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.

 

Read More

New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate.

Posted on Mar 11, 2014 in Pregnancy Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate. 4

New Zealand.  I have to blog about my trip to New Zealand, even though it was two months ago.  My memory seems to be diminishing with each passing day of this pregnancy, so it’s imperative I document this trip now.  You know, so when I make our travel scrapbook 10 years from now I’ll actually have a record of where we went and what we did. You guys, New Zealand is stunning.  Gorgeous beyond belief.  I knew NZ was one of those places Damon and I had to visit while we were living in Japan, but I wasn’t all that sure why.  Because it’s pretty?  Because Lord of the Rings was filmed there?  I mean, a lot of places are pretty, and I don’t really care about Lord of the Rings.  But still, for no particular reason other than vague praise from fellow travelers, NZ was on our travel bucket-list.  And thank goodness it was. Perhaps we didn’t really know what to expect from our trip because it’s probably hard for most people – including myself – to articulate how incredible this place is.  Damon, Elisabeth, and I flew into Christchurch and spent 11 days traveling the South Island by car, spending one or two nights in a town before moving on to our next destination.  Even with 11 days, we only traversed the southern half of the South Island, but every day brought a different experience.  By no means am I a nature girl, yet I was rendered speechless by each beach, lake, mountain, glacier, waterfall, what-have-you we saw.  It was all magnificent. We’d be driving along, admiring one landscape – say,  rolling green hills dotted with sheep – turn a corner and be struck by a completely different, but equally stunning view, perhaps a glassy lake in the most brilliant turquoise color you’ve ever seen, or snow-capped mountains against a perfectly blue sky.  Even when it rained (which it did, a lot) it was still crazy beautiful.     We took our trip in early January, summer in NZ and therefore the tourism high season, yet there...

Read More

Sayonara, Japan

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, Travel Traumas

Sayonara, Japan 6

A little over a week ago, Elisabeth and I boarded a flight from Narita to LAX.  This was our third NRT –> LAX, but likely our last.  At least for a long while.  Elisabeth and I are officially CONUS residents again, living in California for the next several months until Damon joins us and we move to Washington, DC. I don’t believe I’ve entirely updated this blog on our current situation, so here’s the short version: I’m pregnant (duh).  Damon is currently in Nevada participating in a major training exercise for the next several weeks.  When he returns to Japan, he will be doing work-ups for deployment.  If you don’t know what any of that means, that’s okay, I don’t really either.  Basically, he’ll be really, really busy and gone a lot.  And ultimately, he’ll deploy again.  All before the baby is set to arrive. Given his timeline and my due date, we decided the best decision for me was to move back with my family in California to have the baby and wait out the deployment.  So here I am. It was strange leaving Japan – and the Atsugi community – so many months before I had previously planned.  There were so many things on my bucket list left undone, and time I had counted on with friends that I had to sacrifice.  But ultimately, I was ready to move; I desperately needed an In-N-Out burger.  I lived overseas for 22 months, which hardly sounds like any time at all.  But since graduating college in 2007, that is actually the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.  Crazy, right? If I’m being honest, I didn’t love Japan.  That’s not to say I disliked it – not at all!  It’s just that I never felt 100% comfortable in the culture.  Part of that is my own fault.  Before moving, I assumed I would fully immerse myself in the Japanese culture, and frankly, I didn’t.  When we moved, Elisabeth was five months old.  I struggled – more than I thought I would – with balancing parenting a baby (and then toddler) and...

Read More

GIVEAWAY: Origami Owl

Posted on Feb 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

GIVEAWAY: Origami Owl 3

Hey Friends. Guess what? It snowed today. A lot.  Actually, it’s still snowing.  All the good parents of Atsugi took their kids out to play in the winter wonderland, while I was like, “Sorry, Kid.  It’s too damn cold.”  I enjoyed an indoor day, warm and dry, while – miracle of all miracles – Elisabeth napped for THREE HOURS.  I think I win this snow day. I’m guessing my U.S. readers know something about cold right now. Except the Californians. I hate you guys sometimes. But for everyone else who is stuck in freezing misery, I have something that might lift your spirits.  Free stuff! That’s right – I’m doing my first giveaway!  My friend Michelle is an independent designer for the jewelry line Origami Owl.  She has graciously offered one of my readers the beautiful silver locket pictured below. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, right?! Ok, given that it’s already February 8th, you probably won’t receive it by Valentine’s day, but perfect for adding a little cheer into this endless, dreadful winter, right?! Mommas, this can be a well-deserved gift to yourself.  Fellas, this could be a belated Valentine’s day gift after you either forget/screw up the actual gift you give your lady.  Either way, anyone can and should enter by doing the following. 1) “Like” My Kid Stole My Cool on Facebook 2) Follow @DianaLoveless1 on Twitter  (Yes I tweet.  I can hardly believe it myself.) 3) “Like” Michelle’s Origami Owl page on Facebook 4) Comment directly on this blog post telling me the best Valentine’s Day gift is you’ve ever been given.  Uh, I can’t actually answer that, so feel free to tell me the worst Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever been given. Or gifted to someone else! That’s much more fun… Each of the above will get you one entry, meaning you have the chance to enter multiple times!  And if you want to check out more of Michelle’s merchandise, check out her website! The winner will be announced on February 14th.  Good luck!   P.S. Damon eventually took Elisabeth out in the snow so she...

Read More

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...

Read More

Christmas According to My Two-Year-Old

Posted on Dec 25, 2013 in The Kids Are Actually Cute

Christmas According to My Two-Year-Old 0

“Santa… Reindeer… Jesus!” This is how Elisabeth explained Christmas to me.  Seems like a pretty sound explanation. At least for a two-year-old. I have to say, I was pretty psyched for Christmas this year.  This was the first Christmas I’ve celebrated in a long time with a child present who gets Christmas.  Gets the fun, the joy, the celebration.  Well, sort of gets it.  See above.  Not to mention, Elisabeth was featured all over one of Tokyo’s premier department stores in their Christmas ad – on billboards, placards, shopping bags, the works.  I mean, when your daughter is basically the face of Christmas in Japan*, it’s easy to get into the holiday spirit.  See below. Anyway.  We tried to impart upon Elisabeth the importance of Jesus on this special day.  And indeed, Elisabeth loves her Fisher Price Nativity Scene (“Jesus’ House,” as she calls it), complete with a light-up manger and flying angel.  However, Jesus didn’t drive around base on a fire truck handing out candy on Christmas Eve; Santa did.  So Santa made the more lasting impression this year.  As did Santa’s lack of sleigh.  “Reindeer?” Elisabeth asked, perplexed, as Santa passed in an open-air vehicle.  She’s been obsessed with reindeer, Rudolph in particular, ever since we let her watch the 1964 Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer film a couple of weeks ago. “The reindeer are resting for tonight,” I explained.  She bought it. Later that evening at church, following a prayer in which the pastor touched on the real reason for the season, Elisabeth excitedly exclaimed, “Santa!”  She continued to joyously shout for Santa until I silenced her with a blessed pacifier.  “We’re celebrating Jesus!  Baby Jesus!” I whispered.  “Santa!”  Okay, then.  Not much to argue with there. Even later that evening, Elisabeth became increasingly concerned about Santa’s milk and cookie situation.  I don’t know where she learned about the milk-and-cookies tradition, but it was sure stuck in her head.  “Santa milk cookies.  Santa milk cookies!” She repeated over and over and over to Damon, shaking her little finger at him and nodding her head in earnest to...

Read More
Page 5 of 25« First...34567...1020...Last »