March 23, 2009

Are you my sunshine?

Anjali: "No, I not a sunshine."

Our wee silver-tongued minx has quite the attitude to match the verbosity with which she continues to amaze us. Arun at 20 months? He was not much of a talker, but was really, really easy-going. He has not yet shown much of propensity for independence. I am still dressing him from head to toe every day leaving me to wonder if I will have to follow him to college to dress him (which could be awkward should he manage to get himself a girlfriend.) Anjali? If we had a nickel for every time we hear her indignantly declare,"No! I do it!", then our household could personally fund the Bailout.

As you can imagine, she is getting to be quite a bit of work as it seems everything with her is morphing into some sort of negotiation of what She Can Do or Cannot Have. I am finding myself leaving store after store with her trying to work herself up into a tantrum as I desperately try to calm her.

Although, I would be lying if I did not admit that I just adore her ferocity, at times. Well, not when we are at the hardware store and she insists on having her own personal roll of duct tape. But other times, I am totally on board with her independence*. Thus far, hands down, what works with her is to hold her close, whisper in her ear "I know, I know. You want ." If she is fussing because she wants to do something herself, then I will say, "Let's do it together." (Because God help you if you use the word "Help". You are doomed, I say. DOOMED.)

I have talked about this before, I think. But seriously, I hate, despise, loathe all the child rearing advice that recommends that you ignore a child's tantrum - in particular, a toddler's. A toddler needs help working through what is a complicated set of feelings to them (albeit annoyingly inconvenient to us.) If I see the whole Put Baby In the Corner stance while reading child rearing advice, I am out. Gone. I stop listening. I think it is cruel to leave an 18month old to figure it out on his/her own. Cruel. Does it mean that Anjali gets what she wants? Um, no.

Yes, I do use timeouts now with Arun, he is old enough to understand the consequences of his actions. And I use timeouts for misbehavior, not for disappointment because he did not get his way.

Am I always calm, cool and collected? Um, no. I get angry. I yell. I get impatient** when I am at a store and I just need One More Thing and could you please let it go, I am not buying you that.

But I do know this, when I take a deep breath and take the time to console and acknowledge their disappointment, they usually let it go. And every single time I ignore the kid or yell at the kid, it escalates into something Ugly. Every.....Single......Time.

*Total Sidenote: If I was going to have a stubborn, obnoxious child, I am grateful it is my girl and not my boy. Dude, it is a Hard Knock Life for a girl. I have seen a lot of laid back men get somewhere in life and do okay, but I think girls need to be scrappers or Life will just run right over them. Eh. Sue me.

**Another Total Sidenote: Lest you think that I think I am so great of a mother. Know this, on my blog, I am a great mother. In Real Life, I pass muster. Case in point, all over the Blogosphere, I promised to read to my kids an hour a day for that whole Reading To Your Kids Extravaganza everyone is celebrating. Yeah, like that happened (she types as her daughter is napping in the car in the garage*** and her son is watching yet another episode of Little Bill.)

***Another Total Frocking Sidenote: The garage is heated/air-conditioned. All doors are open so we can hear anyway. Judge me at your own leisure.


zoot said...

It is my daughter as well and I've thought the same thing. I think she'll be strong and independent whereas if my boys were the same way I'd worry they'd just grow up to be asshats.

Yes. I understand how wrong that is. But still.

meno said...

I CAN'T BELIEVE you would leave your sleeping child in the garage!

I'd never do that.

Oh. Wait. Never mind.

-the universally judgmental mom.

(kididng, i'm kidding!)

Anonymous said...

However, getting your kid their own roll of duct tape could be fostering something really great, if not, entertaining in the least. Her brother might not find it funny when he's put up on the door like a hazed freshman the next time he messes with her "stuff". would be funny. I've given up on the one-more-thing...thing. Especially when a certain mother in the house will drop a celebrity rag on the checkout just before the checker hits the subtotal button and I've already scanned the debit. I'm just waiting for the kiddo to demand a 52" big screen - how do you say no?

Jenny said...

at that age, it used to work for me to let them have and hold whatever it was they wanted, then I could slyly put it back once their attention shifted to helping me unload the cart onto the moving checkout. Usually if they remembered it at all it was not until we were back at the car, where I would look through all the bags and then say, Sorry, bud, I guess we lost it. Oopsie! Mother of the Year, that's me.

Jenny said...

PS, and by put it back, I mean stash it somewhere it didn't belong. I'm sure the people who worked at my grocery store hated me. :)

PPS - I used to let my kids sleep in the car in the garage with the door down all the time. I really only had one rule: Never wake a sleeping baby! And moving a sleeping child from car seat to bed? Not usually possible.

Mojavi said...

i totally miss my garage :(

Anonymous said...

Heh. Second children stake out the ground not already taken. Mine are all boys, first one was jolly and friendly and easy-going (except, you know, when he really wasn't, but that was rare) and a great sleeper. Child #2's baby book (what there is of it) says over and over in various different forms, from the time he was an infant, that he was "either very, very happy or very, very NOT happy."

But he too desperately wanted to do things himself and was dressing himself practically before his 3 year older brother.

Even now, older son likes to make things look easy -- even if he's working hard at something, he wants you to think it's not such an effort. Middle son doesn't give a crap what it looks like, he just wants to win/do it himself, etc.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is just the second child thing..I can not believe how my second son knows exactly what he wants, to wear, to eat, to do. My older kid still lets me think of most things but not my younger son he has his own way or no way...maybe it's just hat they are more relaxed, maybe we were more relaxed with them so they are more confidant?