Thursday, March 27, 2014

When kids put themselves in time-out...

Today was one of those days. Lately "those days" have been happening quite often.
In my family we try not to use the term "terrible twos" but rather use "trying twos"...and oh how trying they are!
One second she is sweet and picking me flowers, singing songs and twirling in her princess dresses feeling like the most beautiful girl in the world...
And the next she is thrashing her head around, screaming, stamping her foot and expressing her upset feelings when she doesn't get what she wants or when she hears the word "no".
Today brought me to tears. And looking back it really was over something quite silly. But it was the needle on the haystack of these long days in which each contains a tantrum (or two or three).
Today I was going through her clothes, organizing them as we try to make room in her closet to share with baby-to-come. First mistake was mine. I should know better. I DO know better than to try and go through her clothes with her right there!
So we've been given an assortment of clothes that are MUCH too big for her, but of course she sees the size 5/6 red dress with white polka dots on it and wants to wear it immediately.
Ordinarily I wouldn't care. We're just at home. It's not a huge deal if she prances around the house in a dress that is enormous on her, right?
But my mind was set on organizing. And I simply wanted to put away the too-big clothes and be done with that task.
And so I said "No."
And she decided she didn't like my answer and was going to choose to put it on anyways.
This is what my husband and I are SO. DANG. TIRED. OF!
The defiance. The disobedience. The complete disregard of our instructions.
These are the trying things.
And we're exhausted!

Ultimately each and every day ends with these battles. When she wants to do one thing and we want another.
Now I should say that I am not, nor do I ever want to be a dictator in my child's life. I do not want her to do what I say just because I say so. I want her to make her own choices and use her brain. But I want her to make good choices.
In this case, yes it doesn't come down to whether wearing a dress too-big is right or wrong. But rather that her choice to disobey my instruction.
We try hard to be gentle parents and guide her to make good choices. We try very hard not to spank or shame her into submission. We deliberately don't put responsibility for our feelings on our child.
But I'm kind of at a loss.
Today all I could do was tell her that I was upset that she chose to disobey me and that I needed to be alone. (Inside I was fuming and wanting to cry and hit a wall all at the same time. To be openly defied pissed me off!)
I tried to go into my room and organize my own closet, meanwhile she's pounding at the door, crying and asking me if I like her, if I think she's pretty. It was breaking my heart. She kept following me around the house (not giving me my alone-time!) asking if I was her friend, if I like her. And all I could say is I was upset with her choice.
I told her I love her. And that's all I can do! I'm at my end.
I am crying out to God as I don't know what to do! How to be a parent in this time.
(And yes, I recognize that my pregnancy hormones are contributing and not really helping!)
I don't have an answer.
But I do know that my daughter knew how upset I was. She went and pulled one of her chairs aside, sat in it and asked me to set the timer for her to sit in time-out!
That shows how ticked I was/am. Now I'm just a wretch. I turned on Winnie-the-Pooh so I could write this blog and get some of my feelings out.
I guess I'm hoping that God will provide some answer or wisdom for me from those of you who've been there or discovered how to best embrace this season?


  1. O hang in there!! This age is so so challenging! What's worked for us has been a mix of my own gut feelings, Love and Logic, and Moms on Call. Give yourself some grace, and sometimes (especially at this age and for safety reasons) the answer of 'Because Mommy asked you to' is ok! :) Don't feel guilty, you're doing great!

  2. How MUCH we need the Lord. In every stage of parenting. It is wisdom we need from Him each and every day. Praying for your child and with your child is a precious thing to do...and, so very helpful. Reading through Proverbs is incredibly helpful as well. I love James encouraging!! Hang in there. :) Many Blessings, Camille