Toddler Humiliation

I am a first time mom.  Along with that comes the stress of constantly wondering if you are raising your kid properly.  Because of  that, you look for any opportunity that will make you feel good about what you have done so far.  Sometimes you may find yourself pulling at straws to find even one tiny little thing the little hellian you created is doing right to finally feel vindicated to wear that “MOM” title.

But remember the saying: “One step forward, two steps back”.

One step forward:  I watched my friend’s two little girls for her one day last week.  They are both older than my two-year old.  I’m gonna say one is four and the other is either six or seven.  Very nice girls. After being at my house for a short time, I was a tiny bit surprised how they never said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’.  While playing in my living room, they kept jumping on the couches after me asking them numerous times not to.  And at one point, someone (no one has admitted to it even to this day) knocked a speaker to our tv off of its stand and just left it on the floor without saying anything.  These are not any actions that surprised me due to the kid’s ages.  But these things did make me feel good because my daughter was no part of it.  She does say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  She even says ‘excuse me’ when you’re talking to someone so as not to interrupt.  She was not running across my leather couches while wearing her shoes and she was not jump roping in the middle of my living room.  (granted, this last part is because she does not yet know how to jump rope but that’s not the point!)

Needless to say, I spent a small portion of that morning inwardly smiling because I was happy to see that the fussing and continuous hounding on my kid is actually paying off.  I was starting to get a little puffed up.  Proud even.  I was already having the conversation in my head how I was going to discuss my good parenting skills with my husband when he got home from work.  Surely he could benefit from the proven techniques I’ve integrated into raising our child!!

Two steps back:  Later that afternoon – after a trip to the park, indoor jump roping (as stated) and a quick walk through the woods – it was time for everyone (myself included) to take a nap.  I laid all three girls in the bed in the spare room.  As is the routine with my daughter, we read two stories.  My friend’s oldest daughter could barely keep her eyes open as we read the stories and was halfway asleep by the end.  I tucked them all in and eagerly headed toward my own sanctuary.  I could barely get out the room when my daughter sits up and calls my name.  When she sits up, my friend’s youngest sits up.  I soothe her and tuck them all in again.  This time, I make it out of the room and almost have the door closed when my daughter sits up and calls me again.  When she sits up, again the youngest sits up.

Let me here explain that my daughter is definitely going through the toddler “i don’t want to sleep, ask for more water, ask for another kiss, another hug, please put socks on my feet, door open, light on, babies lined in the right order and sing a song before I can go to sleep” phase.  I thought for sure that being with the other two, she would gladly and quickly fall asleep.  But after calling me twice, I knew we were going to have a problem.  I calmed her down yet again and this time actually made it across the hall into my room before I heard her calling me once more.  And you guessed it, when I went back into the room, her and her buddy were both sitting up looking at me.  The only difference was that my daughter was looking wide awake whereas her partner was looking droopy-eyed and might I add a little annoyed.  I knew this could get bad.  So I take my daughter out of there to sleep in her own room.  An idea she seemed fine with when I first mentioned it to her.  But as I’m sure you can tell, quickly disintegrated.  I put my kid in her crib, and she immediately started her list of requests.  No matter that I had just filled all of these before laying her down in the spare room with her friends!  Well, folks, the kid went into a one-sided screaming match once I told her no more requests would be filled.  My child started screaming at the top of her lungs, jumping up and down in her crib while beating on the side.  I couldn’t believe it!  Surely she knew her friends were hearing all this in the other room.  Surely she should be embarrassed to act in such a manner with an audience, right?  Ha!  Completely wrong, my friends.  And no, she did not do this for a few moments and then calm herself.  She did this for 45 minutes!  No, I didn’t say 4 to 5 minutes, I said FORTY-FIVE minutes.  Half the time I couldn’t make out what words she was yelling, but none of it mattered.  (i don’t think)  Because the racket she caused was unnerving!  And all the while, there were two sweet, peaceful and perfect little angels trying to get some sleep in the other room and at the same time allow me to get my rest to be recharged for them for the afternoon.  But my kid, the one I was telling you about who says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ sat there screaming like something possessed!  She did cry herself to sleep.  And you would think the story ended there.  And yes, yes it should.  But she didn’t stay asleep.  She woke up.  After only half an hour of sleep.  And basically picked up right where she left off.  And if you’re wondering–yes, she did wake up the other two.  And no, I did not get a nap myself.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering what I am to do about this behavior!  What should I have done differently so that situation would have gone a lot smoother? How in the world did my friend get her two kids to just lay down and go to sleep without any arguments, bribing or requests? And why the heck wasn’t my husband home to support me with this hellian we created rather than out working a job?  Doesn’t he know that I need his help?

So.  Do you see why this entry is entitled ‘Toddler Humiliation’?  It’s because my kid definitely humbled me last week.  After the briefest moment of gloat I’ve ever seen.  There are many simple lessons to be learned from this.  Two I’m going to mention.  Kids are kids and I’ve got to readily accept this roller coaster ride having her has put me on. And I guess my main one is to revel in the good things my daughter does.  Be sure to compliment her on them when they happen.  But don’t get myself so built up that it’s so shaming when she brings me back down.  LOL  You got to love her!

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