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Never mind - Page 3

post #41 of 285
OP, I know you've been getting a lot of book recommendations, so I hate to throw yet another one at you, but ...have you read Raising Your Spirited Child? I'm about halfway through and have found it very helpful in understanding DS.
post #42 of 285
Thread Starter 
Okay, took another step back and honestly, my child is really not that spirited compared to other threes I know. I *know* this. So I am going to speak with a counselor about negativity. I posted a rant about DH recently... Came out way more negative than necessary. So I think the key to my attitude is going to be looking at why I'm feeling how I am. She really is sweet, just... argh. LOL!

Oh, and things are going okay. I think what triggers me is when she says something rude and I feel it's already out there, I can't let this escape because it's just SO unacceptable, but after-the-fact stuff is punishment and ultimately ineffective because as a punishment it's not severe, and as a "calm down time" it's totally useless (even if I am calm and detached). So I feel I really am letting it go. I must somehow make her understand that you can NOT do that to people.

The thing is she understands it's bad. She also understands that I'm her mom and I have to take it because I can't hurt her back because that's wrong. I can put her in time-out, yes, but obviously that doesn't bother her that much. KWIM? It's just so frustrating.
post #43 of 285
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
...

The thing is she understands it's bad. She also understands that I'm her mom and I have to take it because I can't hurt her back because that's wrong. I can put her in time-out, yes, but obviously that doesn't bother her that much. KWIM? It's just so frustrating.
I think you're onto something there. Esp with your DH away so much, it has to be hard on her. Could she be feeling (btw DH away and new baby) a little unsettled? So she knows that arguing wears you down, and she's trying to find her limit with you? Maybe it's comforting her to know that no matter how annoying she is, you're not going anywhere, but she's doing her best to "make sure." (You mentioned earlier that she's like this with people she feels "safe" with, too.) Just a thought...

Also, I think working on your feelings and reactions is a great plan! You can't change her behavior, but you sure can change how you feel/deal about/with it.

My son used to be a little like this, only instead of arguing, he wanted to hit. Someone here suggested that we designate a "hitting time" where he is allowed to hit me in play. Then when he hits at random times, I can tell him, "It's not time to hit. Please xyz." Then after he does whatever and we have a couple of minutes, or he seems to need to let a little extra energy out, I tell him, "It's hitting time!" and I'm prepared for it, and he can get it all out of his system.

Maybe something like that with arguing will work? "DD, it's time to argue! Let's argue a little and then it's time to brush teeth." And she can say "no" and you can say, "That was fun! Time to brush! No? Are we still arguing?"

I know, it's still exhausting, but if you can find something that works even a little, it just that much less exhausting!
post #44 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I dunno, she's not hard in some ways, but she is just sooooo argumentative. Argh. She sleeps well after I go through a sleep routine that takes an hour even though it's three simple steps: jammies, teeth, story, sleep. I mean for crying out loud.
Having emerged from the bedroom from putting my DD to bed 2.5 hours after entering it (so after pjs and teeth) I don't consider 1 hour to be worth pulling your hair out over
In answer to your original question, yes in a way. I've had times where I've let my DD know that I have no desire to fight with her about anything and will instead just wait until she is ready.
post #45 of 285
I have to say I am exhausted just reading your posts! I have a similar dd who is now 6.5 and I have said before, despite my career in child development and parent education BEFORE she was born, 3.5 nearly did.me.in.
And I had a very supportive dh and no other children. So I can't even imagine the difficulties...
I would say that you seem to be developing a good plan and evolving perspective that will improve things -(as will time) I will reiterate the previous suggestions though to give her the outlet for the drama and arguing in some playful way - I KNOW how exhausting it is to incorporate those challenges in to a million little daily exchanges but perhaps 15-20 minutes daily of some focused challenging pretend play/drama - I hear you when you say you aren't playful - I'm not either and DD LOVES to have me "make 'em talk" (animals, barbies whatever) and there is nothing I hate more - I do find it easier tho if I am trying to apply some larger therapeutic goal to the task - which is where the book Playful parenting really is valuable - even if you're not the playful type...it has some good info on connecting and feeling powerful that could help you regardless of your playfulness

You may not enjoy the playful time -but it has the potential to pay off in less arguments throughout the day...You may even want to role play the very issues that she fights over (teeth) - and see if fighting over it through dolls doesn't help?

I was just thinking that my dd values the argument above all else - it's the drama and intensity above the actual item du jour that she seeks, and it's tough to be sure, even at 6.5 - but nothing like 3, so hang in there -
post #46 of 285
Thread Starter 
"despite my career in child development and parent education BEFORE she was born"

I have to tell you, every day-care provider thinks she has the most difficult kids. I can't help but wonder if this is because child development professionals always see kids when they are at work, ready to work, and when the kids are on their best behavior (yes, even the most difficult kids are on their best behavior at day-care or school, it's amazing).

Or perhaps God gives you all the tough ones because you can manage?

My daughter NEVER argues with her teachers. Never follows them bugging.

That said, I do want to say that though she has a very type-A personality she's well within the range of normal. :sheepish: I guess it's me with a low tolerance?

I am glad to hear it gets better. I know that, I do. Even having a plan has helped immensely. I have a lot of issues when we're in public.

