Monday, September 28, 2009


The one item I really wanted when I was pregnant and sorting through all the 'must haves' of parenthood, was a video baby monitor. My husband vetoed it however saying it was too expensive. To this day, I regret not asking for or just outright buying a video baby monitor.

Being able to watch your kids without them knowing is priceless. The babeola is having some awful tantrums today and naptime is not going well. If I check on her to see if she has finally given herself a concussion this time from the rage induced headbanging, she'll see me which will then hit the reset button on the tantrum.

Avoiding the tantrum reset button is one of the major goals of my life people. Imagine if I could just sit back and watch her on CCTV? She would never know I was there. There would be no telltale creak of the floor boards, and I would be assured that she continued to breathe and had not inadvertently decapitated herself in a fit of toddler rage.

Parenting is all about peace of mind and I have yet to experience it. All for want of a video baby monitor.

We are also entering a new parenting phase, which is to say, the babeola has outpaced us and requires a  whole new set of parenting tricks as of three days ago. Unfortunately, we missed the memo and have been caught with our pants down.

It used to be that so long as we sang the 'bye bye' song that we were fine. No muss, no fuss. Transitions were easy peasy. Well, now the babeola has decided to assert her independence by screaming no and refusing to move along.

So we took a long car trip this past weekend (which the babeola does not travel well to begin with) and she flipped out because she was overtired and stuck in an uncomfortable car seat. There was a lot of pacifier and lovey throwing. Plus screaming.

I patiently retrieved the lovey and pacifier over and over and over again. Contorting myself into weird positions on such a repeated basis, I was sore the next day.

Finally I snapped and we had the following exchange.

ME: Momma is being kind to you and picking up your lovey and paci over and over. I don't like it when you throw it. It's not helpful. It's obnoxious. Can you say obnoxious?

BABEOLA: Nooooo.

ME:I'm not picking it up again. You'll just have to wait.

Time passes and of course I eventually pick everything up again because I am a sucker like that (and I know she really can't help herself).

ME: Are you done being rude?


ME: Well then we'll wait until you're ready to behave. I need your cooperation. Can you be helpful?

BABEOLA: *Screams*

ME: Are you ready to keep your paci in your mouth?

BABEOLA: Noooo. *Screams*

Clearly neither of us were operating at full capacity. WTF am I doing asking a kid to say the word obnoxious? All I can say is that we do that a lot when she hears a new word and I think it was a bit of an autopilot moment. And while the verbage I was using may seem too old for her and destined to be ineffective, believe it or not, the babeola sometimes responds to the finger wagging mommy lecture (more on that later in this post).

Um, yeah, there was also finger wagging.

Thankfully, she eventually fell asleep--about 30 minutes from our exit, sigh-- but only after I sang 'Row row row your boat' 300 times and not without a lot more screaming. My husband had NO problem staying awake for the drive home due to the decibel level in the van ( as well as laughing at our conversation).

This is what happens when you have a child who doesn't sleep in the car. I can't believe we're brave enough to keep taking these road trips.

We've also had issues with not wanting to transition to the next activity.  The babeola has preferences and knows what she wants now. She also knows what she wants to wear.

Now, one of my earlier memories is having a pitched battle at the age of 2 with my mother over a ribbon that was supposed to go around the neck of a blouse. It was a battle that I won, which should tell you something about the stubborn genes the babeola has inherited.

The other day, she saw an outfit on her dresser that she decided was a "cute dress" and when I showed up at the changing table with something else, she about lost her shit. I had to very emphatically reassure her that what I had chosen was super cute and pretty too. Luckily she acquiesced to wearing it.

But yeah, I need to revamp the parenting methods at the Weak household.

No more questions because the answer will always be no.

Keep her out of her closet and don't let her see any other clothes except the ones she's going to wear.

Full implementation of 'bright shiny object' parenting, which is the idea of being ready with an offer of something even more interesting or cool to see/do/eat.

Bait and switch supposedly works too. We will no longer 'change our diaper' instead we will be 'looking for Elmo' (who happens to be the character on the diapers).

Continue with the finger wagging mommy lectures because they do work about 60% of the time for some odd reason. I feel compelled to add for anyone still reading, that I am very interested in parenting according to Family Virtues which is what brings in big words like 'cooperation'  'helpful' etc... into the lectures. I'm trying to lay some groundwork.

Stop telling her she's cute so much and emphasize other traits like intelligence. I'm a bit unnerved to how the babeola has latched onto the concept of cute.

Also, I will be indulging the recent tooth brushing obsession by letting her go at it for as long as she wants this afternoon. On days we need to get out of the house by a certain time, we'll skip it or brush teeth later when we have two hours or more of free time to do it right. Of course, I haven't quite figured out how I will skip brushing her teeth while still brushing mine.

Feel free to add anything I've missed.


Kaplooey Mom said...

Michelle, I think you're doing fine. You're in the rough patch right now (one of several), but she will turn out fine.

I recommend laying out two or three outfits and letting her choose. That way, you both win. You pick the right ones, and then she can be independent. As she learns to handle this choice, you can - as lifestyle permits - add additional choices (food, activities, books, paci or lovey but not both, etc.,) so she'll begin to have a sense of control.

Keep it up. You're doing fine.

Jenners said...

First of all, we have a video camera and use it for all the reasons you describe ... it helps to determine if a "real" intervention is needed or if things are OK. Plus it is fun for "eavesdropping" on solo play. We don't use it as much now except at night.

Second, that is the cardinal rule of parenting, I've learned. The second you think you have them figured out, they change everything and you start over from scratch. Just about when you start feeling relaxed, they mix it up. You can count on it.

Third, when they discover free will, it is just easier to pick your battles and let the rest go. For example, this morning my 5-year-old chose to wear a brown and green shirt with black pants. It looked awful. He thought it looked fine. I let him wear it -- though I wanted to hang a sign on him that said "I pick out my own clothes. Mommy thinks this looks terrible." In the long run, what does it matter. Other things though, I won't give in. It is just easier that way.

And as for tantrums, we've been lucky that he isn't a big one for that. But when they come, I just let him cry and walk away until he tires himself out. I tell him "Come get me when you're calm" Then he comes and we talk. The babeola may still be too young for this though.

Good luck.

Motherhood for the Weak said...

Thanks Leah and Jenners. This new phase is kicking my butt!