Some questions

Is this just a stage? Can I possibly hold it together while Amelia is freaking out? Do I say “Naughty mat” or “Time out”? How is it possible to be so revolting one minute and then in the blink of an eye so incredibly sweet? Am I talking about me or her?

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42 Responses

  1. Time outs are great for both of you. This is practice for when she is a teenager, sorry to tell you. (hugs)

  2. says:

    thankless job…
    i’m the mom of a 4 year old and it gets better and the same…

    better because they can verbalize more…

    worse because they can verbalize more…

    i find it helpful to stop feeling guilty or worried about being a bad parent…

    the good times are worth it!

    good luck!!

  3. Heh heh..welcome to motherhood…isn’t it grand? /end sublte sarcasm
    They’re discovering the world around them, observing how people react, testing limits, pushing boundaries…it IS a phase, a pesky phase that will show up time and time again…just try your best, and above all else:REMAIN CALM 😉

  4. says:

    I join the club of non perfect moms.Just had a situation every parent knows.
    Me tired and stressed Mila(2 almost 3) wants attention.
    I freaked and asked my lovely husband to take over.
    After all I recognized, as mutch I needed a time out, Mila needed it as well.
    Time is a very helpful factor. After this experience of emotional chaos I desided, let’s do something together.
    Cuddle, take a walk to see newborn cows, bring granny some flowers…time out for both of us.
    Probably we ask to mutch of ourselfs and our children. are great!!!

  5. says:

    I agree – you ARE a spectacular mum!

  6. now thats a bit spooky…I was just wondering the same thing about Jacob who in the past two weeks has evolved into “Master-of-the-Universe” and is having some trouble breaking his parents into the idea, apparently. And as I wrestle with the screaming lord-and-master I catch myself thinking, just who is being unreasonable here? Me or him? Trying to work out the borders as the situation changes each week or two keeps on eon your toes! Though I guess he feels the same way? Sterkte Claire!

  7. Lol, this made me smile and laugh to my self. I think every parent goes through this big time. I’d start doing the naughty corner. I started that on my 3 year old and now my almost 2 year old. It works. Plus, as you count to 60 (1 minute per year of child) each time they really learn their numbers! It’s hard but finding the humor in their actions…even while they destroy favorite books, leave markers in their shoes and pull everything from your organized shelves (AH!) look for the humor of it all. Plus, sometimes parents need a “time out”, if you know what I mean. 🙂 Good luck!

  8. Oh, I forgot…don’t forget the hugs after naughty corner.

  9. If you find an answer, can you let us all know? It’s hard, and frustrating, and trying on even the best patience. And when you think you’ve got it all worked out, they change on you, and you start again.I have no easy answer for you, but a great deal of sympathy because we’re doing the same questions.

  10. I know exactly how you feel. Emily (22 months old) is testing me daily. One minute singing and dancing and being SOOO cute and the next minute stamping her feet or throwing herself on the floor. She is one determined little madam. If she has done something particularly bad she comes and hugs me – how can I get cross with that?! Also my mom recently reminded me of a poem: ‘There was a little girl with a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid!’ So true.

  11. Toddlerhood is a real riot, isn’t it? You don’t know whether to laugh or cry — and neither does your toddler! With a 3 1/2 year old girl at home I can’t yet say it’s gotten better (yet), but at least now she can express her frustrations somewhat more easily. Good luck!

  12. Oh my. While I don’t have kids of my own, I did take care of two little girls just as the eldest was going through the “limit testing” stage. She would poke her sister in the eye, have panic-attack-like fits because the seam along the toe of her socks “hurt” her feet and then turn around and be the most beautiful child in the world.I read in one of their mom’s parenting books that children get easily frustrated and moody when they are learning something new or entering a new stage in their development. It makes perfect sense and doesn’t really seem to end in childhood, (consider how frustrated an adult can become when trying to program electronic equipment).

    I hope you and Amelia learn to cope with each other during these trying times! I swear, those sweet angelic moments are a defense mechanism developed through years of evolution to prevent parents from abandoning their children in supermarkets!

  13. Claire, it’s a repetive stage and in my experience, it comes around about every two years. When “the nasty child/mom” rears its head just try to chant in the back of your mind, “I know this child is sweet. I know I’m a good mom.” I guess in a way it’s like counting to ten…sort of diffusing. Then when it’s Miller Time, grab a cold beer and relax because I’m told it does get better.

  14. have you tried supernanny’s “naughty step” technique? is working wonders with my two and a half years old. he even goes there for himself when he is upset, and doesn’t leave until he is calmed. :O

  15. I think you’re talking about ‘us’. LOL.

  16. is she two?hang in there.
    you’ll both make through this growth-development-phase

  17. I prefer to lock myself in another room with a good book!

  18. My kids are darlings then some days i think they are possed and I’m bound for solitary life somewhere in a cave. They are all like that. I always try to remember the little joke my friend told me when Amanda was born. Why did God make babies cute? So you don’t kill them.

