My Kid Stole My Cool

We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers

Posted on Mar 16, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers 1

We do not negotiate with toddlers.

I wish this were true.  But we do negotiate with toddlers.  At least I do.  All day…  Every day…  Go ahead and file this under, “Things I thought I’d never do as a parent.”

-Sigh-

Wouldn’t it be great to take a hard-line with these obstinate little ones?

“Eat your vegetables because I said so.”

“Put on your pants because it’s cold outside.”

“Go to sleep because you need sleep to live.”

Done and done.  If only it were that easy.  If only the toddlers would respond to logic and reason.

But no.  Toddlers don’t respond to logic and reason because they’re not logical or reasonable.  They’re two; they respond to cookies and toys.  Either that or they’re manipulative little geniuses who know how to get exactly what they want  Maybe it’s both.  So instead we parents (or just me?) endlessly cajole, bargain, and outright bribe.  I didn’t notice my shameful behavior at first.  Then one day I realized almost every conversation with my 2-year-old involved some sort of “If…Then” statement.

“Eat your vegetables,” became, “If you eat your vegetables, you can have more pasta.”

“Put on your pants,” became, “If you don’t put on your pants, then we can’t go outside,” which became, “If you put on your pants, we can watch Elmo when we come back inside.”  When even Elmo didn’t work, it became, “Here’s my iPhone.  Look at pictures while I put on your pants.”  (For some reason, Elisabeth was vehemently anti-pants for a while.)

Pants-less and Proud

Pants-less and Proud

When did every interaction with my child become a negotiation?  When will it stop!?

I thought I’d be tougher.  I thought I would weather any tantrum and firmly hold my ground.  Eventually my toddler would listen to me and respect me, simply because I know what’s best.

But holy cow – have you ever spent 30 FREAKING MINUTES trying to clothe a screaming, flailing child?  Or 30 minutes doing ANYTHING that should take 2 minutes, but for the innate need of these little people to assert total domination over you?  (I suppose it’s more PC to say they’re at the age where they’re affirming their independence, testing their boundaries, blah, blah, blah… But I’m pretty sure they’re out for blood.  Or at least tears – your tears.)

These toddlers, man… They break you.  You become powerless to them.  Negotiating with them to accomplish the most basic of tasks may be unpalatable but it becomes a matter of SURVIVAL.  (Both the child’s and the mother’s.)  What if you’re convinced that your toddler is going to contract pneumonia because he refuses to dress properly outdoors?  Or what if you’re afraid your kid is content to stay in diapers forever, and she’ll never be allowed into preschool?  What if your child hasn’t touched fruit in a week and you’re worried he’ll get scurvy?  Or he hasn’t eaten anything at all for that matter and he’s surely going to die.  Clearly, catastrophic things will happen if you’re not willing to negotiate every now and then.

Or let’s say you’re holding a meeting at your house and your toddler disrupts the whole thing with an epic tantrum over nothing?  Or you have to host a dinner party and instead of letting you cook, your child keeps messing with the hot oven.  No dinner for anyone – it’s a safety issue.  Or what about when you have a doctor’s appointment five minutes ago but your kid will not get in the car and the doctor will cancel your appointment and it’ll weeks before you’ll be rescheduled?  Like I said, catastrophic.

Negotiate with that toddler.  Get things done.  It’s probably breaking every parenting rule out there – but sometimes it’s the only way.

 

