Friday, September 4, 2009

Terrible Twos?

I consider myself a patient person in general. Being a mother has certainly tested my patience, but most of the time I’m pleased with myself at handling frustrating situations without losing my cool. If I have many more days (or even one more day) like this day, this current trend may come to an end.

First of all, this has been a long week. Neal is on the night float rotation, which means he works from 7 pm until 8 am, and then sleeps for most of the day. I didn’t think it would be such a bad deal, but it has been harder on me and Sally than I thought it would be. I’ve had trouble sleeping, and Sally is more reluctant to let daddy help her than ever before (since she barely sees him). It doesn’t help that Sally and I have both been sick (sick+tired=easily irritated and low on patience).

Things were going well today until about noon when Sally started to come unglued. She had issues with her lunch (meaning she is super picky), the had even worse issues with sharing her toys with her friends who we invited over, and she wouldn’t do anything I asked her to do. It was a continual round of tantrums. She finally got tantrums out of her system for the hour before naptime—thank goodness for one tear-free hour!

Post-nap and dinner time were even worse than afternoon. She was very upset when she woke up from her nap (probably because she hardly slept—she diddled around in her crib for over an hour before going to sleep) and finally calmed down only after much soothing from mommy. When daddy woke up and wanted some attention from her, she wouldn’t allow it and screamed and cried for about 15 minutes while I finished making dinner and kept myself from intervening (it wasn’t easy, but had to be done).

We had homemade pizza, pears, and spinach salad for dinner—none of which she would eat. I gave her an open faced cheese sandwich and some pears (all diced into tiny pieces—the “baby bites” which she insists on). She ate a few bites of sandwich and massacred the rest, and refused to touch the pears. After making a huge mess of her food and then throwing it on the floor, I had had it. I gave her hand a hard slap and whisked her away to her bed for time out.

I was instantly remorseful after slapping her hand. It was not the first time I had done it, but every other time it was pretty mild and she thought it was funny. This time I wasn’t in the mood to be laughed at, so I made sure she felt it. She sure did, and produced enough tears to let me know it. Seeing Sally cry because I caused her pain was not a pleasant experience.

Whether or not it was my hand slapping or the fact that her stomach was full of milk (the one thing I can count on to get her calories), she was much, much nicer after her brief time out. Thankfully the pizza pan needed a good scouring, which helped me relieve some of my frustration, and we both got along fine for the rest of the evening (not to say there weren’t any more tantrums—there were a few minor ones).

I hope that this is what the terrible twos are like. Because if her behavior gets much worse, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Sally is generally a well-behaved child (those of you who see her in the last 20 minutes of sacrament meeting may not agree), and that is probably why her recent behavior modifications are so devastating and frustrating to me. She usually minds very well, but lately she ignores me. For the past year she has been a very picky eater, but lately she is worse and makes my life miserable at meal times. She has always been determined and preferred things a certain way, but lately if she doesn’t get what she wants she throws a tantrum.

The most frustrating thing about Sally’s picky eating is that she is inconsistent. One day she will love a food, and the next day she’ll spit it out/refuse to eat it. This mostly applies to fruit. Several times lately I’ve served her pears and she refuses to touch them. After I force a bite into her mouth she realizes how good they are, eats her whole serving, and asks for more. Not tonight. The same is true for bananas—some days she loves them, other days she won’t touch them. She won’t even allow strawberries into her mouth. Last night I gave her some pineapple (fresh, delicious, sweet pineapple) and she loved it (after I shoved a piece in her mouth), but the sight of pineapple on her plate at lunch was the major cause of her lunchtime tantrums today.

I was a picky eater as a child, but at least I was consistent and would eat at least some foods from each food group. Each day with Sally is a test of my creativity—to see how I can get her to eat something other than dairy and carbs.

If anyone out there has any pointers for me, please pass them along. Bribes don’t work with Sally, so that one is out. I’ve recently tried bribing her, but she only hears the reward part and ignores the condition, and then throws a tantrum because she wants the reward. Just tonight I told her that if she ate some fruit (and I gave her the option of a banana when she refused her pears) then we would go and get an ice cream cone. What did she do? She knocked her pear on the floor, refused the banana, and continually demanded ice cream. Of course she didn’t get any, but I wished I hadn’t even mentioned it.

I’m sure I’ll live to see the end of this phase, and it probably seems worse to me at this moment than it really is (like I said, it is the end of a long week in which I’ve been sick and haven’t gotten much sleep). As long as the worst thing I do when I lose my patience it slap my child on the hand, I think we’ll both be okay.

I feel much better already.

Before I go, a quick note about my blogging philosophy: I realize that many of my posts may be boring, long, and uninteresting to many of you, but I’m blogging for me, not for you. Blogging is the way that I get myself to keep a journal, so while I try to not post anything that is not worthy of peoples’ time, I may occasionally publish something like this—a venting session that is long and full of detail that only I truly care about.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh Boy!

Sonogram results are in: I'm having a boy, and he is expected to arrive February 12, 2010. Neal and I are both really excited, although I must admit I'm kind of intimidated by the thought of a boy in a family of so many girls (meaning the Dickson family).

The little guy was so excited for everyone to know his identity, he made determining his gender a breeze. Sounds like my kind of kid--cooperative and not too shy. I can't wait for him to arrive! I'm 16.5 weeks along at this point, so only 23.5 to go!