Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Small Victories

I have been a mommy for a little over 27 months now. Most days I would say it isn't too bad of a gig. Most days I would say there is nothing I would rather be doing. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am a rather lazy parent. I have poor follow through. I don't always do a good job of setting boundaries and communicating expectations. I am the strict parent in the house, and that statement alone is a joke. We are lax, but that has worked for us. We aim for a relative bedtime. We suggest helping to pick up toys, or the toys may have to sit in time out for 24 hours. I have been known to dole out snacks within 30 minutes of an uneaten lunch, or dinner, or breakfast. I have also been known to engage in - and lose - arguments with a two year old. I think I, er, we, have been able to get away with this because, as a whole, Chickie is a pretty clever, easy-going, mild mannered child.

Lately, however, I have reached the conclusion that we need some discipline and I am going to have to make more of an effort to set boundaries and limits, follow through on discipline, and so on. Today is a great example. Today was a rough day. Today started off with Chickie sleeping until almost 10. Personally, I don't usually drag my extra large behind out of bed until Chickie is ready to get up. I know some of you hate me for admitting I sleep in until 9 some mornings. So when she sleeps that late, guess who else is sleeping in? Yup, we both got up late this morning. I was bound and determined to get something done. The bathroom majorly needed to be cleaned. I had laundry to do. The house needed to be dusted and vacuumed. I also thought that a shower would be nice. Silly me and my best intentions.

Before I got to work, I decided we should play outside on Chickie's water table. She adores the thing and it keeps her occupied for hours. I wanted to do a little weeding in the garden and re-pot a couple plants that needed it. Unfortunately the hornets, or wasps, or bees, or whatever exact species of flying devils that Matt has been battling for three weekends are still hanging around. They don't really bother us, but there are enough of them that I don't want to play outside mere feet from where they have taken up residence. Chickie could easily step on one, or lean against one on the hot tub. I don't want her getting stung, especially since I am not sure exactly what they are. Anyway, I also thought it would wear her out since she had slept a little later and I had BIG plans for her nap time. But it wasn't to be. I threw in a load of laundry, started on the tub, and left Chickie playing with her toys. For good measure and added insurance that she would be occupied, I also put on some cartoons. She played relatively well and only asked for the mysterious "bear cookies" for a snack a couple times. (Seriously, she requests bear cookies for a snack all the time. We have no idea what they are. She takes us to the fridge, but can't find them. She takes us to the pantry, but can't find them...) All was going well. Since we had a little bit of a later breakfast, I distracted her when she asked for snacks since I wanted to try to stick to a somewhat normalish lunch time. I made her a lunch of grapes, a cheese stick, a jelly sandwich, and some milk. All things she eats. All things she likes. She can be picky so I usually only make things I know she will eat. Today she wasn't having any it. Not even the grapes. She always at least eats her fruit, unless it is a banana. I told her fine, but I am tired of throwing away food, so I left the plate on the table, put the milk in the fridge and told her she could watch Word World and then it was nap time. Almost immediately she came looking for a snack. I told her no snack, but she could eat her lunch. No dice. She didn't want it. Another thing she had no interest in - napping. I wasn't totally surprised, since she had slept in a bit. Still, it was messing up my plans!

The afternoon was rough. She would play, she would ask for a snack, I would tell her no but offer her lunch, she would refuse, she would be under foot and whiny. She would hit at me, we would try time outs. She would throw a fit. I even put her in her crib for a time out, in hopes that she would fall asleep. I don't generally like to use her crib as a disciplinary tool because I don't want her to associate her bed with punishment. No dice still. I resigned myself to the fact that my itty bitty bathroom was going to take me all afternoon to clean. That shower I was hoping for wasn't going to happen. I had to use all my energy not to totally lose my flip-flip-flippity-flipping mind!

The victory? Besides not totally losing it...at 5 pm, after asking a million times for a snack and refusing her lunch a million times, Chickie finally decided she wanted to eat her lunch. And she ate every bite! It doesn't seem like much, but I did the happy dance because I won this battle. The battle wasn't so much with her, though. I won the battle with myself to stick to my guns, let her know who was boss, and show her I meant business. You don't have to eat your lunch, but you aren't getting a snack five minutes after leaving the table (despite what usually happens!) I felt like a real mom. You know, the ones that actually discipline and set good examples. The ones that aren't total push overs. Yup! That's me. And after that, the whole day turned around! She still ate some dinner. And an earlier bed time to boot!

I think I might be getting the hang of this mommy thing...

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