I came home from work the other day, and daddy informed me that he had to discipline you that day.
I said, “why?”
He said, “because he was being really, really bad.”
I said, “what does that mean, what did he do?”
He said, “I came out here, and he was writing in pen all over the ottoman.”
I said, “okay, so what do you mean you disciplined him?”
He said, “I sent him to his room.”
I said, “did he understand what that meant?”
He said, “Yeah, he did. He went to his room and sat on his bed crying. Then he came out and I said, ‘did I tell you you could come out yet? Go back in there.’ And he listened and went back in there.”
I said, “well, okay I guess, as long as you’re not physically punishing him, I guess I’m fine with it.”
Then the next day I guess you did something else or other, and he sent you to your room again. Sigh…
So yesterday, I get come from work and we sit in the rocking chair to nurse. You get into your testing-limits mood and hit me in the face. I latch you off and tell you not to hit mommy. You look like you’re debating whether to do it again. I offer you to hit the couch or hit your stuffed animals if you need to get some aggression out.
You hit me a few more times. Then - I knew I shouldn’t have done it - but I threatened you. The temptation was already there, and I succumbed to it. I said, “do you want me to send you to your room? Okay, then no hitting mommy.” You said, “yeaaaahhh,” the way you always do. You were smiling and swinging your leg while you leaned against the rocking chair. Daddy and I kept talking and then after almost a minute - or even two - you started crying and walked towards your room. I came after you to see where you were going, and you had climbed up on your bed.
I said, “Max, oh my goodness, you don’t have to go to your room…” Your dad and I were so baffled. On the one hand, it was hilarious - a completely delayed reaction to a question I had asked you two minutes ago. On the other hand, it was so sad. I wasn’t sending you to your room - I only threatened to send you to your room. Ah, sigh, I don’t want to be a parent who threatens, especially not over silly things.
Later that night, I was hanging up new dress pants I had bought so they wouldn’t get wrinkled. You wanted to put them on the hangar, but I said no because they needed to stay nice and pretty. You grabbed them, and then I reacted because I have an appointment next week and need my new pants not to be wrinkled. You wouldn’t let go, you started pulling them. I was holding your arm firmly and finally had to jerk the pants out of your hands. I hung them up, and when I came back you were crying. I said, it’s okay, it’s fine, I just needed to hang them up myself. You can do it next time.
You started to walk to your room and climb on your bed. I said, “no, no, sweetie, you don’t have to go to your room. Stay with mommy. Come here.”
Ten whole minutes later, we were getting your socks and shoes on so we could go meet your friends for pizza.
Out of nowhere you looked up at me and said, “Room?”
I said, “no honey, you don’t have to go to your room.”
You said, “mommy. new pants. grabbed ‘em.”
I said, “oh yes, that’s right. You grabbed mommy’s new pants. But that’s okay, I hung them up. They’re fine.”
And you asked again, “Room?”
I said, “no Max, seriously, you don’t have to go to your room. I’m not even mad. I just needed to hang them up. It’ no big deal, really.”
You said, “Room? Stay with mommy. Yeaaahhh.”
You’re too funny. But seriously, daddy and I agreed later that we (he) should reserve sending you to your room for rare instances. I probably would have been upset about the pen on the couch, too. I haven’t even looked at the stain yet, and it’s been three days. So obviously I’m not that upset about it. He was probably super frustrated in the heat of the moment - and probably worried that I would freak out about the stain. But no, we’re both fine.
We’ve been able to stave off the biting/hitting/testing limits phase for quite a while. Most of your friends have already gone though it, so I’ve been able to see how frustrating it can be for the parents. And yes, it’s frustrating for us now. But I always try to think - do you need a nap? did you miss your nap that day? are you hungry? do you need to go potty? are you tired? are you cooped up? have you been outside yet today? do you have food reactions going on that day?
More often than not, you get aggressive when I come home from work. I can imagine you don’t know how to express, “mommy I missed you, where were you, I’ve been waiting for you, why did you leave me?” Another big factor is when you haven’t had a nap. You’re still about 50/50 with naps. We had been doing pretty well on Thursdays and weekends, but I’m back to my regular schedule now.
Anyway, I know this phase will pass. Daddy and I have to learn ways to cope just as much as you do. We love you, and we’ve been lucky that we so rarely even need to discipline you. We read in the child-development email this week that children your age don’t understand what whining is yet but that you’ll start doing it … a lot. So behavior like that might be annoying for us (or other people at a restaurant), but it’s not about being “bad” or “good.” We know that it’s silly for us to take you to restaurants at the witching hour, but we keep doing it anyway. Oh well. This too shall pass…
- wunkie posted this