Clueless

There was a time when I was a perfect parent.  I knew exactly how to handle any possible situation, and my children would sleep on their own, eat their vegetables, and never lie.  Oh, and they certainly wouldn’t throw a screaming fit in the store.

And then I became a mother.

Little Miss has never been a by-the-book child.  For example, when everything I read said the CIO (cry it out) method should have your child putting herself to sleep in 4-7 days, we listened to her cry and scream every night for two months.  Looking back I realize we should’ve stopped trying after a week or so, but as a new mother, I was sure CIO was the method we needed to use.  (In our defense we had tried other things, as well, and had no success there, either.)

And now we’ve entered the Terrible Twos.  At least, I’m assuming that’s what they are.  Of course, I’m trying hard to make sure I’m not just expecting bad behaviour now that Little Miss has hit the 24-month mark, and that what I’m seeing is what she’s actually doing of her own accord, not based on what I imagine the “terrible twos” to be like.  It seems that, shortly after Little Miss celebrated her second birthday about a month ago she started acting up more.  Her independence became top priority in her life, and anything and everything to the contrary was cause for temper tantrums and general expression that the world was coming to an end.

Mostly Husband and I have been dealing with screaming, spitting, biting (!!!), and general disobedience.  The spitting I can explain; while visiting my sister- and brother-in-law last week on vacation Little Miss saw her 5 1/2-month-old cousin figuring out the joys of buzzing her lips.  This of course looks like outright spitting to a toddler, so of course Little Miss had to try it.  The screaming is her way of letting us know she doesn’t agree with the way we’re handling any given situation, and the biting…I have no idea where that came from!

About a month ago I was standing in the kitchen readying supper and Little Miss walked up behind me and BIT MY BUTT!!!  All at once I yelped, swallowed intense laughter (no way was I going to let her know that amused me in any way), and whirled on her for a reprimand.  I have never had such a difficult time not laughing in my life.  It hurt, but for some reason it struck me as funny that she had randomly decided to bite my behind.

The screaming, to me, is the most difficult to discipline.  Especially since she has taken to doing it in the car when she gets bored.  What do you do when you’re flying down the freeway at 70 mph in the middle of nowhere (literally) and have already been in the car for four hours and don’t want to stop and add more time to your travel…and the two year old starts screeching in the back seat?  I cannot figure this one out.  No amount of stern “NO!” and frowns will stop her if she’s on a roll.  Asking politely for her to stop screaming because it’s inappropriate and hurts Mommy’s and Daddy’s ears seems to goad her on.  Even bopping her on the mouth doesn’t phase her.  And though I’ve done it on occasion, I really really really dislike spanking her.

She is challenging everything I do.  I put her in a time out chair and she waits until I’m far enough away and then scoots to the front of the chair and starts getting down.  I tell her to get back in the chair and she doesn’t move anywhere but further from the chair until I start moving toward her.  Then she knows I’m serious and climbs back in the chair, just to start the whole thing over again when I walk away.  To combat this I’ve tried sitting in the time out chair with her and forcing her to sit still on my lap for a minute or two.  It doesn’t seem to stick between time outs.

Every day is a challenge to my creativity and patience, mixed in with wonderful moments of joy and fun, and smothered in a healthy dose of overwhelming love for my intelligent, funny, determined, beautiful daughter.

The bottom line is this: I have no idea what I’m doing.

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