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Having emerged from the bedroom from putting my DD to bed 2.5 hours after entering it (so after pjs and teeth) I don't consider 1 hour to be worth pulling your hair out over
We have different abilities to remain sane and tolerate mess in the house. It's not the time spent with her, it's that I need that after-bed time so I can think, declutter, clean, prepare for the day. It seems fine to say "let things go" but in reality, when I do that out of necessity, it takes a mere 48 hours of minimal cleaning to get to squalor, real squalor, like the baby finds rotten food on the floor. I am all alone in this, don't know if you are, but 2.5 hours per kid per night is not going to happen.

Also, though it IS the time, even if it weren't, it would be the principle of the thing. The longer it takes, the more tired she is, because she doesn't need a long routine. She needs a firm routine and she wants to stay awake. She stays awake by arguing, challenging. To a certain extent that is fine! But at some point, she has to brush her teeth (really, I'm not doing rotten teeth, we don't have the money for that even though we have gov. health care it's not 100% free). Plus, what about sister?

I know my child is not the most challenging in the world. I cannot IMAGINE a 2.5 hour bedtime after so long of working so hard to get it manageable so we can have normal lives (pre-school, park, decent food, bills paid, etc.), just so that DD can win six thousand arguments before she totally conks out.

Incidentally, we did try that once. Letting her talk it out.

She went down at one a.m. and was up at seven the next morning. Haha!

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Could she be feeling (btw DH away and new baby) a little unsettled? So she knows that arguing wears you down, and she's trying to find her limit with you? Maybe it's comforting her to know that no matter how annoying she is, you're not going anywhere, but she's doing her best to "make sure." (You mentioned earlier that she's like this with people she feels "safe" with, too.) Just a thought...
Yes, you know, he's gone so much I always underestimate the effect on her.

The baby isn't new... she's 15 months. LOL! Luckily I've started earlier with her in terms of setting limits. Gentle, kind, non-punitive limits, but limits. (Okay, I do set her down if she hits, and I do pat her to sleep alone because the prospect of nursing a 1.5 year old to sleep during the first trimester again is intolerable... she's not night-weaned but we're working on it.) I am hoooooping that I will develop more confident habits with her.

:cantlook: It's not going to happen, I know, she's going to be worse than her sister. Aaaaahhhhhhh....
post #47 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

Maybe something like that with arguing will work? "DD, it's time to argue! Let's argue a little and then it's time to brush teeth." And she can say "no" and you can say, "That was fun! Time to brush! No? Are we still arguing?"

I know, it's still exhausting, but if you can find something that works even a little, it just that much less exhausting!
This is great!!

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Originally Posted by bonamarq View Post
perhaps 15-20 minutes daily of some focused challenging pretend play/drama - I hear you when you say you aren't playful - I'm not either and DD LOVES to have me "make 'em talk" (animals, barbies whatever) and there is nothing I hate more - I do find it easier tho if I am trying to apply some larger therapeutic goal to the task - which is where the book
and this. Very focused on her, letting her take the lead, maybe even just commenting on what she is doing/playing until she "invites" you to join her.
post #48 of 285
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASusan View Post
This is great!!



and this. Very focused on her, letting her take the lead, maybe even just commenting on what she is doing/playing until she "invites" you to join her.
We actually do do arguing several times a day. We play "no it's mine!" in which we pretend to fight over something. We do stuff "the silly way" in which pretend to do it wrong and she corrects me and argues about it.

It's not enough for her. She corrects me for being not silly enough.

I mean, please, somebody else tell me that would be enough to make you scream?

Today we played mommy-baby kitties at naptime. I thought, she loves to imagine. We'll just...

I should have known to stop at "just" and be the strict naptime fascist I usually am (you will stay in bed, you can do it yourself or I'll make you), but as I'm always trying to be more gentle, I went for it. Sigh. I will just say it threw off our routine by an hour as she had to test everything all over again, and argue.

In "meow" language.

Yeah.

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DD LOVES to have me "make 'em talk" (animals, barbies whatever) and there is nothing I hate more - I do find it easier tho if I am trying to apply some larger therapeutic goal to the task
I do do that. She loves it. I don't find it helps with anything, though, because as soon as she hears my ideas creeping in, "Gosh, I'm tired", says dolly, she rejects the game. D'oh!
post #49 of 285
Thread Starter 
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You ask your child to do something and you wait, as if you're waiting for the bus. The key is to not get flustered and upset. You act as if they're going to do it, and you have got all the time in the world to do it.
Lynn, I just saw this.

It highlights probably the source of a lot of problems.

I am the WORST about the bus. I am so impatient. It just better not be late, is all I can say. I don't say anything about it, but I get upset and I know it's irrational, but I do. It is something about myself I want to change.

So maybe that is also something to think about. I mean, "be patient" I knew, but thinking about how much I hate myself at bus stops, might be a more vivid reminder to do that.
post #50 of 285
There's a lot of good advice and support in this thread! I've been reading over the last couple of days and here's a few random thoughts/ideas. I have two kids who are very, ahem, spirited.

I wonder if her verbal abilities actually outstrip her emotional and self-control, and so while she seems to be in charge of herself she's actually not. Verbal 3 year olds are tricky like that.

