Living life in the carpool lane..

Archive for the ‘Trials and temper tantrums’ Category

After dropping off M at school one day, K and I decided to do a Michael’s run.  I had a couple of items I needed to buy for an order and the morning was the perfect time to do so.

K was not up to it at all.  She wanted out of the shopping cart.  She wanted to walk around on her own.

I had to shop.  I had to listen to the whining that turned into crying, that almost turned into screaming.

Thank God for the woman that was in line before me.  Having been through this phase in motherhood, she understood that K was probably not going to last much longer and let me make my purchase before her.

By the time, we were done and on our way out of the store, K was practically in tears.  The screaming hadn’t started yet.  It was more her ‘pity cry’ than her “i’m mad, get me out of here NOW” cry.

I took her out of the shopping cart, put the items into the car, and right as I was going to put her into the carseat, she holds me tighter.

She obviously didn’t want to get strapped down into another seat again.

With time to kill, I let her hold me.  I held her back, I squeezed her tight.  I comforted her.

We stood in the parking lot, holding each other and I was swaying back and forth.  We were dancing in the parking lot.

It was all she needed.

It was a pretty hectic morning.  It had been a pretty hectic few days.  All she wanted was to slow down and take a break.

She just wanted hugs.  She just wanted comfort.

We danced in the parking lot for about 10-15 minutes.  Eventually her hold on my relaxed.  We played a bit with her in my arms.  We laughed.  I talked, she babbled.

When it came time to finally put her back into the carseat, she was fine.  She let me strap her in.  She didn’t fuss.  She didn’t complain.  Everything was pleasant again.

In the middle of all the chaos that is our day to day lives, it’s hard to remember to just slow down and take a break.

Thanks, K.  Lesson learned.

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My kids have a gift.  My kids have a talent.

My kids have the ability to make me look like I have no control over them whatsoever whenever we are in public.

No, really.

They make me look like I’m a completely ‘hot mess mama’ that can’t handle her own kids.

I don’t know how they do it.

And I swear that when I’m home, I have things seemingly under control.  At least, I think I do.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have to interact with other people, that I feel like my kids behave better when we are at home?

Maybe it’s because there are more things to see, hear and experience out than at home?

Maybe it’s because I’m just fooling myself into thinking I have things under control when I’m home?  That’s probably it.

K is at the age where she needs to experience everything.  I’m serious when I say EVERYTHING.  Today, at Costco, she felt the need to feel every package of bread that was within her reach.  EVERY. SINGLE. PACKAGE.

And I get it.  She’s at a very exploratory age.  She uses all her senses to get a feel for the world surrounding her.  But, when she refuses to sit in the shopping cart, so I compromise and allow her to walk while holding my hand, AND we have to keep up with Hubby and M ahead of us?

Hot mess.

What about when M is in dance class and I can barely stop K from wanting to get on that dance floor and join the class.  Thank goodness for the large waiting area in the back of the class, but it’s a real struggle to keep her on the carpeted area instead of the dance floor.  And when she refuses to cooperate, she screams.  Loud.  So loud the whole class can hear.  And I cringe.  It feels like I have no control over that kid.

Hot mess.

Or the time when we were at the music store and I was purchasing a piano book for M.  I’m at the register holding K trying to pay for the book when she decides she just wants to go down.  She begins to squirm and wiggle.  When that doesn’t work, she screams.  Loud.  Loudly, in my ears.  On top of that, M decides she wants to try out the bongo drums.  With nodes (click here), I’m not allowed to talk over loud noises.  So, I’m wrestling with K, trying to keep her in my arms.  I’m begging M to please stop playing the drums.  I’m wrestling with K again to stop trying to remove all the contents out of my wallet.  I’m begging M AGAIN to quit playing the drums.  I’m trying so hard to stay calm for the sake of my vocal chords and because I’m sure the store would not appreciate a mom having a meltdown.

I wanted to drop everything I was doing, sit on the floor and just cry.  Seriously.  I was THAT overwhelmed.  I wanted to give up and just wait for Hubby to come and rescue me.

