Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Where I've Been: Spring Cleaning and Battling a Tiny Tyrant


I've been Spring cleaning pretty much since the beginning of April, and since I've really never actually OFFICIALLY Spring-cleaned, I have a question for you.

How do you know when you're DONE with the spring cleaning? Seems like while I'm busy Spring cleaning, the whole house just keeps getting dirty again. I'm pretty sure I've started over at least twice, but I never seem to get DONE. Is that how it's supposed to work?

Also, I am seriously not sure I'm going to survive this two-going-on-three-years-old stage with Peabody. He is still very cute and he's learning to talk and sing and he's funny and smart and sweet, but he's also a total ranting, foaming-at-the-mouth, snarling, spitting, hissing tyrant, and the job of parenting him is physically and mentally and emotionally draining right now. Pretty much every other thing I try to do with him involves a battle. There's so much battling that when something happens without a battle, I'm actually SURPRISED. Is that how it's supposed to be at this age? Am I doing something wrong?

Al seems to think I'm too lax with Peabody, while I would guess there are others who think I'm expecting too much from him at too young an age. My own gut instinct vollies between believing each of those things, back and forth, back and forth. I don't think Matthew is abnormally difficult, I just think I'm abnormally unsure about how to deal with it, and equally as abnormally upset and stressed out by his (probably normal and age-appropriate) negativity.

And I swear, if ONE more person says, "Oh, enjoy this stage. It gets much worse!" or "Oh, this is the easiest time of parenting. Just wait!" I don't know WHAT I'm gonna do, y'all.

It HAS to get easier with this boy! It really, really does. Tell me that it will. Please?

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  1. No I won't tell you it gets easier, boys are so different from girls. I had two girls and one boy, he was the most difficult strong willed kid I ever knew. You just have to go with your gut instincts and a lot of prayer.

  2. You'll be fine. Boys are different. But not worse. And not always more difficult. I find the drama in my girls more challenging most days. Hang in there, Mama. It will get better. Yes, you may miss the precious part of this age, but it's okay to enjoy the older boy later. :-)
    As far as handling boys? I'd ask for a man's advice. Certainly, Al is your first line of defense. God made them different than us and it's okay to trust their wisdom on what will work better. Sometimes parenting boys goes against a mama's instinct. Maybe that means "be tougher" and maybe that means "be more creative."

    And remember, God put Peabody in your care because He knew you were the perfect mommy for him. He has already given you what you need to raise your son. Rest in that. And also, eat lots of chocolate.

  3. Girls are different from boys for sure -- he may be much more straightforward than Bean, and often we mamas tend to use WAY too many words for our boys. I always think of that Far Side cartoon that shows the dog listening to his master: "Blah blah blah blah Fido, blah blah blah . . ." I think I overloaded my 2nd son with too much talking, and I should've kept is simpler. Al is your resident expert. :o)

    I also love the book "Love & Logic Magic for the Preschool Years." It's mostly about being consistent, having kids learn from natural consequences, and having empathy for your child as they're learning lessons -- so you help them know you're on their team.

    You're probably doing much better than you feel like you're doing -- hang in there!

  4. first off....I miss you. ♥

    Secondly....I have no advice about peabody. I'm brain dead these days.

  5. I have a just-turned-three-year old. It's hard. There are days (well, times during the day) that I love her to pieces and then, even the same day(!!), there are times when I could "love" her to pieces. No real advice, but you are not alone!!

  6. I thought this stage was rough with both my kids, but especially my first. Stay calm and NEVER give in. Do it once and your done for! It only lasts if they know they can get you to cave in. Hang in there Megan.

  7. Every kid is different. They're BORN that way! I have 2 boys, an "easy" one, and a "difficult" one. I still remember going to a lecture on "taming the terrible twos", and the pediatrician saying that "there are kids out there who make a good parent look bad, and a bad parent look good, and everything in between.". IMO It certainly does get easier (mine are 11 and 13 now), but their personalities never change. As for battles, I learned (the much-too-hard way) that you got to choose your battles, don't give them more and more fuel when you do fight (ie walk away), and it helps to be very direct (ie don't ask... say "I want you to do this".). HTH We seriously had to seek professional help with "difficult child". BEST MONEY EVER SPENT! Don't be afraid to ask for help, from husband, family, friends, doctor, etc...