Have you considered melatonin for bedtime? If you can all get back on track for sleep you may all have more reserves to take on the every day of living.

Another suggestion is to watch the Dog Whisperer. Really. Cesar Milan provides a great model of leadership, and leading by being first in control and aware of yourself. When my kids start to spin (whether it's arguing, crying, whatever), if I engage it all takes longer. When I lower my shoulders, centre myself and calmly deal with stuff, the whole thing moves along much more quickly. Kids (and dogs ) will follow your lead and your emotional tenor if you calmly take the lead.

Three year olds have developing prefrontal cortexes (the CEO of the brain), and while they can be bossy, demanding and fiercely independent, they're not always rational or in any way reasoned. I tend to believe that sometimes my kids need me to lend them my prefrontal cortex, and visualizing it this way helps me get into that calm, leadership role. How that looks is much like what a PP described in being calm and matter of fact. At first, it doesn't work in all situations - you are changing your whole dynamic with your child. The parent is practicing the role, and the child is practicing accepting the change in balance. Over time it shifts.

The other thing that really helped both of my kids at that age was a whole lot of empathy-while-carrying-on. So, "I can see that this bothers you, it must be very frustrating. Let's get your shoes on and go to the park." -- This did not work initially, but it was one of the building blocks of helping an independent, irrational, oppositional little person find a way to be ok with cooperating. DD in particular had to have a certain amount of battles of wills to meet whatever emotional need it met. Did I just type "had" - sorry "has" is more correct, as 11 makes 3 look like a piece of cake . In fact, DD describes it as having waves of strong emotions crashing over her, which makes me more patient with her and reminds me of when she was 3.
post #51 of 285
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
...

I mean, please, somebody else tell me that would be enough to make you scream?

...
Oh, yeah. And run screaming from the room. Believe me, I am NOT a playful person and can deal with far less than you are currently managing. I was hoping that the one little piece of advice someone had given me would help at lest a little, but in no way should you think that I've been reading this thread and denying we have anything in common!
post #52 of 285
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I should be more playful but the problem is I am not naturally playful at all. Like at. all. People would describe me as "intense" or "strong" or "serious". I get "serious" a lot. I'm sad to be the wrong mom for my child but I will try to be more playful.
It's okay not to be playful! I'm also very serious & intense, and I don't understand the Playful Parenting concept. Well, I understand it, I suppose, but it won't work for my personality without me being fake all the time.

I have walked away from many issues with DS. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. The constant, though, is that I don't feel stressed as much, which I think helps overall.
post #53 of 285
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Originally Posted by kayabrink View Post
...Just not bothering didn't work for us, because he would go out of his way to create new and innovative ways of beginning new battles. Never major ones, either, always about minor things but just one thing after the other continuously.
EdnaMarie, Based solely on what you have said about your DD in this thread it seems to me this tactic which you proposed in your OP would not work.

In fact your DD sounds SOOOOOO much like my niece. She loves to argue. DH and DS both love to argue too. I don't love to argue though I enjoy logic and reason and debate. I try not to argue, and when it COUNTS, I NEVER give in. This is hard, because sometimes you think "I told her it was bedtime, I now MUST stick to my guns" but in fact sometimes you need to admit you are being unreasonable and if you REALLY looked at it from an outsider's perspective you might think....hmmmmmmmmmmm, is this really that big a deal? or am I turning this into a bigger issue than it needs to be.

Does DD HAVE to wear shoes? Does she HAVE to eat dinner? Does she HAVE to have a nap (BTW, DS gave up naps at age 18 mos. Cold turkey, but more on that later)? Is it really a battle worth picking?

The best thing to do is to ask yourself..."What is MY need? What is HER need? What course of action could meet both our needs right now?" and then go with that, no matter what you may have previously "laid down" as the gauntlet. Stop. Rethink. Take a new approach. To use a military analogy, retreat, regroup and develop a new strategy to approach your civilian hosts (Note that DD is not the enemy in this analogy but rather the target civilians the soldiers would be there to protect, KWIM?)

When it is time for bed, and DS does not want to go to bed, I say "Well Benjamin it is time for bed, you do not have to sleep, but you have to be in your room and I am going to mine. I will see you in the morning. If you have a bad dream or you need me, let me know, but I'm going to my room. Goodnight." I turn off the TV and the house lights, and I go to bed. Everytime without fail he calls me for a story.

Ocassionally, especially if we have had a particularly combative day, I let him know how annoyed he has made me and I tell him that it is too late and I am not in the mood. Tomorrow he can make better choices and then I will be in the mood to read stories, but tonight I am too worn down and cranky so he will have to lay in bed alone or tell himself stories...goodnight. I love you!

And I go to my room.

He is usually very sad about his poor choices and I let him know that it is okay to cry and be sad, but we can't take back the things we did, we can only choose better choices tomorrow.

I started doing this when he was about 2.5. He started really getting the idea of choices and the consequences of those choices around the age of 4. Now I just sternly say: Choices! And he stops and thinks.

I'm just saying it gets better. It does.