I felt like I lost all control.

We’ve all been there, right?

But it is what it is.  I held K a little tighter.  Gave her a bunch of kisses and talked her through all the frustration (which was probably more for me than anything else).  M eventually listened and stopped banging the drum.  I purchased the book.  We went home.

The whole scenario probably lasted five minutes, but it felt like an eternity.

And in the grand scheme of things, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to parenting trials.  This is all probably the easy stuff.

But c’mon!  Can’t they make me look like I have everything under control sometimes?  I mean, can’t they help me look like less flustered?  Just do mommy a favor and stop making me look like a hot mess all the time.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this!  Share your story in the comments below!

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All this time, I always thought that the jealousy would come from M.  I always thought that M would be the more jealous one.  She’s my first born.  For the first three years of her life, she’s been the only one.  Naturally, I thought that she would be the one that would act out whenever she’d see me hold her sister.

Nope.

It’s all K.

K, at 15 (almost 16) months old, is very possessive.

Whenever she sees me cuddle with her big sister, she immediately wants in.

Neh! (No!)”  K says, as she pulls my arm away from her big sister.

Arrr-mah (Arm)” K says, as she takes my arm away from her big sister and hugs it for herself.

Poor M.

Sometimes I feel so bad at the amount of attention I give K at the moment.  K is at that age where she needs to be watched like a hawk and I feel like M gets a little put aside.  M has been very understanding and will usually find ways to work with us, or will usually find ways to entertain herself.

I try to steal little moments with M.  It’s so interesting to see K’s reaction.  I wasn’t expecting K to be so territorial with me.

It’s a good thing this mommy has two “arr-mahs,”  one for each of my girls.

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The best thing about M growing up is her growing communication skills.

The worst thing about M growing up is her growing communication skills.

Talk, forming sentences, learning to express her feelings.. it’s the best and worst thing about being a three, almost four, year old…

It’s the best because we can now have conversations.  She can tell me what she wants.  She can tell me how she feels.  It’s no longer the guessing game it was when she was younger.

But with all that comes ‘the attitude.’

Yes, I know she’s learning to express herself.  Yes, I know she’s picking up inflection and tone from what she observes around her.  Yes, it’s all about growing up.

But if I don’t teach her, she’ll never learn, right?

There are times where her frustration will cause her to answer me back in a way that is just so full of attitude.  It’s not a very respectful way to answer me or to talk to any adult.

That’s when I remind her, “Talk nicely.”  She will repeat what she said in a more pleasant tone.

There are times when she is just demanding.  She wants a particular object or action, and she wants it now!

That’s when I remind her, “Talk nicely.”  She will repeat what she said in a more pleasant tone, adding a ‘please’ at the end of the sentence.

There are still plenty of things she needs to learn about expression and explanation.  If I don’t teach her to talk nicely now, she’ll carry it on to her older years and it may become a bad habit.

I can already see a difference.  There are times where she will resort to a nicer tone to get her point across.  I’m glad that she’s learning and understanding these lessons I try to teach her.

Earlier this month, I went on a play date. It was great. My girls had little ones their age to play and mingle with. 

While I was sitting around with the other mommies with babies, it came to feeding time. 

Mommies left and right of me starting busting out the boobies. 

A little piece of me felt a little jealousy towards the breastfeeding moms. 

I wish I could just bust out the boob. I wouldn’t have to carry around an extra bag with bottles, liners, water and formula. 

Oh the convenience!!

It made me wish my body cooperated better. I did what I could, for both my girls, to try to produce more. My breasts just didn’t cooperate. I guess it happens to some women, me included. 

When picturing motherhood, I always thought I’d be breastfeeding for at least 6months to a year. All my cousins were great producers of milk. I thought I would be too. 

My daughters thrived on formula. K is growing leaps and bounds on formula. I have no complaints. 

Seeing others so easily breastfeed does spark a bit of disappointment in myself and a little jealousy. 