  19. I’ve got a toddler myself, and I *hear* that it’s just a stage. I’ve found with Mary that compliments and politeness go a lot further than threats of punishment … what to do when a toddler actually LIKES Time Out? If it gets really bad, I do tell her that we both need some time alone and I make her calm down in her crib while I sit quietly in my own room.
    Hang in there!

  20. Yes! It is just a stage. Is she around three? I think three is the worst age yet. I have a boy turning 6 in a few weeks and I can assure you there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are times when the only recourse I have is to walk away and breathe for a minute. They aren’t going anywhere and as long as the aren’t in a place where they can hurt themselves, sometimes its the best thing. My girl is three and a quarter and I know I just have to get through this year and things will be so much better! Hang in there! You aren’t crazy!n The only other things I can say is that time out sidint always work for us but taking what they were playing with and putting it in a time out can be affective. And distraction is the key! If she is being supernaughty I just try to distract her with something else and it usually makes her forget she was so intent on making me miserable. Good luck!

  21. says:

    I am going through the same thing with Elsie (almost 3). Unfortunately the “time out” is no longer working. Sometimes putting her toys or the “offending item” in time out (on top of the fridge) works better than putting Elsie herself in time out. I’m looking for suggestions as well.Hang in there…. other mommies make it through this stage, so there must be light at the end of the tunnel.

  22. “Naughty mat” – that’s a good one!
    Sorry, no words of adive. I’m going through that too. Sometimes, it’s hard not to laugh at their break-downs.

    hmmm, should I have admitted that?

    Potty training is going better though! I suppose constant rewards of smarties, stickers and pee-pee parties make us all happy campers.

  23. Love her nonetheless. Whatever you decide to do, do it with love. (I am talking to myself now).

    And if you feel like screaming, lock yourself in the toilet, flush the toilet, let the shower and bathtub water run and screaaaaaaam. And bang the tiles. And kick the wall. And pull out your hair. And throw the towel. And have a tantrum yourself, in private.

  24. As the Mother of two small children – I hear ya !

  25. says:

    The naughty mat works wonders as long as you’re consistent with it. My parent’s greatest fault when raising me was that I knew 90% of what they said was an empty threat- a mistake I won’t make with me own kids! Just my two cents!

  26. You’re both human….Having said that I went and got homeoepathics for us all because the ’emotions’ seemed to be taking over and were very irrational…it will pass…

  27. I think we all need a time out mat :]
    congrats on the Age article:]
    some great exposure for you!

  28. says:

    Nice article in todays Age Claire. Makes me want to get the machine warmed up again… Toddler taming? Hang in there, it gets better for all involved.

  29. says:

    Can I recommend a wonderful book to you? It is called Do Not Disturb by Deborah Jackson. My husband and I have read it so many times it is literally falling to bits. It helped us realise what was really important for kids, and to forget about the other stuff.

  30. says:

    I find that our temper tantrums feed off each other. If I am tired and having a “bad” day, then chances are the girls are too and it just becomes one big vicious circle. I find that if I can recognise this, breath, and take a chill-pill (so to speak) it makes it all a lot easier to deal with. But as I say to my husband, remember, you are the adult here !!

  31. says:

    On Saturday while my husband was at work, I was trying to clean the house and cook for a casual dinner I was having that night for some girlfriends.I had such a bad day with the kids..(boy 3.5 years and girl 13 months), by the time the first friend arrived with her 3.5 year old girl I looked at her at just burst into tears. My friend and I talked in the kitchen about how I have no life and all I do is cook and clean and have kids that drive me crazy.I felt soooo much better that I got that out, so that by the time the others arrived I was composed. I said thanks to my friend…(who is a single mother!!!! that has to be even harder…)and she said she was so glad that I cried because she always thought I was the perfect mother, whose house was always clean and kids were always picture perfect.Im sorry I gave that illusion because us Mums are all the same, just taking one day at a time.(And my house usually has toys and ironing piles from one end to the other!!) Today I took both the kids to Westfield and they were perfect!!! We sat and ate quietly, no tantrums were thrown when I said they couldnt have a third go on those money chewing rides and Master C even went to the toilet when requested!!! Honestly….I dont think Ill EVER have them worked out!!

  32. says:

    As a pre-school teacher I think telling a child they are “naughty” can have a bad effect on their self esteem. I am not a big fan of time out, however I’m not saying it doesnt have it’s place. At my Kinder, instead of telling a child they need “time out” or what not, they are re-directed to a quiet area. I know not so easy with a 2 year old. However can tell her to sit down because what she is doing is not right (hitting, kicking or whatever it may be)If you use the same room, or seat, step etc all the time will make her hate that area so doesnt really have to be the same spot.
    That is just what i find works best.