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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Weird that there are moms of 5yos here. My child tends to exhibit "shadow" milestones a year or two before she actually reaches them. Perhaps this is that? (E.g. exhibited early letter / sound recognition then dropped it for a year and is now learning them more at a normal time, used perfect grammar early then stopped with proper tenses, did the whole "why" thing, dropped it for EIGHTEEN MONTHS and then started full-force right on target.) Though I don't find that encouraging, because that means I'm in for it even worse later. Ugh.
Not necessarily. With consistency and patience and persistence DS has slowly gotten better and better. It is still a challenge between he and his dad who takes every question as a sign of disrespect and challenging him, but he has grown to really be able to communicate his wants and needs so much more articulately. It really is a DELIGHT to see when they start to reach the other shore...I am guessing we'll be fully ashore just in time for puberty.
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I should be more playful but the problem is I am not naturally playful at all. Like at. all. People would describe me as "intense" or "strong" or "serious". I get "serious" a lot. I'm sad to be the wrong mom for my child but I will try to be more playful. Being playful takes 1000% of my energy, though, so though I will check it out, I don't foresee it being an answer to my problems. Sorry. I envy playful people. Maybe therapy could change me? However two counselors I have seen both told me my goal to be less serious, more playful and to have more of a sense of humor told me they'd never changed anyone's temperament before.
Baby steps. The best thing for me was to step back and realize how LITTLE time I have to enjoy them before they start not needing me anymore. DS is five now and he already wipes my kisses away and tells me my kisses don't work their magic on his cuts and sores anymore. It's just SO fast. Enjoy it while it lasts because soon they will be off and away and you'll wonder how it all went by so fast with very few memories of the good times to hold onto. If you see it as a challenge to YOURSELF, a puzzle to logic out, maybe that will help you.
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Last night she went to bed at midnight. No brushed teeth, nothing. This morning, didn't eat breakfast. The only thing I require is that I'm not giving into demands. She MUST treat me like a human.

Of course, she can always go hungry.

Sigh.
Of course, on the otherhand she is also a human being and she has a hard wired instinct to survive, so she won't go hungry, will she? Sometimes we think they need to eat, but they obviously don't...so let it go. Just leave it open and available for when they are hungry.

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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I dunno, she's not hard in some ways, but she is just sooooo argumentative. Argh. She sleeps well after I go through a sleep routine that takes an hour even though it's three simple steps: jammies, teeth, story, sleep. I mean for crying out loud.

I should mention that she went to bed late and didn't eat because I did not argue about it. It's like she thrives on arguments. If I argue with her for about 10 minutes, she does it just fine. Wheee. Because that's how I want to spend my life. She actually demands that I "do it the wrong way" so she can correct me. I mean WTH is that about?!? I have to do it two or three times before she can show me the right way. Otherwise--freak out. I mean, there is a fake argument while we do it but it's not a genuine tantrum.

Is she the only child who does that? Is that bizarre or what? Is that normal for three? Will it end or am I encouraging her by giving in? But if I don't have the fake argument, she starts a REAL argument, so anyway she gets her way. (!!!!) So how can I avoid an argument with someone who wants one?
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Mom2grrrls, until this week, when I totally gave up, it was "perfect" if I struggled: in bed by 7:15-30, stories until 7:45-8:00, asleep by 8:30. One nap between 12:30 and 3:00 not to exceed one hour.
A few things in these quotes:

1) My DS dropped his nap at about 18 months, much to the chagrin of his daycare providers. So we started putting him to bed at 6pm and lo and behold he would STILL sleep until 8am. EIGHT am. Then during our summer vacation when he was two we let him stay up later, we noticed that bedtime routines went from being on average 1 hour to on average TWO hours or MORE, and it was long and drawn out and moremoremore, not fair moremoremore....:explode So we moved bedtime back to 6pm. Dinner at four thirty, bath at 5pm, jammies, teeth, stories songs asleep by 6pm. Then DH and I had actual grown up time...HALLELUJIAH! It was totally life changing for us. Not always possible, because life interrupts our daily schedules, doesn't it. But when all was perfect and the stars aligned just so, it was PURE bliss.

2) one hour on bedtime is about right at this age. They need you. I know you are drained, but it IS normal. And no she is NOT the only one who does that. DS did that, and yes it is SO annoying especially when you have work to do, or ya know, an actual life to live. I discovered though that he was modelling his dad who CONSTANTLY corrected him. CONSTANTLY. He almost never let him just do things HIS way. There was ONE way to do the task, the right way. And DS was sort of role playing with me. I made the connection about a year too late and had a serious talk with DH who still does it from time to time but I have also given DS the way to politely ask his dad to back off (though he does forget and it can spiral into a HUGE blow out.) "Daddy, can I try to do it on my own please?"

DS also asks you to tell him a story and then pitches a fit if you don't follow the storyline he has IN HIS HEAD. I can't read your mind, dude! So now we do a sort of Choose your own adventure story with him stopping at every turn for him to make a decision in the plot. It definitely helps.

Also if she IS a true extrovert she literally does thrive on the heated energetic passionate communication with others. I swear dh and ds both could replace food and sleep with parties and debate clubs and thrive for longer than is natural.

