothin on Three!!
Take care,