Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Parenting: the joys of discipline and instruction

The past couple days, and some days in the last month, I have found myself daydreaming of the day when my children are 2 and 3 and can be entertained through coloring, educational activities, nature walks, etc. Not all the time, but definitely once a day. I’m not real pleased with myself because I want to be enjoying the present. I know that I should be enjoying what God has given me now, and not thinking of the future. But I keep thinking how much easier it will be to do things with them when they are both walking, a little more mature, and can understand better what I am saying.

And just to throw a kink in my daydream, I’ve had two people say to me this last week – oh these are the best days, enjoy them! I wonder, is this really true? Could this really be the best days, and here I am thinking about the future? This can’t be a good sign.

I’ve had some people comment that having young children 10.5 months apart is worse than having twins, because they are still both babies, but yet at different levels of development. I’m not sure I agree with this, I have nothing to compare it to.
But I do know that I have no friends with children this close in age that can give me ready available advice.

So; I’m putting it out to the world. Here are some examples; maybe all of you experienced mothers or child experts can send me some advice.

Issue 1: Potty Training
After some indication from Petra that she is ready to go potty (mainly her asking to go potty and doing so successfully), we have proceeded forward with some potty training. After 2 days of potty training I decided this was not a good time for it. Reasons being:
1. Petra is tired of me asking her if she needs to go potty and now says “no” every time I ask
2. Every time Petra pees on the floor, Jasper is right there ready to crawl through it – it’s all I can do to keep Petra and Jasper from walking/crawling right through it and get it cleaned up as well
3. When I help Petra use the potty, Jasper wants to cling to me as well, and he’s is not yet stable enough for me to move quickly to help her if needed – inevitably he ends up falling over at some point and bumping his head
4. Jasper wants to climb on the potty while Petra is using it – if I leave Petra alone she will not stay seated, and if I stay with her I can’t get Jasper away

So I decided we will just proceed with taking her when she asks to go for the time being.

Issue 2: The whining, pestering, and repitition
Petra consistently asks for things over and over. My best way of dealing with this is to answer her, then distract her with a different activity. However, I also want her to learn to accept an answer without me having to redirect. So here is a very basic example of her asking repeatedly for the same thing. Imagine, we are in the car, driving home from the grocery store. It is a 4 minute drive.

Petra: juice, juice, juice (Be sure to add the whine to Petra's voice when you read it.)
Mommy: I'm sorry, I don't have any juice, we will be home soon and you can have something to drink then
Petra: juice, juice, juice,
Mommy: Sorry, no juice. You will have to wait a minute. We will be home soon.
Petra: juice, juice, juice.
Mommy: No juice
Petra: juice, juice (pause) milk, milk?
Mommy: No milk. You will need to wait another minute until we get home.
Petra: milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk .... water?
Mommy: (just wondering how long she will keep asking) Would you like to sing a song?
Petra: milk? juice?
Song starts...

Issue 3: Attachment issues
When you read Issue 1 above, you probably noticed that Jasper is slightly attached to my side at the moment. I know this is completely normal. Petra was the same way. And in fact, Jasper plays better than she ever did on her own, and still does. Jasper is quite content for a couple minutes playing with toys… but most of the time you must be within 5 feet of him to meet his approval. If I walk to another side of a room, he will cry hysterically, drop his toy, and follow me.

Issue 4: Jealousy Issues
Again, to be expected, there is some jealousy. Now please don’t get me wrong, our children love each other. Petra insists on giving Jasper a hug and kiss every morning when they wake up. And throughout the day they each enjoy each other’s company, hug on each other, and play together. When Petra is in time-out, Jasper will crawl over to be with her. When Jasper falls and cries, Petra often goes to him and pats his back and tells him it’s OK. But when it comes to me; things are a little different.
For instance, they both always want to be in my lap at the same time. I can’t hold Jasper without Petra also wanting to be held. The reverse is often true as well. Although, it’s not as bad with Jasper. Often times he will get off my lap after a few minutes when I am holding both of them.

Or then there is Petra kicking/pushing Jasper with her foot when he tries to get on my lap and I’m holding her.

Or there are the times when Jasper falls and cries. And I go to help him. And then Petra proceeds to copy him by lying herself down on the floor and crying to see if she will also get some attention.

And then there is the general taking toys from each other issue; except Petra is stronger still so it’s always her taking toys/cups/pacifiers from him.

And then there is the biting. which luckily is a fairly rare occurance.

So, generally speaking, I think these are all very common behaviors. And I do think we are working through them. And honestly I think parenting them at the moment is easier and less tiring than it was several months ago when I had an infant that had to be fed every few hours. But just imagine hours upon hours of the same thing, repeating itself in various ways. And then be sure to add the screaming that takes place when one of them falls, when I walk into another room without them, or when a toy gets snatched.


BluePixo said...

Children need a clear definition of acceptable and unacceptable conduct. They feel more secure when they know the borders of permissible action.

*BluePixo Entertainment - A place for mom and dad to share topics about parenthood*

Anonymous said...

Iit may not be encouraging to you, but for me, it's nice to know that your kids sound just like everybody elses. It does get better, and more fun, as they learn how to do new things. There is definitely a lot to look forward to. As Darius Rucker sings in his song - It won't be like this for long!