3)You will not need to spend your life doing this. You don't even need to do it now. You can say to a 3 yo when she requests that you argue. "mmm Nah, Mommy doesn't like to argue. Go argue with your teddy bears while I get your sister to sleep, and then mommy can do something fun with you, whatever you want, okay?" Or suggest she call her daddy or Grandma or an aunt or uncle once a day to argue with them about something if they like to argue, too. They can pick topics the day before and you, being the "serious one", can help her research the topic, like which is the deadliest animal in the world, or why is the sky blue...whatever interests her.

This is an EXHAUSTING age...and did I read it right, are you also recently pregnant with Number 3?!?!!!! Good lord, if that's true...you are a super star for not just dropping your kid off at the door of the daycare and not coming back until bedtime. You must be exhaustion on legs.
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But I am so tired of the struggle. (Oh, she didn't want to do the dishes with me.) Maybe it's too much sleep for her, too much nutrition. Maybe she just needs to sleep less and eat less? Honestly, I don't know. I'm so through. Tonight I did ask if she planned to go to the dentist with me, since she wasn't brushing. She said yes, and I told her how upset the dentist would be, but that was her choice, I didn't mind. She brushed her teeth herself. She didn't want to go to bed herself but I had her do it.

She seems more relaxed. I guess the whole routine is too much stress for her. It makes me sad to think I can't provide for her basic needs and safety without screaming or going insane, though.
Oh my god. No wonder you are tired. It's not easy to fulfill a kids needs especially when they are in such total opposition to your own needs. You are a really good mama for even bothering to stop and get some perspective and ASK and TALK it out and SEEK help...so many moms just give up and resort to violence. It's tiring but you're almost to the otherside of toddlerhood...so close!

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Have you read "The Secret of Parenting" by Anthony Wolf? He's got a technique in there that I think he describes as "waiting for the bus". It's a bit like what you're doing, only with slightly different expectations. You ask your child to do something and you wait, as if you're waiting for the bus. The key is to not get flustered and upset. You act as if they're going to do it, and you have got all the time in the world to do it.

And I have to say, you sound very burnt out. It's hard to parent when you're at the end of the rope. How can you do some good self care so that you have more energy? Have you been taking care of yourself?

You may or may not continue doing the 'waiting for the bus' routine once you've got more energy. But it would be nice to have it be a decision that you've made based on what works, rather than a wholesale abdication out of pure exhaustion.
I have never read this, but you said you HATE waiting for the bus, EM, right? I hate waiting, too. I become the biggest baby in the world when I have to wait. I learned when I was about 25 to take a book with me EVERYWHERE. Whenever someone kept me waiting I would pull it out and read a few pages. I do a similar thing with ds (and dh who is really f-ing slow in getting ready for anything). I say "Okay when you're ready let me know. I'm gonna go read my book." and I go sit down and read my book. The first time (when he was about 3 ish) I got to read about five pages, the last time I had to do this I didn't even get to find the place where I had left off.

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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
A) We already did that for a year. Carrying certain things out when my child doesn't want to do them would literally require this. And I'm effing TIRED of physically forcing her EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's been a darn year. A year. Of forcing most of the time. I mean, we're talking holding her down around 10 times a day, just because I refuse to argue. I started when she was two because I, too, thought it had to sink in. Right? Right? Eventually, they will stop fighting... right?

(Okay, not ten times a day. Teeth brushing = 2, naptime = 1, bedtime = 1, my chore for carseat = 2 (in and out of), for a total of six times, about five days a week. And of course not all of those were "holding down"--some were carrying out, etc.)

But she didn't. So I tried more emotional manipulation. Rewards. Punishments. Anything.

If not after a year of consistent bedtimes, mealtimes, pre-school times, free time in the afternoon, shopping rules, then when?
Maybe this is coming up now because she's grown a little bit, and she's now simply too big for me to force anymore. B) I can't force her to stay in bed, as she shares a room with her baby sister. So the whole screaming while being forcibly held down is (a) not how I want her to learn to sleep, (b) cruel if it is not to any purpose at all, i.e. does not have the required result and (c) totally impractical because baby will wake up and then I'll have two screaming kids.

I appreciate the no-nonsense approach, I really, really do. It was my approach for health and safety issues for a freaking YEAR. But I just can't any more. It's not working (she has not learned to comply), I can't do it physically, and it makes me feel guilty because sometimes it causes her to drop to the floor or get scratched (you know, not like a deep scratch, just a white mark) by the carseat straps, or whatever.



C) There is absolutely no way I'm keeping her home from school. She has been begging to go to school for over a year (so, since before she turned 2.5), she has never wanted to stay home from school, not a single day, and she begs on a daily basis to go play with her friends. She loves it. I'm going to be honest that I have read chapters of HOtYK and I don't really agree with the underlying philosophy of it, though obviously some parts are useful.

Plus when we were home all the time, for two months before I could enroll her in stuff after our move, it didn't help one bit.


Yeah. She loves being the center of attention and doing her favorite things. GEnerally she's quite well behaved those times.

Sadly, I am married and have an infant as well. That prevents me from doing it her way 24/7 or even 1/7, really, because baby's always there.

Oh, and sometimes I just indulge her and argue with her. It really is her favorite thing, LOL. She will try to get her baby sister to do it. "Hey, take this toy. Then I'll say, 'No, it's mine'..."

Wondermomma, you are absolutely right and have her personality pegged to a "T". It does help somewhat... except I wonder if I can be that mom for her, and still have any soul left over.

