Monday, June 1, 2009

When You Know What to Do, But Then Blow It

That seems to be the theme for the past several weeks. And although it has run through more than one aspect of my life lately, I will only write about a single topic that it seems to be pervasive with, the discipline machine and Jack.

Before all of my supportive friends and family start giving sweet "hang in there", "it's just a phase" and "it gets easier" comments; let me just say...don't want to hear them. I already know. I repeat these mantras to myself daily, actually, hourly. Unfortunately, it's the actual "hanging in there" I am having an issue with.

I have seemed to make a small breakthrough with the child and a bit of headway. He is acting upon my direction more quickly. I'm more patient in letting him get to the ultimate conclusion that I want him to make instead of speeding him toward what I want him to do. This avoids the formerly inevitable meltdown followed by demon possession that we had been experiencing. Hooray for me, right? Well, I got there by way of a method I had hoped to avoid - "popping his bottom". And up until tonite, it was used sparingly, because after the first two episodes, all I had to do was tell him if he didn't do what I'd asked he would get his bottom popped. And it actually worked. Unfortunately, when you make a slight change in that methodology it can back fire on you. Badly.

Tonight, another round of bedtime battles. Things on the weekend are relatively easy, the kid is exhausted after playing outside all day and I keep his nap short. But during the week, he naps or has quiet time for 2 hours and the activity level isn't quite that high. So although he needs to be in bed and asleep by 8pm, in my opinion, he is just restless. And it's not that he's overtired, honestly, he just hasn't gotten to the point of sleepy yet. However, this mama is ready for no kid time at 8pm and so there's got to be a compromise.

Back to tonite, he's in bed at 8pm, lights out and told I will check on him in 5 minutes. New attempt at avoiding the screaming fest that happens whenever I leave his room. That works...and I wait, a bit longer than 5 minutes, but I have to go back in or I'm toast with my promise. So I do, and he seems fine, until I leave. Then it's an hour long screaming, throwing, crying, attempting to negotiate, mess. And after being in and out of the room several times, loosing my patience and close to my sanity, I do the unthinkable...I ASK him if he wants his bottom popped. And he says Yes. Brilliant move.

Well, he got it popped, I felt horrible (and still do) and he wins tonite's round. I went back in 15 minutes later and picked him up and sat in the chair with him until he was nearly asleep and the feelings of being the worst mother in the world abated for the time being.

I believe future popping will be left to Daddy. Mommy just can't manage the guilt.
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