Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not "THAT" Mom

Ugh. These are the nights I dread. The nights I have to play "enforcer." The nights I don't get to be "fun, cool Mom," but instead have to discipline and enforce consequences. It's especially brutal at bedtime.

I've found myself lately slipping into an "ANNA" voice. Meaning that everything that comes out of my mouth is IN ALL CAPS. Seems like the kid is CHAMPION at tuning me out unless I SPEAK TO HER LIKE THIS at certain times. And I don't want to be "that" mom.

I read "Parenting with Love and Logic" this past summer. I think it might be time for a re-read. I know most of my consequences are natural consequences. I explain the circumstances calmly, but still, I find myself getting so frustrated at times that I can't help raising my voice. And I don't want to be "that" mom.

Bedtime is an especially tough time for us. I'm usually exhausted. She's usually wound up. It usually ends in tears. All around. Tonight she peaked her little head around the door and whispered, "don't be made at me." And my heart broke. Granted, she'd earned it by being violent and not listening. She'd already lost all her bedtime stories. But I'm giving the victory of that battle over to her, because she's sleeping peacefully and I'm sitting on the couch, still stinging over those 5 little words. I wanted to go back in after I closed her bedroom door and tell her I changed my mind and just read her some stories. But I don't want to be "that" mom.

This whole parenting thing...just a constant battle of what we know will be best for them in the long-run versus what will make them happy now. I love when she's happy NOW. Her little eyes light up and she has the best smile. But I want my kid to learn that there are consequences for her actions (or lack thereof). I want her to grow up to be responsible, to take initiative, to be respectful. I want to be the mom who sits back proudly in 10, 15, 20 years and says "yeah, that's MY kid."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If I Find One More Sandra Boynton Book in my Underwear Drawer...

In so very many ways, toddlers are like squirrels, socking away their treats in several little treasure troves all over the place. Funny I should mention sock. Anna's favorite place to stash all her treasures lately is in my underwear drawer. IS NOTHING SACRED? Every time I go in to pull out a fresh pair of socks, out flies Barnyard Dance. Or a Ninja Turtle. Or a plastic piece of bologna. I mean, seriously, BOLOGNA!

We're settling in to being at home, but I'm quickly realizing that Anna loves repetition. As in, we're playing the same games over. And over. And over. Oh, and over. I tend to get a little tired of "put the bunny to bed" and I definitely fear for my life when we play doctor. I'm getting creative with solutions to the monotony, but also trying to respect the fact that she LIKES the repetition. I try to schedule one or two things outside the house each week (keeping in mind that I'm only at home 3 days a week). Plus we do a lot of baking, coloring and nail painting. She's been fairly flexible with my desire to obsessively clean the house, but I can tell I've been pushing it too far when she asks "Aw, mom, are there MORE bad germs on the tub AGAIN?" Scarred for life.

Speaking of scarred for life, I did a bad thing last week. I was TRYING to do a good thing. But it backfired big time.

Anna is like an addict with her pacifier. She has been, literally, from the day she was born. She sneaks it when she's not supposed to have it, begs for it when I take it away and won't go to bed without it. I decided last week that since her half birthday was on January 31st, maybe this would be an opportune time for the "nuk fairy" to visit our house. The nuk fairy visits big girls who don't need their nuks anymore and trades a fun new toy for the nuk, taking the nuk to babies who need it.

I decided to give Anna a few days of pep talks about the nuk fairy, explaining that she was almost a big girl and how exciting it would be for the nuk fairy to pay her a visit. Yes. Great. She was pumped. Until bed time rolled around.

I put her to bed as usual and she whined as usual when I left the room. But after about 10 minutes of her complaining off and on, hubby and I heard her door knob rattling, followed by a positively pathetic moan from behind the door. I sent hubby in since he can usually resolve issues quickly with her. A few minutes later he came out snickering.

"She's afraid to go to sleep because the 'fairy babies' are going to come to her room in the night and steal her nuks."

Truly, this child is afraid of NOTHING. She likes to be scared. She loves to talk and read about monsters. But I casually mention about a friendly, benevolent fairy possibly, maybe sneaking into her bedroom during the night and stealing her most prized possession, and THAT freaks her out?! Of course it does.

I had to go in and promise to call the nuk fairy right away (who is very nice and ALWAYS listens to mommies) and tell her we weren't ready for her to visit our house yet.

So, we're keeping the nuk! At least for a little while longer. Which I suspect was her end game all along. Well played, tiny human, well played.