I do use those tactics. I get sick of doing them (quite literally) three or four times an hour, for everything. EVERYTHING must be timed or gamed or manipulated (reverse psychology). Peeing. Buckling up. Unbuckling. Getting into bed. I admit that there are times when I (melancholic-phlegmatic / XNTP... sigh) just can't do it. How many peas can you eat? How many bites can you turn that sandwich into? Can you be quiet this whole song? I just don't think that way, so it takes 1000% of my mental energy to come up with a challenge every time. D) The more I do it, the more she wants it.

And then we have poop on the floor (baby, not her, thank God) and I'm ready to lose it.

And that's not sustainable for me as a human. I don't mind her arguing in theory, but I can't be that person for her. E) I feel like I'm being bullied. My husband has the exact same personality, so between the two of them sometimes I just want to scream.

I will try to think of a way I can be that person, to be that mom. F) As I said I've looked for counselors who will help me become more playful, more competitive, more cheerful. 24/7. Do you think cognitive behavior therapy could help?
A)It takes about four years. Between the age of 1.5 and 5.5 and then it needs constant upkeep from what I can tell and maintanence and effort and hrad work. CONSTANT. No one ever said having nice well behaved respectful wonderful children was going to be easy. I don't know anyone that has grown up kids they LIKE who thought it was easy to be a parent. Most of the books and experts agree it takes about four years. For some it will take longer than others.

B) maybe it is time to consider having DD2 sleep in your room. at least while DH is away?

C)I am confused by this...if she loves school so much why does she fight having to ride in a car seat? Has she not made the connection that school cannot happen without the car seat? Have you let her see the consequences of not letting you strp her in peacefully? Or perhaps another tactic, is it really too far to walk? Is there a closer pre-school? Do they have a bus pick up service you could use? Is her only need to start a fight with you or could there be something else? have you ever asked her after she was calm and you were calm, like over a sandwich in the kicthen why she fights it so much? I did this when DS suddenly was fighting his car seat and I found out that the material was irritating his skin on his arms, not enough to leave a rash but enough to annoy him, but he couldn't find the words to tell me that in the moment of me trying to strap him in...he was too worked up and flustered and his words would just GO. In a calm and happy moment he was able to find the words to tell me.

You have to remember that even the most fluent toddler is still only just a beginner level language student, so when the emotional filter is on a high setting with anger, excitement, or sadness etc the words disappear! Have you ever tried to speak a newish foreign language when you are flustered, like the Taxi took you to the wrong place or the waiter is trying to over charge you...instinctually even a adult will have a temper tantrum, and niceities like please and thank you...forget it. You're lucky if you get a coherent verb noun grouping. She's THREE. Melt downs and resistance happen for a reason.

D) that's the thing about kids. They want what they have ben been taught they deserve. So if she wants more and more and more it is not because she's not grateful, it's because she believes you when you tell her she's amazing and wonderful and great. It's kind of comforting to me to think of it this way and know that I haven't raised a kid who thinks he doesn't deserve more play. The way I handle this is to simply say "no more. I wish I could, I really really do, but mommy is all worn out tonight. I'll have more energy tomorrow and we can play again. I love you." and that's it. No. Lovingly and gently, I wish I COULD, but I cannot. He still begs me for more at 5+. It's totally normal.

E) Yeah, you are being bullied. And you are tired. And you deserve a break. The natural consequences of her picking fights all day with you would be that you do not want to be with her...but she needs to understand WHY. It might take her another two years to grasp it fully, but just keep reminding her "Mommy does not like to argue. Tomorrow if you make better choices and choose not to argue over every little thing, we can have a fun bed time together, but not tonight. Goodnight." And if she screams take DD2 to bed with you.

F) I do not think you need to change who you are to accomodate her. You seem a lot like me, wanting to solve the problem and apply logic and reasoning to a situation. Try approaching the problem in a puzzle format. What action can most readily meet her needs and mine? Maybe more puzzles on the computer could work to calm her down and drain all that energy. If she is extroverted, as I suspect she is, watching a video and playing a game on the computer might really help her to direct all that built up energy of her day amongst so many people into something educational and challenging. Screen time is not terrible if it helps to meet BOTH your needs. Don't dismiss it because you feel like a bad mom letting the computer entertain your kid. You shoudn't have to serve as friend, counselor, nurse, personal chef, teacher, walking encyclopedia, AND clown parade to your kids. Three out of seven on any given day is perfectly respectable.

Think effciency and logic. What actions will meet BOTH your needs most easily. Forget about what others think. What will make YOUR life easier and still leave you feeling good about meeting your child's needs. You don't need to change YOU at your core and suddenly be a playful happy go lucky extroverted mom...even if you could, how happy could you possibily be pretending you are something you're not...that will lead to burn out and snappishness faster than anything I can think of. As you said, it's not sustainable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Heartmama- Thanks so much.

I'm not alone. I have friends and I meet other friends at the park daily. I have nice neighbors. Baby doesn't care to be left at the babysitter but I do have one I can count on.

