Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 16

You keep me on my toes.

Sometimes parenting you is a creative challenge.  I strive to be consistent with my discipline, but I recently came to the realization that if you insist on adapting your acts of rebellion to challenge the boundaries we've set up, then I am allowed to change my discipline strategies to meet the new need.

Example 1: Nap time battles.
February 2013 has been punctuated by sleep battles due to the very over-due and painful departure of the Bink.  For about two weeks straight, you have been throwing massive temper tantrums at nap time. We have adjusted your schedule which helped a bit, but your fits were getting out of control!  I won't go into the gory details, but I will share the strategy I eventually came up with: the Time Out Bag (which, unfortunately, has turned into a Time Out Room).

On Friday you had reached a level of hysterics where you were throwing your toys around your room.  So I told you that my job as your mommy is to keep you safe, and if you threw your toys, I would take those toys away.  So one by one, I removed toy after toy from your room.

By the time you were done with your fit I had amassed quite the collection:
This doesn't include your tubs of legos, your matching game, your tea cart or your puzzles.
I eventually got you to sleep and when you woke up from your nap you asked about your dress up clothes (which earned their place in the Time Out Bag when you pulled the hooks where they are supposed to hang off the wall).  I brought you to the laundry room (a room which you are not allowed in due to the fact that it has cleaning chemicals and the dog's dishes and the furnace, etc) and showed you the pile of your toys that were in Time Out.  I told you that you would have to earn each and every toy back by acts of obedience.  If you ate lunch without arguing, I would give you a choice among three toys (of my choice - that way your favorite items wouldn't get earned back first to keep you motivated) to earn back.  If you got your PJs on the first time I asked, you could choose another toy.  If you obeyed at the grocery store, you could choose another.  You get the idea.

You quickly shaped up, determined to earn back the right to play with your toys.  And I rejoiced at your newfound compliant nature and patted myself on the back for coming up with such an effective strategy.

Until the next day.

I prepped you that we would need to get ready for nap in five minutes and that if you didn't throw a fit, you could earn back another toy.  To which you replied, "I don't want another toy back."  I knew this wasn't true, but still, it posed a threat to my brilliant system!  So I adapted again, "Okay, if you choose not to obey, then Mommy gets to pick a toy from your room to add to the Time Out Bag."  You found this wholly unjust, but too bad for you, I'm the boss!

Guess who has now had three nap times in a row without a fit?  You!  I will admit, there is a part of me that admires your resourcefulness, your problem solving, your tenacity.  And God chose me to be your mommy so he must think I'm up to the challenge!  I am so proud of both of us for finding a way around your stubborn and strong will!

(Please don't punish me for celebrating too soon!)

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