But, I know I’m doing the best for my children.  And I’m definitely not the only mother that has gone through this and has had these same feelings. 

Yesterday, I talked about the phase of life M and I are experiencing together.

Today, let’s make a list of things I’ve learned when dealing with life as a mother to a threenager…

Don’t stay mad
I’m the type of person to hold grudges.  I’m type of person that tends to stay mad.  However, M isn’t.  She goes from super defiant to super cuddly in the matter of minutes.  I have to learn to follow her lead.  Why would I stay mad when she’s trying to be a good girl?  It’s outside my comfort zone, but I know that staying mad when she is passed the moment doesn’t do anything but cause stress for both of us.

Walk away
I do this when things get really bad.  I make sure she’s in a safe location, and I step away beyond her line of sight.  I’m always only a few steps away, but when she can’t see me, it’s a pretty big deal.  Two things can happen when I walk away.  One, she cries harder.  Two, she calms down, gets up and looks for me.  Stepping away not only helps her (sometimes), it helps me.  Stepping away for awhile helps me take a breather, maybe silently scream to myself, and regroup.

Hug
In the midst of M’s tantrums, she often goes in for a hug.  Sometimes I know she’s just deflecting.  Other times, I know she really feels bad and sincerely needs a hug.  I always make sure I don’t deny her of her hugs.  If I know she’s deflecting, I make sure to take a hold of her, and before I bring her in, I bring her face to my face, and I try to talk things out with her.  Then once I get my message across, I bring her in for the hug.  Other times, when I know that she really needs the hug, I swallow my anger, and bring her in.  It’s while we are hugging that I start to talk to her about what happened and how to fix it.  Sometimes, hugging her is hard when I’m right in the middle of feeling angry and frustrated.  However, I know that no matter how mad I feel, I’m still her mother and she needs me for comfort, even if I’m the one that seems to be causing her tears.

Break the cycle
Some days, it feels like all I do is reprimand her.  I feels like it’s one thing after another and all we do is go back and forth with each other.  Some days it seems like she’s in tears all day.  It’s days like those that I find ways to break the monotony of frustration by finding ways to praise her.  During moments of calm, I find little ways to show her she is a good girl.  I find little tasks that she can do for me so I can praise her on how well she is listening to me.  I tell her to sing a song to her sister.  I tell her to pick something up for me.  I ask her to help me out with something.  It’s those little things that break the cycle of our fighting and can sometimes lead to a calm rest of the day.  This is something I learned to do recently.  I got tired of the constant tears and I wanted to find a way to start making her feel good about herself after having a rough day.

So far, these are the things I’ve learned with dealing with “M the Threenager.”  I know as the months go by, I’ll learn more things about how to deal.  M and I are both learning.  I just wish it didn’t involve a lot of raised voices and tears!

What have you learned about dealing with your “threenager?”

Dealing with a three and a half year old is hard.

One minute she’s super duper sweet and cuddly.  The next minute she’s refusing to do anything.

“No!” seems to be her favorite response to everything, yet, I’m not allowed to say it.

She dislikes when I raise my voice or talk firmly to her, but doesn’t realize that if she just listened the first time, none of the consequences would happen..

One minute she’s my best friend.  The next minute I’m her worst enemy.

I hate that, on some days, I feel like all I do is reprimand her.  I feel like all I do is make my kid cry.

In the midst of her tears, I keep telling her, “all you have to do is listen…” over and over again.  I feel like a broken record.

Now I know how my mom felt…

I totally know this is a phase.  I’ve taken enough child development classes in college (ok, just one...) to know that this is the age where she’s learning how far she can go before I lose my mind and she gets in trouble.  I know she’s testing her boundaries.  I know that it’s up to me to set those boundaries.

But it’s exhausting.

I’m taking things one day at a time.  Yesterday may have been a bad day, but we always wake up the next morning with a clean slate.

Everyday with a three and a half year old is different.  Good or bad, I fall in love with her more and more everyday.


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