She was wearing it when she created a small pond on the floor of Urban Outfitters on what was supposed to be a relaxing Sunday. I love my child, there’s no question, I even cringe when referring to her as the devil… but alas, if the horn fits. It was an epic day, nay, an epic weekend to say the least. And by epic I veer towards the negative side of that word.
Picture 20-something-hipsters who’ve never had to deal with children, let alone the things that come out of them. I’m pretty sure the guy behind the register took off his horn-rimmed glasses just so he could somehow hear more clearly that he was about to clean up urine. Gross. I just said urine. I shouldn’t be so tough on these poor kids who simply just wanted to sell trendy clothes and listen to Indie bands while doing so; they really were very nice about it. I think I was just at my wits end.
This little charade was one among many that had occurred throughout the week, weekend and really for the past month or so. Tantrums, screaming at a decibel never before hit by Avery, whining at even the slightest hint of the word no. Thus began round two of drill sergeant Kary. My mood went from 0-60 in about 30 seconds, I was like one of those really fast cars but I don’t know cars so I’ll skip the clever analogy. Round one went something like this: A “serious” conversation with a two-year old, speaking slowly, using simple words but clearly stating how whining and screaming are not okay. I must have looked like a fool sitting in my car talking to her like I would to another adult. For the next week I kept my sentences short; no response to any sort of negative response, directing her every move (we’re going inside now, shoes off, okay now up to the bathroom, go potty, dress off, now into the bath) literally every move. And this is what round two has looked like for the last day or so. The good news here is that she responds well to it.
Last time around I took the approach of setting a timer when it was meal time, (she had got into the habit of taking at least 30 minutes to eat a bowl of oatmeal). I told her that if she wasn’t done by the time the timer went off that she didn’t get to finish. Harsh, yes. But I tell you what… she started eating breakfast without the constant interruption of distraction, she started listening and respecting and understanding that I meant what I said. And then, as time went on I slowly introduced freedom and options back into her world. This time around, the timer came back into play. She actually responded with “am I still in trouble?” The simple fact that she asked me that question means she’s aware. I guess maybe that should be assumed, but to see her understanding that something was happening and that her behavior was in direct correlation to a positive or negative reaction, well I felt like I’d accomplished something. We’re on day two of no movies, limited toys, limited activity other than getting the necessaries done and I feel she’s slowly turning the corner.
Do you remember last time I wrote? It was about change. Change abounds us right now. It’s good change but it’s change. My parents actually asked me tonight if maybe she was a little jealous that she was no longer receiving all of my attention; I agreed. That sparked the question, do children of single parents receive more attention from parent A or less? Both sides could probably be argued. She never has to share me with anyone else, but yet I’m around much less then a two parent situation offers to her. How do I decipher the best way to look at that? Answer is, I don’t.
She’s two and her life will continue to change. And if she’s anything like me change will follow her wherever she goes. So, like things changed when she and I moved back to Omaha just a year and a half ago, things will change again and she will adapt a stronger, smarter and better little peanut for it. I’m big on reality and setting her up to understand how life will be when she’s older. Rarely do we get second chances for a first reaction. Her personal strength is what will guide her through the rest of her life.
It’s been a few days since I’ve compiled this post. We’re still in the midst of “all things tantrum” and I have to say she’s really gotten better. I’ve eased up with some good behavior but quickly jump back to DSK (Drill Sargeant Kary) when need be. She’s actually returned to her normal self, responding with things like, “OK, Mama” and “Can I please watch a movie?” As opposed to “Nooooooooooooo” and “I neeeed a moooovie!” It’s a work in progress like most things are. I’d be silly to expect that this is the last time we’ll go through one of these phases (#fearoftheteenageyears). Best of luck to all you parents out there experiencing simliar situations; yes it is the hardest job out there but we’ll survive and I’ll have a drink ready for you when you’re done.