I have asked the teachers in a general way, as I always do, how she's doing, and they usually say she's great. She has always behaved for other people, but not for family. It's not only me: it's my mom, my husband, and anyone she feels comfortable with, like "aunties" or "uncles". Though, I should say, she certainly has good and bad days and frankly when I see her around other kids, she appears normal. She is fine interacting in a group. She is also fine when in a kid-targeted environment. I'm sorry to say that will not be my home until I'm divorced. It just won't be. No counseling, nothing will ever make it like that.
Are you getting a divorce? Wow. That can be awfully traumatic for a child. Perhaps she is testing you so much to make sure you aren't going to leave her. Fairly typical for kids dealing with separation anxiety. Otherwise...can you explain why a house with a 3 yo and 1.5 yo is not a kid-targeted environment or at the very least does not contain a kid-targeted SPACE? That seems rather hostile for a child to always have to exist in the world of untouchable grown up stuff. If it's their home, shouldn't they have a space to call theirs? Or am I misunderstanding completely?

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The problem is when it's just me, because I am only one person and I can't absorb all her energy, you know? She wants to play/fight/challenge 100% of the time.

That is fine when she's at the park with other kids her age; at pre-school with planned tasks; with me and I do not have to focus half my energy on something else (sister, food, etc.).

It's NOT fine during dinner, trying to get out of the house, talk to dad on the phone, etc. Because there is her sister whom I can't let fall down the stairs, and it makes every task into this absolutely abusrd battle.
Are you an introvert? I mean do you get your energy by being alone and quiet with your thoughts? Do you feel drained after too much time around other people? It sounds like your DD is the opposite, getting her energy from being with OTHERS. Hence why she comes home from school fully charged and ready to PLAY, while you having been with DD2 all day are ready for quiet and space. (and maybe she has figured out that making you mad at least makes you come alive and GIVE her something even if it's not what she really wants you to give) You need a break lady! When is your partner coming home? Can you find a way to maybe share a home with another mom or a sister, or your mom or SOMETHING?! Because you need a break. I need a break now and then, too. I am introverted to my core and DS and DH are both extreme extroverts, and the only thing that saves my sanity is BoowaKwala.com and a very early bed time. We have even had dinner as early as four pm when I was not in the mood to deal.

Quote:
I recognize that it's more of a mismatch than a problem of hers, per se. I really do think if she had a mom that could be playful all the time or laugh it off, she would do better. Or if she were the second or third child and could argue with brothers and sisters. It's this her-with-me that turns into her-against-me because I'm not able to plan other things for her to butt her head up against, that is the problem.

And I appreciate you ladies helping me work that out!

I think I am going to develop a plan like the following:

-Make it a game from the beginning (maybe a notecard with five or six "game" frameworks on it so I don't have to think every time?).
-Invite her to make it a game. Maybe she is just so used to arguing with me that she tries that, but if I keep asking her to do it, she will?
-If she doesn't comply or want to play, remember my 3-2-1-or-I-make-you and make sure I always have an "out" (like defensive driving, I need defensive parenting... make sure I always have a way to physically get to both of them even if this means... sigh... a 10% addition to our shopping budget as there are no stores in town with restrains that hold my kids. :P).
-Last case scenario, totally emotion-free time-out in her room (I called to get locks on the rooms... I know it sounds harsh, but believe me, if I have to stand there it will NOT help her calm down, plus I cannot maintain emotion-free with the baby and my husband on the phone etc.).
Whatever works. Do not give yourself a hard time. BUT...why the "I make you." I am not sure what you mean by this. I do not see myself being able to force my kids to do something. I cannot make ds brush his teeth, but I can put him in a safe headlock position so that I can do it for him (a light up tooth brush and a singing toothbrush have REALLY helped with this particular chore, FWIW) I never make him wear shoes. He got a finishing nail in the bottom of his foot once because he refused to wear shoes while running in the neighbor's driveway, and when that lesson wore off and he went shoeless again for a few weeks he stepped on a line of passing fire ants. Tough and painful lessons, but guess what? He wears shoes now. (I also got him pair of Crocs knock offs which are super comfy and slip on and off...so no ties or hassle or struggle, makes my life so much easier)

I guess my thinking is, apart from health and safety stuff like car seats and teeth brushing...let the rest go. Give yourself a break. I assure you there are no mother of the year awards, and you won't get any real thanks for enforcing what seem to them to be arbitrary rules until they have their own kids. That's a long time to wait when you can let natural consequences take their toll. Like DS refused to bathe for two weeks. He let me sponge him off, but no bath and forget hair washing. He was pretty grody. The kids at school called him stinky. Now he bathes every other day without any hassle. He used to boss his friends around while playing with them. They stopped coming over. Now he sometimes lets them have turns making up the rules...of course sometimes he prefers to just play alone and that's okay, too.

Just try not to sweat the small stuff and give yourself a break. You're all alone! You deserve a break.

Quote:
For "mouth", I need a plan. I'm sorry but ignoring doesn't work, and at the same time "mouth" happens when I really don't have a lot of options to isolate her. I don't want to feed the fire. Car, for example. RIght now I turn up the music really loud. I hate rewards charts because long-term incentives don't work and then once the incentive's gone (we have tried this) what are you left with?
What do you mean by mouth?

