Look at Samuel in this picture. Look at that face. That's pretty much the face I've seen 24/7 for the past 3 weeks. Fun times...
Sam will turn 3 next month, and 3 is 'the age.' Whoever said that the two's were terrible spoke way too soon. Two is a piece of cake compared to three's. I'm can say this for certain being on round 3 of the three's.
With his new found abilities to express his anger (via hitting, kicking, throwing, yelling, spitting..) Sam and I have been going round and round over the past month. I knew it was coming, but I just don't think I was quite prepared enough to deal with it. It was like one night I carried my sweet, snuggly, loving two year old to bed, and the next morning my bear of an almost three year old emerged from the same covers.
Fit throwing time was anytime his eyes were open. Things to be angry over ranged from his socks not being on just right to being told 'no.' Don't even get me started on saying he can't eat candy at 8:00am. The neighbors probably thought we had some type of toddler torture device over here each time we had to hold him down to brush his teeth. He also decided to fight me on nap and bedtimes - which is not a battle I've ever really struggled much with him. Can I tell you how exhausting it is to fight with a determined toddler at 9:00pm when you've been fighting with him ALL DAY LONG? Well.. it is very exhausting.
This is the point in which someone practicing attachment parenting might be ready to throw in the towel. To say, "That's it! I quit! This gentle crap isn't working! Where's my belt?!"
I know this because it's my exact thought process when times get tough like this. As I've said in past posts, I've absolutely gotten to the point with my kids (almost ALWAYS at THIS age) that I feel like what I'm doing isn't working, and I hope that at least the shock of a smack on the rear will get them to listen... and it never has worked. How frustrating!
So, I've avoided posting about our discipline struggles with Sammy Sam because I had hope we'd come out of it soon. Finally, we're coasting back down to a more normal Samuel. We stuck it out, we did what we said we'd do, and we didn't let him run the show around here... victory is so sweet!
He has spent more time sitting in the hallway most days than doing anything else... but finally it worked. Now he can start to throw something because he's angry and I just say, "throw that, and you're in the hall," and he'll usually put it down and say, "I not throwing!" (and then he gets the reminder that yelling at mommy also gets him a time out.) Sometimes he definitely still pushes our buttons, almost as if asking, "oh yeah? Are you really going to make me sit in time out?" Umm.. yes child... you are really going - AGAIN.
I tend to try to avoid punishment if I can and use more natural consequences.. but with this type of behavior I, personally, feel that punishment fits the crime. If simply taking the toy away that he's hitting his brother with doesn't stop the hitting, then a time-out is happening immediately. There's been a few times that his brother has turned around and hit him back - and I just tell Samuel "if you hit kids, they'll probably hit you back. Leave him alone." No one is really in trouble, Sam got what was coming to him, and Carter was simply defending himself against his little brother. Natural consequences are often times much more harsh than any we as parents could come up with in situations like that.
Thankfully the past few days have been much more blissful. If I keep his little brain very engaged then he does great. Boredom is what is kicking off any of his remaining outbursts. It's great to be enjoying my little man again! I missed his happy faces!