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The Big Reveal

Posted on Jan 26, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Hello!  It’s been almost a month, but I’m back! What a month it’s been.  After wrapping up the holidays, Damon, Elisabeth, and I said Sayonara, Japan! and hopped over to New Zealand for an almost 2-week vacation in what can only be described as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever traveled.  But more on that in an upcoming post. After pausing real life for those two weeks, Damon and I had major catch up to do when we returned home.  One thing that included – our baby’s anatomy scan!  (Read: Gender Reveal.) It’s funny – when I was pregnant with Elisabeth, the weeks leading up to the gender reveal crept by.  During that first pregnancy, every decision felt monumental.  I felt like I couldn’t really begin planning for the baby until I knew its sex.  Pink bedding or blue bedding?  Hair bows or bow ties?  Diana Jr. or Damon Jr.? Second time around, I experienced none of that anxiety.  Perhaps because my circumstances are vastly different this time around.  I’ll be having the baby in California while living with my parents during Damon’s deployment.  (More on that in an upcoming post also.)  Boy or girl, it’s not like I have a nursery to decorate.  And boy or girl, the baby is going to get stuck with Elisabeth’s hand-me-down gear no matter what.  This time around, I don’t have to spend 10,000 hours researching car seats and cribs.  And this time around, finding out the gender just didn’t carry the same weight as it did last pregnancy. But of course, I couldn’t help but think about it.  The weeks leading up to the reveal brought the inevitable, “What are you hoping for?” question from friends, and my inevitable, “I don’t care, as long as it’s healthy,” answer.  Which was true.  Because really, boys and girls each have their pros and cons.  Let’s review. (Be aware, these are mass generalizations.  Just go with it.) Girls:  I am the oldest and only daughter.  I have two younger brothers, Will and Jamie.  So I speak from experience when I say little...

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Night Stalker 2.0

Posted on Nov 27, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

I recently wrote about the war raging between my toddler and me.  Guess what?  It’s still going on, and I’m still losing.  Bedtime has become the worst battle. I should cut Elisabeth some slack.  We travel a lot.  One day her dad is home.  Another day he is gone, and doesn’t come back for a long time.  It’s a lot of change for a small person, and she handles it pretty well.  Except at night.  I don’t know if she thinks that if I leave her at bedtime, I won’t be there in the morning, or if she just likes to terrorize me (I think it’s the latter), but the child will not go to bed. She launched her bedtime campaign small, insisting I sit in the rocking chair while she fell asleep.  That’s not a big deal.  That’s why they made a Solitaire iPhone app, right?  But gradually she began taking longer and longer to fall asleep.  Every time I tried to sneak out of the room, the rocking chair would give me away with a telltale creak.  Every time Elisabeth would wake. “Mama?” she’d asked, making sure I was still present. Followed by, “Mama sit down!”  Every. Single. Time.   And also, when did she become so bossy? I started to employ a new strategy.  Every time she caught me leaving, I would say, “I’ll be right back.  Mama’s just going potty.”  Elisabeth respected that.  If a girl has got to pee, a girl has got to pee.  Did I feel bad lying to my child?  Eh.  I figure on the scale of parental lies, this one ranks pretty low.  Plus, I always do come back eventually to check on her. Anyway, the potty excuse worked for awhile.  I would slip out of her bedroom under feigning incontinence, and she would fall asleep.  But then she caught on.  “Mama!  Sit down!  Mama.  Mammmmma!” She would moan until I resumed my rightful place in the rocking chair, playing Solitaire until my hand cramped. And just so I wouldn’t forget my place, she became quite particular regarding the placement of...

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My Kid Stole My Cool

Posted on Nov 14, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

My Kid Stole My Cool 5

Welcome to my new blog!  It took a little longer than I expected, but it’s ready now, and I hope you like it. Thanks to everyone who sent in blog name suggestions.  I got a lot of good suggestions, and several that gave me a good laugh.  I appreciate it!  Turns out though, that I came up with the name on my own.  Who would have thought it possible? Now, about the new blog.  Before anyone that knows me calls me out, I was never “cool”.  Hardly.  But on the scale of Coolness, I definitely ranked higher pre-kid than I do post-kid.  Can any other moms relate? -The sleep deprivation that turns you into a character out of The Walking Dead?  Not cool.  (I’ve never actually seen the show, but I imagine new moms are even more terrifying than flesh-eating zombies.) -The yoga pants that become acceptable day-wear?  Not cool.  But hey, they’re the only thing that fits. -The jumbo diaper bag that’s replaced all your chic handbags?  Not cool.  Even if it’s designer, it’s still a diaper bag. -The spit-up in your hair?  Not cool.  Oh, and when was the last time you washed your hair?  You can’t remember?  Me either. -The wasted hours spent browsing Pinterest in the quest to become the perfect mom?  Non cool. -The peanut butter smeared all over your clothes? And everything else?  Not cool. -The minivan? *Shudder*  So very not cool. Much of this blog is about how my expectations of motherhood were stupendously off.  I thought I could retain – if not my coolness – my pre-mom attitudes and appearances.  That I would effortlessly transition from a fun, fashion and fitness-loving, jet-setting childless woman into a fun, fashion and fitness-loving, jet-setting mom.  And while I strive to maintain my former sense of self as a mom, it certainly manifests itself in different ways.   In my personal favorite post, The Christian Bale Scale, I wrote: “I always thought I’d be that mom that everyone hates because she always looks put-together: cute outfit, coiffed hair, bright-eyed.  But no.  Sadly I’m the hater,...