  8. I know that boys and girls are different, but the problems you describe with Peabody sound eerily similar to the ones I am having with Sophie! If you do find the answer to dealing with the behaviour, please let me know!!!

  9. You had a girl first, so now you are learning to parent a boy, which is different. I really liked the book about raising boys by James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Gave me insight.

    Your boy is at a tough age. Three was better, for us, four had some attitude involved, five was wonderful, and things generally improved from there.

    Things went better for me when I listened to my husband. Just sayin'...:)

  10. I don't have any insightful words of wisdom, I just wanted to say hang in there and know that you are loved. Motherhood is never easy, but it is so worth it! You are shaping the lives of precious children of God.

  11. (I got nothin'. I tried to list Mookie on Craigslist, but they deleted the post. Whatevs, right?)

    I love what LoraLynn said, though. Prayer and chocolate. :)

    Which makes me think, is it possible that there is something in his diet that is making him incredibly irritable? I remember I had a student once that was SO! INCREDIBLY! ohmigoodnessgracious CHALLENGING! And I had him right after lunch. I suggested to his mom that she monitor his eating, and, lo and behold, he had an intolerance for whatever he was eating at lunch. He became a different kid after that! Just a thought. :)
    Good luck, sister.

  12. I think you wrote exactly what I've been thinking in my mind about Brennan. I have absolutely no idea what to do...except that I remember that sometimes, God wants us to be desperate for Him and His help. And that's right where He has us. :) Hugs to you!

  13. My 3 yo has been screaming at me for the last hour. So I can't offer much encouragement. Everything that you wrote has been said or felt by me. I just sent a text to my husband (he's not home) telling him I couldn't/wouldn't spank her (which is always his suggestion) because I know without a doubt that it would be all anger and no discipline and I would only regret it. This is a hard day.

    I'll pray for you and you pray for me.

  14. "You just have to go with your gut instincts and a lot of prayer."...wise words. This is pretty much where I have ended up w/ Samuel. Pfft. Know the feelin', dog. Miss you & love you, -e.

  15. Sorry no advice here, right there in the trenches with ya. (how did he get that watermelon out of the fridge anyway?) Praying with ya and hanging on for dear life! So thankful for the Lord who is steady and strong to see us through!

  16. Well, all I can tell you is that my youngest son was especially trying and argumentative. Today he's an attorney, so maybe Peabody is gearing up to be a lawyer in the future. I remember thinking I could wring my son's sweet little neck somedays, but I'm so glad I didn't. Seeing the man he's become has certainly made all those tough days we had well worth it. Hang in there Mama, it is so going to be the best job you've ever done!

  17. Boys are a different breed, Megan. They are so physical and explore their worlds in such a different "test it all out hands on" way. And so my boys can be so impatient! Pair that with the slower verbal skills and it can be so challenging. I am sort of hanging my hat on the theory that boys are harder in the beginning but get easier as they get older. You are an awesome mom and you are going to just have to parent differently with Peabody than you did with Bean. Maybe lowering your expectations is the first place to look if your gut is telling you that. I know I have to do that all the time!

  18. I am with you there, girl. My Quinn was 3 in January, so I can totally relate to what you are going through. I have nothing to compare it to, as he is my only child, but I can tell you life is certainly different than a year ago when he had just turned two. I will be praying along with you that we both survive this season of life!

  19. You are right that he is still that cute, adorable boy. I personally think they HAVE to be Cute and Adorable, otherwise we may just lock them in their rooms. Tony was the same way and really pushed both of us. He is a much nicer kid who listens much better now. So I think all the all the time spent now setting and enforcing the limits is well worth the effort.

    And if it is any consoliation, everytime I have caught that little man and his jeep in the street he has immediately stopped. He thinks about the whole turning around and getting back on the side walk, but he does manage to do it. I promise that Kelly and I will keep our eye out for him and the jeep.

    Nancy, Joe, Kelly and Tony Campana