Friday, November 02, 2007

Terrible Twos--An Urgent Plea for Help

So I know Leah isn't quite two years old yet, but she has discovered how to be terrible. I've pulled out my hair all morning listening to her whining and keep wondering if I should choose my battles better. I need resources. I need to read 10 books and pick the parts I like of each to try. I've made a list of the topics I want my parent-help book to address: hitting, tantrums, whining, communicating effectively, picking battles, discipline, time-outs, weaning from a binky, the list goes on. And of course, I want to do it all in a loving way.

In the past 20 minutes, Leah, who had been happily playing with crayons and what's left of her coloring book, traded her canvas for the wall. Of course my rope ended hours ago, so I jumped up and scolded in my mean-mommy voice, removed the fistful of crayons from her clenched and fearful fingers and placed them on top of the refrigerator (she can't reach them but she can see them), ignoring the freely flowing tears and exaggerated pouty lip. Then I swiftly readied a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and handed it to her and walked with her to the wall where we scrubbed together. Chris, who was home for lunch, responded, "Oh, that's what you're supposed to do! I think I'm a softy..." He must not be immune to the pouty lip. Does this mean I'm great and terrible and hard? I asked him what he would have done if I hadn't been around and he replied, "I don't know, but now I do!"

This particular example is not exactly descriptive of her being terrible, just creative, but all things leading up to and following this ordeal have been, and now I'm the one that feels terrible. I did a google search for resources on dealing with the terrible twos, and although I did get a plethera of hits about two year olds (and some on how we should give two-year olds a break), I also found these dynamic duos:

I just thought these were funny. And I really needed funny today.

Anyway, if you have any resources you'd like to recommend for a mom who wants to nurture and help teach her two, who can't stand whining, and doesn't want to give in, please help!


Anonymous said...

Ok, as one who has read and LOVED this book, I will give all the encouragement I can. Keep it up! It's worth it.

Anonymous said...

This is a book that you might find useful, "The Portable Pediatrician" by Laura Nathanson. There are some things I don't like about it. For instance, the author always referring to the baby as "cherub" gets a little annoying for me. But she does have some good stuff about authoritative parenting at 12 months, 18 months, 2 years, that might be useful to you.

It doesn't appear to be at the provo or orem libraries, but here it is a amazon, where some people are selling it for 43 cents. Plus the shipping, of course.

The biggest thing I think you need is a pat on the back. Good job. It sounds like you are applying consequences regularly and the consequences match the behavior. As painful as it is to put money into a savings account now, it will reap big dividends down the road. And give yourself credit for being the mother of 2 now. At least I figure Sammy is taking enough emotional stress and physical energy that he should already count. :)

Anonymous said...

As a Mom who toilet trained several three year-olds, I'd say that is one battle not worth picking. You try, and if the child isn't ready, it isn't worth battling--especially when you are about to introduce another wearing of diapers into the house. Either Leah will like to be a big grl and get all your attention when she says she wants to sit on the potty, or she will want to be a baby and get all your attention when she needs a diaper change. Impossible to predict which way it will go. And I do distinctly remember my kids taking binkies from each other, so obviously we weren't binky free at 2 1/2 years old in this house either.

As for scrubbing the crayon from the wall, that is definitely a consequence taken from Sorenson family lore. The worst ever tears here came with scrubbing crayon from the grout between the bricks of the fireplace. There were remnants of red crayon in the bricks for years. Who knows, there are probably still remnants of red crayon in the brick.

Here are some things I think are worth fighting for:
1- Bedtime. No bouncing when put to bed. (Only a messy diaper is worth getting a child out of bed for. Feed them and put them to bed, like the old woman in the shoe.)
2- No whining. You cannot get ANYTHING by whining for it.
3- Stopping a fun activity without a tantrum when it is time to stop. (See #2)
4- No picking noses.
5- No ruining the house and furniture.
6- No biting or pulling hair. My mother taught me to bite a kid or pull their hair to teach them not to do it, and that always worked, though these days it might be considered too mean.

Good luck with the terrible two.

angela michelle said...

I recommend a cross between _Love and Logic_ (great on consequences but a bit too authoritarian for me and _Positive Discipline_ (not authoritarian enough but good on heading off bad behavior with understanding feelings, communicating, reward the positive, etc.)

david and michal said...

one of the doctors i work with really loves "parenting with love and logic" by cline & fay. she said it turned her kids right around--and her view of dealing with them. another book i have is "10 secrets wise parents know" by top & chadwick (this one is lds)--glad to loan either or both if you need:.)

cutie pie said...

Jenny, I totally understand your frustration. I have two boys (ages 2 & 4) they are adorable but very imaginative and energetic. When they are together there is no stopping them. It's the age of mischief. And most of the time they are just discovering/exploring and it's not like their intentions are bad. And of course other times they do disobey/misbehave. I too felt "at the end of my rope" way too often and I knew that there had to be another way to deal with situations. A more constructive way. I was tired of getting angry all the time, especially in public. Aside from patience and prayer I have found that good books are so helpful because of their practical advice. "How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk" (Faber & Mazlish) is what I am currently reading. It was highly recommended by friends and also at the preschool. For things like weaning and potty training you might find "The Pocket Parent" (Reichlin) helpful. I believe these books are available at the library or you can just buy them and keep them for quick reference. Good luck and remember you aren't the only one that struggles.

Brent and AmberLee's Family said...

Hi. Great blog. I loved the list of terrible twos--Castro and Chavez. Ho ho ho.

I agree with the Coombs. My daughter started her terrible twos about six months early. I read the toddler version of the book "Love and Logic Parenting for Early Childhood." It changed my life.