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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:55 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Torque, I <3 you.

Right back at you Tofumama.

I was just talking to the FishyChipster in the car on the way back from math tutoring about what she [favorably] remembers doing and her suggestions were-
-counting to three. to this day we count to three and as long as you always abide by it, it works for the kid to know, uh oh, mom's serious now
-when possible and safe, when you reach three, YOU take the time out. Mom goes and does something else in a different room. No yelling, no comments, just gone. If you are in the same room, the kid is invisible for a few minutes. If you have to, the bathroom works but not super well (door pounding is annoying.)
-another silly thing Sprog remembers happily was sock fights. we roll up our socks in balls and usually right around 7pm was the witching hour and someone would be crying, tired, etc. A sock would go launching through the air and we would just barrage each other with socks til we got tired of it. The first hit was always a total shock and we would pretend to be mortally wounded, etc. You need to set ground rules the first time with this so nobody gets hurt, though.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:49 am 
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I don't know whether this belong here ("I did wrong") or the Ventilation Station ("My kid blew it"). On the theory that I'm usually to blame, I went with the Imperfect Parent Trap.

It's after 10:30 pm. We are still dealing with a tiny thing that got blown up to epic proportions. GG has a friend sleeping over. A friend he has a very contentious relationship with. This friend is very argumentative and superhumanly stubborn and intensely blunt. Which is a shitty match for the extremely sensitive, justice-obsessed GG.

GG has bunk beds. He always sleeps on top. Tonight, for whatever reason, he told Friend he wanted the bottom. Friend contested this. They started wrestling. I went down and put an end to that and tried to Talk Some Sense™ into my child. (Strike 1.) Who cares who sleeps on the bottom? You've never wanted to sleep on the bottom all this time. You can sleep on the bottom tomorrow night and every night from now on if you like. He wouldn't budge. I suggested flipping a coin. Friend said, "I'll pick tails," they both said that tails is luckier ("because Tails is heavier!") so I said I'd flip something that wasn't a coin. I found a poker chip. I wrote each kid's initials on one side.

They agreed to a best 2-out-of-3 deal. Friend won. GG lost it. I get it: he's tired, he's overstimulated, he's smarting from having to give up what he think is his by right, he's tired of the super-competitive Friend steamrolling him, or trying to.

But, look. You had an agreement to settle the matter this way. He won. Let's get on with our lives. GG wouldn't budge. "I didn't agree to it!" (Oy.) He wouldn't give up the bottom. While Friend brushed his teeth, I tried once more to Reason With™ my boy. That was going to work. It took me a while to realize that we were beyond the realm of the rational. (It usually takes me a while to figure that out.) Finally, totally out of ideas and feeling embarrassed that my kid was behaving like an Entitled Princeling®, I slightly raised my voice. Or perhaps yelled. And used some words I shouldn't have. I didn't swear at the kid, but I said he was being obnoxious. (In my defense, he was being obnoxious.)

I have since apologized ("Good for you!" said GG), while not backing down from my basic position: While I understand that you're insulted by the way he acted, Friend is the guest. and this has to stop. The way you're behaving is not okay. The crying. The tantruming. The histrionics.

I think Mrs. Face and GG are down there right now, and he's rehashing the matter for the hundredth time. I assume Friend is fast asleep.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:56 am 
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Sounds more like a "your kid blew it!" This sounds like a "you can't have friends sleep over if you can't be a gracious host" kind of offense to me and like you did everything you really could have.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:31 am 
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It's 12:30 am. GG is still awake, propped up and reading in the top bunk, Land of the Dispossessed.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:58 am 
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Ariann wrote:
Sounds more like a "your kid blew it!" This sounds like a "you can't have friends sleep over if you can't be a gracious host" kind of offense to me and like you did everything you really could have.


I agree. As well as a "standing by your agreements" kind of thing (i.e. the poker chip).

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Invictus wrote:
Ariann wrote:
Sounds more like a "your kid blew it!" This sounds like a "you can't have friends sleep over if you can't be a gracious host" kind of offense to me and like you did everything you really could have.


I agree. As well as a "standing by your agreements" kind of thing (i.e. the poker chip).

+1 yummy. you set a limit, and you tried to help him to keep the limit, and you're more patient than me for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:46 am 
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Sounds like GG is learning a valuable lesson about houseguests.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:57 am 
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You're far more patient than I would have been. I think that, somewhere around the poker chip, I would have said, "It's time for Friend to go home."


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:33 am 
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FF, I would have been crabby, too, although I always thought when having a sleepover, kids were supposed to sleep on the floor in the living room!

(My next door neighbour used to have sleepover birthday parties and I would always stay up later than everybody else, watching HBO -- Tales from the Crypt and stand-up comics who said the f-word. It was so exciting!)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:46 am 
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I guess...I just wonder if there's something more going on than just GG having a fit. Is it possible this other kid is mistreating him in some way when the grownups aren't looking? Or even just that he's afraid the kid might do something to him in his sleep and doesn't want to admit that in front of the kid, but just feels safer on the bottom bed where he could get away more easily if necessary? I mean, I don't know this kid, I'm not saying you've got a kid on your hands who would do something like that...but you've already described a kid who will wrestle GG to get what he wants and has a contentious and argumentative relationship with GG, so that just concerns me some.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:45 am 
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Good point, CQ. I remember sleepovers at that age turning hellish on a dime...