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Everything I Said I’d Never Do

Posted on Oct 6, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Everything I Said I’d Never Do 3

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I’ve neglected this blog these past couple of weeks. I have no excuse, except that I’m crazy tired.  Every day I wage war against a stubborn almost-two year old, and every day I lose.  It’s exhausting. Eating breakfast.  Getting dressed.  Getting into the car seat.  Eating Lunch.  Napping.  Playtime.  Cleaning up.  Eating dinner.  Getting out of the bath.  Brushing teeth.  Night-Night time.  All battles.  Sometimes I think Elisabeth is literally trying to kill me.  That one time that she took the napkin to wipe my face, just like she did hers?  Sure, it seemed cute at first.  But then I realized that she might actually be trying to smother me.  Or that time she “dropped” her sippy cup on my head as I was cleaning up the floor beneath her high chair?  I’m pretty sure she was trying to take me out. In an effort to maintain any iota of sanity, I’ve turned into that mom.  The mom I swore I’d never be.  The mom who turns on Sesame Street so I can cook dinner in peace.  (Although “peace” now means Elmo and the gang singing loudly in the next room.)  The mom who shoves an iPad in her daughter’s hands to keep her quiet on a train.  (To be fair – have you been on a Japanese train?  They are silent.  Fidgety, crying toddler on Japanese train = super awkward.  You’d totally use the iPad too.)  The mom who bribes her child with cheese sticks or gives her the pacifier THAT’S ONLY ALLOWED IN THE CRIB so I can finish the last 10 minutes of a run without a tantrum. I was going to have a strictly non-electronic household for baby, until at least two years old.  I was going to feed my child exclusively healthy snacks, on an appropriate meal schedule.  I was going to have her weaned from the pacifier by 18 months.  She was going to be the child that thrived on my routine and rules, and should the occasional tantrum occur, I would not give in.  I am the boss,...

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Up! Up! Upchuck.

Posted on Aug 2, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Up! Up! Upchuck. 0

I think moms should earn badges, like Girl Scouts.  There would be the “Labor and Delivery” badge (kind of a required one), the “Leaving the Child at Daycare Without Crying” badge, for a military spouse, a “Parenting with a Deployed Spouse” badge, and then there’d be the badge I earned last night, the “Surviving Your Child’s Stomach Flu Without Throwing Up Yourself” badge.  That’s a toughie to earn, because dealing with a vomiting child is really, really gross. Without getting too graphic, Elisabeth’s diapers had indicated that her tummy was giving her trouble all day yesterday.  But she was acting like her normal, happy self, so I wasn’t worried.  At around 11:15 PM, I heard her tossing and turning in her crib and went in to check in on her.  Her stomach was making all sorts of unnatural noises.  Oh no, I thought, she’s gonna blow.   She woke up, and I attempted to comfort her.  We moved from the crib to the rocking chair to the changing table and back again for the next 45 minutes.  Seated in the rocker, she pointed to the changing table and said, “Poo-poo!”  She knew what was coming.  She wanted to be prepared.  Admirable of her, really. I took her back to the changing table because she demanded so and she lay down, fighting to stay awake.  I waited, listening to her tummy rumble, knowing an explosive diaper was inevitable.  But when?  As she drifted in and out of sleep I decided to move her back to her crib for comfort’s sake (hers and mine).  As soon as I put her down, she sprung to her feet. “Lay down, Sweetie,” I coaxed.  “I’ll lay down next to you.”  I crouched next to the crib, one hand through the slats trying to cajole Elisabeth to lay down. She leaned over the crib.  “Up! Up!” she exclaimed.  And then… upchuck. I was caught off guard, to say the least.  I certainly had not anticipated or prepared for anything coming out of that end.  And let me tell you, crouching beside  a crib, peering up...

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