  33. Uncanny! I was JUST having this same sort of conversation with a friend about our children, then I read your post, then I read all of the comments and now I feel a whole lot better. Thanks everyone!

  34. I worked in my churches nursery for something ridiculous like 6 years, and I can tell you that there is no worse age than the “terrible twos” (or threes if your lucky). But you are definitely on the right track. This is the age when children start realizing that you are a separate entity from them. They are testing their boundaries. For the most part its just important to be patient and know that this is simply a stage, and that they will get over it. But since they are testing their boundaries, make sure you have them. Time-outs are a good start, but be consistent, and make sure Amelia is actually learning what your boundaries are (if time-outs are followed by anger it’s probably a good thing).

  35. says:

    hi clairei love reading your blog – even if it does make me feel slightly inadequate!!

    I wrote you a poem to thank you for all the joy you have given me

    a poem for Loobylu

    Just one question that I have for you
    How do you do all the things that you do?

    How do you make cats and elephants and pincushion pears
    And honey popcorn and stews and chocolate bears

    How do you make dolls for your daughter and knit her jumpers with flowers,
    How do you draw groovy pictures –
    Yet also manage to watch television for hours?

    How do you stay modest and kind and donate money to charity?
    How do you do near on daily blog entries that drip with hilarity?

    All in all, Loobylu, you inspire and delight me
    Your fresh creative eyes allow me to see.

    Thank you, Loobylu for just being you!

  36. says:

    Talked to my mom about this stressing time in Amelias life (hahaha) and asked her if we had a naughty mat or a corner to go to. She said “Of course not. You had Gramma’s.”

  37. Another book: The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Might be a bit too touchy-feely, but that’s Californians for you.

  38. I’ve got ‘make naughty mat’ on my list of to-dos for this week. Oscar’s only 18 months but he seems to respond to time outs already. We’re working on no throwing things that are hard. Getting clocked with one of those toy trains really smarts!

  39. i second kathryn’s poem! heck i can’t even update my darn blog!
    and i fear bunny (17 months)and i are about to go down this same road…

  40. I hear that there are those “terrible twos” which then are replaced by “tantrum threes”…I think I am now midst of the “dirty thirties”… and my mother could swear that I am four…
    so I guess four will be great… and five and six and all the years up to about twelve perhaps?… How does this life thing work anyway? I think it might be all just phases…

    You are a spectacular mom. Hang in there.

  41. says:

    Hi! I have just discovered your blog and love it! I have been working in child care in Australia for 10 years and especially with under-threes. I am also a mum.I find that pre-empting their behaviour and distracting them to something else before they get into mischief to be the best course of action. Try an enthusiastic “Come and help me do this..” or “Let’s go find your such and such” Remember that asking “Do you want to…” or “Would you like to …” will give them the choice to say “NO!” so be careful how you phrase things. Also try and keep your voice and actions steady and calm as your child’s behaviour will deteriorate in direct proportion to your own! Remember that YOU are the adult. If your toddler still doesn’t listen, physically guide them to do what it is you want, while remaining positive with them about it.
    We don’t use the word “naughty” (in regards to either children or areas, it’s thought to be bad for self esteem, though these days everyone seems to tiptoe around children’s self esteem!) or put children in “time out” per say, since it can be especially hard to KEEP them there and then you end up having a battle about that as well. But if a child is being especially hard to get along with and is ignoring warnings (I give only two)then I say “I have asked you to stop (insert behaviour)and you are not listening to me. You will need to move away now” Then physically move the child to another area (which is still a safe/supervised area) away from the group to do something else. At the toddler age, this usually results in either a sulk or lots of tears. I will then say “If you like you can go and find a cushion” (we have a soft cushiony corner) and the child will usually move there to have a little weep, or if they are tantruming, I will move them there, then move away so as not to be giving attention for that sort of behaviour. It is not compulsory that they stay there though they usually do as a “soft area” is comforting for a toddler when they are feeling out of control. Usually after the child has had a cry etc, they move back towards the group. This is an important time – I ask “Are you ready to come back and join us?” and if a child nods or moves to come back I will usher them close to me, make eye contact and say “Remember this time you must… (insert your own words).” I will give them a hug and a smile to let them know it’s all ok. After being consistent with this type of discipline, the children learn pretty quickly that it’s much more fun to do the right thing and stay “in the group” than doing the wrong thing and ending up getting no attention. It also helps to give lots and lots of praise and smiles when they ARE behaving eg “I love the way you are playing so quietly while I am busy!” or “You’ve helped me to pick up all the toys! Well done – give me a hug!” Basically, try to catch them being good, throughout the day, every day. Of course, every situation is different, but I hope some of this has helped!

  42. Child care advice is as prone to fashion as everything else. I think Super Nanny is probably a curse; and that over all kids should be treated as one would wish to be treated oneself. I’d say be educated and open to advice, but trust your own instincts.