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:25 am 
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oh man FF, what are you going to do the next time he wants to have a sleepover? He's such a great kid that I know these ridiculous times must just make you crazier than if he were frequently bad!

I'd like some advice: what's a good way to verbalize extreme displeasure with a little one's behavior? I find myself falling into saying stuff like "Why are you being so bad?" and worse "You're being such a jerk!" I feel like that isn't acceptable. And I know sometimes its best to just walk away from a situation and possibly ignore the kid for a couple minutes because feeding into it just causes escalation, but a lot of the time I feel the need to explain that I'm angry or chastise, etc. (My partner resorts to yelling - he thinks volume works - and I hate hate hate that, but I'm not one to judge since I'm not stuck with the kid alone 8 hours a day!) We do time-outs, sorta, where we have her go to her room and sit by herself, but I find myself wishing for some magic phrase to say.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:33 am 
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Wish I knew Audrey. I tell the Emperor things like, what you're doing is making me feel upset/frustrated/whatever and try to discuss with him from there. Sometimes it works. Sometimes he responds with things like, "well I feel upset too, because I wanted to bang on the wall with my train and you told me no" and then there's a natural way for us to talk about WHY I said no and try to resolve from there.

But sometimes it totally fails, and he'll do maddening things like tell me "oh, you're not upset mama. You feel happy." etc instead.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:37 am 
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Oh, and that is the point (when he starts arguing with me about how I feel) when I usually tell him "I am taking a time out from you" and go in another room for a few minutes. Because that really peas me off. (no mama! It makes you feel happy!)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:55 pm 
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One of the hardest things to learn/remember/understand/believe:

Little kids just aren't rational the way we think/hope/pray they are. They are just not wired (yet) for certain ways of understanding the world.

I think we good, conscientious, loving, fair-minded parents try to reason with our kids when we really should just say, "This is how it is." We think we're being decent people. We don't want to be rigid authoritarian figures. We're just wasting our time. And theirs.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:50 pm 
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Maybe if you think there will be a bunk bed fight again, you could have them set up a blanket fort and sleeping bags on the ground. Heh, that's what I always tried to do as a kid.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:02 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
Oh, and that is the point (when he starts arguing with me about how I feel) when I usually tell him "I am taking a time out from you" and go in another room for a few minutes. Because that really peas me off. (no mama! It makes you feel happy!)

I am a big believer in the parental time out. you aren't giving attention to bad behavior, and without being negative, you are showing your disapproval. It's not always possible to leave the room, and sometimes it has to be "TALK TO THE HAND, MOMMY IS NOT TAKING YOUR ORDER RIGHT NOW" and i am not kidding, we sometimes have descended into that when there was no way for us to do a physical separate-room timeout. but i think for smaller kids, removal of your attention can be a big deal.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:02 am 
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I like the "TALK TO THE HAND, MOMMY IS NOT TAKING YOUR ORDER RIGHT NOW"-thing (my friend calls it Korean-no-speak, but only does it to her husband ;D ) I can't leave the room when my kids go crazy because lately, they have been doing some serious trouble-making. Yesterday, every time I left the room (to pee, to dish up some food, put a cloth diaper in the laundry, etc.) something different happened. They coloured on the walls (my husband will NOT put his pens and pencils out of their reach, although to his credit, they can reach about everything at the moment), Beety climbed onto the fireplace mantle and knocked the coin jar off (it didn't shatter, it *pulverised* -- I've never seen such a bounty of glass-dust -- I was screaming at the kids to stay back while I vacuumed and swept and Beet got 3 minutes facing the corner -- he doesn't mind time-outs unless he has to face the corner), they ripped the case off the foam mattress for the playpen (they don't use the playpen anymore, but sleep on the mattress), sprayed homemade butt-spray all over the windows (not a big deal, except in conjunction with everything else), and broke my salt and pepper grinder. I put them to bed without a bedtime story (harsh, I know!).
(It was also not a good day because our dehumidifier is broken again and I broke my ipod when it fell out my pocket when I was doing dishes -- I swear, it played a song called "fork off" before dying just to spite me!)

In any case, I have been trying to think of ways to keep them out of trouble. I feel like a prison warden sometimes, except I can't even put them in a prison (playpen) because they can both escape (I can't even leave them in their room for too long because there is an en-suite toilet and Raygold is always throwing things in it and I do not want to take apart the masticating toilet (the inside of which looks like a giant shit-blender) again if I can help it). It is starting to feel like every time I let my guard down, there is pen on the wall or a book is being ripped or Beetroot is climbing up high on something and throwing everything off of it. I give them projects to do (dry erase markers on these wipable books are a favourite), but within minutes, they are back to their old shenanigans.

