Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm Out Of Ammo

Little Miss is too smart for her own good. She doesn't mind being punished, and if something doesn't work, she knows I have to move on to something else. For various things over the past couple years, I've tried carrots and sticks, rewards and punishments, to varying degrees of success.

For the last year or so, I discovered that the best way to keep Little Miss in line (when needed, which granted isn't that often) is to take away her favorite toys. If she doesn't behave and listen when I ask her to do something, she gets a warning that she needs to do X or she will lose Y.

Napping is starting to become an issue, partly because my mom told Little Miss that she doesn't really have to sleep anymore. Ummm hello, can you not see the circles below her eyes when she doesn't nap? Do you not notice the difference in her behavior when she's overtired? *sigh*

Needless to say, getting her to actually sleep instead of playing during naptime is becoming an issue. I hear a thump and go check and there she is standing on her nightstand playing. Away goes a toy. A little while later I discover her kicking her headboard and good-bye Baby Giggles.

Today, we hit a new level.

Unfortunately, my husband was doing the parenting last night while I was at Costco, so when Little Miss had an accident (90% sure that was his fault anyway), he took away ALLLLLLL her stuffed animals. Great.

Before her nap, she went potty and pooped with no streaks, so she earned back an animal (see, I'm not totally mean -- she knows how to get them back, too). She, of course, chose Snowy her special bear.

We discussed what I expected for naptime for the girl who was up before 7am. There was to be no playing. No jumping. No messing with the curtains. No peeps (talking). Just lay down and go to sleep. With eyes closed.

She soon had to go potty. And yes, she really again had to go potty. She didn't earn anything back then. The rule is that if you have to get up in the middle of nap after I offer pre-nap potty, you don't earn anything.

A short while later, I heard a huge thump and then some big screaming. I raced upstairs to find her howling hysterically. "I was laying down, Mommy. I was laying down and I hurt myself!" Uh-huh. I calmed her down long enough to discover that she had bumped her head pretty hard above the ear to the point that her entire ear was bright red.

Yeah... she was laying down alright. She claims that the nightstand bumped her while she was sleeping. Except that the bump was on the wrong side of her head for that. The girl needs to get her story straight. I'm sure she'll learn soon enough.

I didn't take Snowy then but explained that I was not to hear another sound. Pretty soon, I heard a thump. I went up and Snowy went back into timeout. She screamed. I don't mean threw a tantrum kind of cried and screamed, I mean she screeched like a banshee. Really piercing. With a few "I want my teddy bear back" pitifully thrown in for good measure.

After a few minutes, I went back up to remind her that she has five minutes to cry before she needs to stop. Miraculously, the tears stopped about four minutes and fifty-eight seconds later. I'm pretty sure she's going to be a track star with that internal clock.

And then I heard another thump. I went up, and she was standing up on the bed. She quickly dropped down and pretended she was sleeping. Because, you know, if she moves fast enough, her Jedi mind trick might work on me. Snowy was the last stuffed animal, so I had to get creative. I took one of her blankets and warned that the next sound meant I was going to start taking the Thomas trains Mister Man gave her.

She screamed and cried again, and I heard her throwing things in her room. Not cool. And that is something that I won't put up with. When I went upstairs, she walked over to the Thomas trains, picked them up and handed them to me. "I don't want to play with these anymore, anyway."

Did I mention that this all happened within a 42 minute stretch (not that I was watching the clock or anything)?

I got her up shortly thereafter. Tonight, she was in bed by 5:40. And oddly, she went straight to sleep. Here's hoping this gets her back into her regular sleep cycle.

Unfortunately, now I need another tactic. Any suggestions?


MaBunny January 21, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

Oh wow, busy 42 minutes.
I'm not the best at punishment... usually no TV, or computer. She got a DS for Christmas and I haven't had to take that away - yet...
I'll think about it and try to come up with a suggestion or two:))

morninglight mama January 21, 2009 at 6:22 PM  

Yeah, I HATE it when they act all 'nah, that doesn't bother me!' I'd say that your approach is very similar to mine, and I don't think I have any suggestions for you, but just to stay consistent. I think we as parents too often think we have to change things up when sticking with the same plan for a while works in the long run, even when we have individual setbacks. Sounds like it's a major game, and source of attention seeking, right now. Stay calm, be persistent and hopefully she'll get back on a regular schedule. :)

Tranquility January 22, 2009 at 3:20 AM  

Yeah - been there.

Unfortunately, I have no suggestions that might actually work.

Picture this: at 14 months old, baby has learned to stand up in crib and bounce around like she's on a trampoline, but has also learned to listen for footsteps and crouch back into 'PRETEND' sleep position as mom is opening bedroom door to check on thumping noise.

Mmmhhhmmm? Yeah - that was one of our little ones last year - not even two yet!

The hardest part is trying to hide the admiration and laughter.

Swishy January 22, 2009 at 5:27 AM  

Ohhh man. At least she's not a teenager? I got nothing :)

Cookie January 22, 2009 at 8:38 PM  

Yikes! My kids both stopped napping around 2.5 :S
She is a piece of work!

Michelle January 22, 2009 at 8:56 PM  

MaBunny - Yeah... welcome to my life! And sadly, we don't really do tv or computer, so that won't work as a deterrent either.

morninglight mama - I will say that being calm is one thing that does help me. My husband on the other hand... he blows things out of proportion to their wrongness with the wee ones. (See ALL animals being removed on Monday)

Tranquility - Ouch! That actually sounds a lot like Little Miss. I'd say you've got your hands full ;)

Swishy - Yeah... but she's GOING to be one. Do you have any idea what I'm in for?

Cookie - She is, isn't she? I call her "full of personality" -- my personal euphamism. ;)

bettyl January 29, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

That is so priceless! I marvel at the creativity of little ones. Somehow, I think they all start out with the ability to become politicians, but fortunately, most grow out of it.

Michelle January 30, 2009 at 11:37 PM  

bettyl - You called it alright. Mister Man doesn't have a devious bone in his body (ok ok, I exaggerate), but MAN is this girl cut out to be a politician. She can finesse anything. And she's 3!

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