I guess that I just need to get them involved in more of what I do and try to come up with more interactive projects (rather than "here are some crayons, now colour."). Yesterday, we all made wee sprouting jars out of old peanut butter jars (which I collect obsessively because they are glass and we can't recycle glass around here and I hate to throw them out -- I even drink out of them, but I am going off on a tangent...) and put our names on them and are each sprouting something different (Raygold wanted to sprout fenugreek, Beetroot is sprouting black mustard seeds, and I'm sprouting lentils), although that doesn't really take up much time.
I tried to show the kids how to make garlic toast (the easy kind, where I just spray the toast with olive oil and rub a cut piece of garlic on the toast) this morning, but they were more interested in playing with a giant cookbook (which is fine).

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:35 am 
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can you get those toilet lid locks, first of all?
can you have an activity basket or cabinet or something you can put activities or toys into and pull it out when you need some quiet, calm activities?
it sounds like you are getting the runaround and need everyone to calm the fork down!!

also, maybe glass shards excepted, they aren't too young to clean up their messes. if you give them a scrubber and some baking soda and they have to scrub that crayon off the walls along with you (even if they're not very helpful the point is you have to clean it anyway and they should realize that you're not their cleanup crew), and no fun til it's all done, maybe they'll realize it's not a great idea. same with whatever mess- you rip up the book, sorry, can't read you a bedtime book, you killed it, remember?

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:30 am 
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torque wrote:
can you get those toilet lid locks, first of all?
can you have an activity basket or cabinet or something you can put activities or toys into and pull it out when you need some quiet, calm activities?
it sounds like you are getting the runaround and need everyone to calm the fork down!!

also, maybe glass shards excepted, they aren't too young to clean up their messes. if you give them a scrubber and some baking soda and they have to scrub that crayon off the walls along with you (even if they're not very helpful the point is you have to clean it anyway and they should realize that you're not their cleanup crew), and no fun til it's all done, maybe they'll realize it's not a great idea. same with whatever mess- you rip up the book, sorry, can't read you a bedtime book, you killed it, remember?


You're right -- they do need to calm the fork down, but I think almost-2 and almost-4 year old high-energy kids can only reign it in so far. :D I do have an activity cabinet, but I can usually only get a few minutes (10 at the most, but usually 2) out of them. I can keep them kind of out of trouble if I let them use the computer all day. Beetroot is kind of a whiz kid and can get to all his favourite kids sites by himself (we don't have them bookmarked or anything), too.

The toilet-lid lock is no good because Beet needs to be able to use the toilet by himself when he has to go. He finally potty trained a few months ago and I am not going to cock-block him from using the toilet because I have enough of a problem making sure he doesn't pee on things.

Raygold loves to clean up messes and is actually pretty good at it, but pretty much never makes them, except for colouring on the walls (which he only does when Beety does). Beety will do a half-assed wipe if I have him clean up a spill (like a pee spill), but I still make him. As for colouring on walls, I've found that if a melamine sponge doesn't work, I have to paint over the wall. I do make them stand there and watch me clean the walls, but they can't be in the room when I paint.

It could be worse -- a friend of mine says her brother and sister managed to knock over a glass-doored cabinet full of china and glass when they were kids and her brother broke 3 TVs, two of which landed on him (and he was fine, thank goodness). She swears my hyper kids are totally normal!

My in-laws are always going on about how my husband was wild when he was a kid -- he was followed by 3 very calm girls -- and my mom used to have a laugh because every time she picked me up from preschool, the teachers were chasing/shouting at the same hyper kid.

Anyway, everybody was a lot less crazy yesterday and Mr. Crabby is taking Beetroot out grocery shopping today (which takes 4-5 hours because of where we live), so Raygold and I can just chill out together. (Raygold is not so crazy on his own as long as he is not near a toilet.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:21 am 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
I am not going to cock-block him from using the toilet

hysterical! i had forgotten that they probably have to pee occasionally!!!

i have memories of pulling the TV stand over on myself as a kid. i didn't get hurt and i was very very young so my memory is really strange, but my mother says it did happen.

hang in there!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:56 am 
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torque wrote:
TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
I am not going to cock-block him from using the toilet

hysterical! i had forgotten that they probably have to pee occasionally!!!

This is exactly why I love the PPK. On any other forum, I feel like I would be accused of being too crass and defensive. :D

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:04 am 
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at least you're still laughing. your stories bring back memories of babysitting my hyper little brother who was busy getting concussions, climbing on the roof, throwing glasses out the windows, and in particular i remember my mother breaking wooden spoons on his asparagus while he laughed and laughed.....

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:48 pm 
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Its so true, your stories are so cute and Beetie and Raygold are so lively! Little boys to have a bit of a reputation for being a handfull, especially in groups... My husband set their garage on fire when he was about 5. And then another time his brothers convinced him to fly off the roof.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:56 pm 
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GG's sullen princeling routine is really wearing me down.

I'm having a hard time responding to him with the sympathy and sensitivity for which I was justly famed.

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