Quote:
That is what I do when I'm Good Me, but often I haven't slept, DH is bugging me (phone), or whatever. And then I go straight to, "Oh yes you will" and there we go. Or I slip up and ask her politely, as if she cares, LOL!
Why do you consider it slipping up to ask her politely. Upthread somewhere you interrupted a playful moment in a dialogue to remind her to speak politely to you, so why shouldn't you speak politely to her? Might help cement it in her mind the next time (okay more likely in three years) she is looking for the nice way to get you to play with her.

Quote:
And no, no breaks, but even when he wasn't military, I didn't get breaks. I don't know any moms in real life that get breaks, to be honest. Unless you count working a break! Except one who has a maid, but she is like, wayyy out of my league, income wise.

Okay, this is my last post for 24 hours... really. I have my plan and I'll implement it. I will let you know if I come up with magic for someone verbally abusing me. Sigh.
That is really sad. I get breaks. I demand them. I tell DS "I need a break. Please go play outside." "Can I have some quiet time please?" I tell DH "You need to take them away for a few hours, NOW! Before I bite the baby...NOW! Not tomorrow, not after the card game, not after you make this one call...NOW!"

You are a human being. You are overwhelmed. You need a break. In order to function...before you wind up in a facility for a nervous breakdown with your kids being taken care of by grandma.

There is no magic cure, but you can say to a three year old "I will not be spoken to that way." give them the appropriate words for telling the emotion/want/need to you and then shut down and ignore/remove yourself and the baby from her presence until she uses it. Works with grown ups too. I wish I had the wherewithal to remember that when my MIL was visiting last week, but nevermind.
post #54 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Lynn, I just saw this.

It highlights probably the source of a lot of problems.

I am the WORST about the bus. I am so impatient. It just better not be late, is all I can say. I don't say anything about it, but I get upset and I know it's irrational, but I do. It is something about myself I want to change.

So maybe that is also something to think about. I mean, "be patient" I knew, but thinking about how much I hate myself at bus stops, might be a more vivid reminder to do that.

Have you tried meditation? It really helps with this type of thing. The deal is, you've got to practice it regularly for it to work. Then when she sets you off, you can do some quick meditating.

Reality is that you'll have the most success changing your reaction, rather than trying to change her behavior.

When our kids were preschoolers, we needed to stay in the room with them while they fell asleep. At first, it drove me batty. I kept thinking of all the things that I should be doing, all the time that I was 'wasting' waiting for them to fall asleep.

At some point in time, I started bringing a book in. It then shifted from "I can't believe I'm still lying on the floor waiting for these kids to fall asleep" to a time where I could get a little reading done and relax. Nothing about the situation changed except my attitude. I'll confess to being glad that we don't have to do that any more, but once I changed how I viewed it, it wasn't that bad.

It sounds to me like her comments set you off. As a fairly argumentative person, I have to say that simply not engaging the argument is probably a good idea. Just remember that it takes two to argue. It's pretty boring to argue by yourself!

When my kids get like this, it also helps me to keep repeating the directive over and over again (as calmly as I can). If, despite all their arguments, they keep hearing "it's pajama time" eventually they stop giving the arguments.
post #55 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
When my kids get like this, it also helps me to keep repeating the directive over and over again (as calmly as I can). If, despite all their arguments, they keep hearing "it's pajama time" eventually they stop giving the arguments.
I do this to DS (and my students actually). Drives him nuts.

It's time to brush teeth.

But this is my favorite show.

It's time to brush teeth.

But I didn't have supper.

What a shame, It's time to brush teeth.

But I was going to read this book.

Hmmmm too bad. It's time to brush teeth.

But it's not fair.

Sorry you feel that way. It's time to brush teeth.

ad nauseum.

Sometimes I have to stop from laughing in his face at some of the truly absurd excuses that come out of his mouth.

Dude, brushy the teethy!
post #56 of 285
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
I do this to DS (and my students actually). Drives him nuts.

It's time to brush teeth.

But this is my favorite show.

It's time to brush teeth.

But I didn't have supper.

What a shame, It's time to brush teeth.

But I was going to read this book.

Hmmmm too bad. It's time to brush teeth.

But it's not fair.

Sorry you feel that way. It's time to brush teeth.

ad nauseum.

Sometimes I have to stop from laughing in his face at some of the truly absurd excuses that come out of his mouth.

Dude, brushy the teethy!
My record for the broken-record approach is about 20 minutes, I suppose. SHe repeats the same excuse over and over and laughs. Then she screams, "YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO ME! I'M SERIOUS!"

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I try not to argue, and when it COUNTS, I NEVER give in.
It always counts for us, so I never give in. Ever. I can't tell you how hard it is to deny your child something like a doll just because they didn't ask nicely. Because that will mean the next gazillion times (for years, she's like an elephant): "But that one time you..."

I should also say... I stopped reasoning with her about ten months ago, because I realized I was feeding a fire. I tried repetition, distraction, games, challenges, time-ins, time-outs, rewards, lost privileges, whatever.

It's easy to say "don't engage" but... if it's a health and safety issue and they HAVE to do it, there WILL be resistance. And that's my struggle. My difficult struggle. How to get her to brush teeth, stay in bed, whatever, if I can't argue, reward, punish, touch, coerce, incentivize, play, anything.

It doesn't take two to argue. SHe has the winning paradox:

"Argue with me."

Which is the right answer: Silence ("You're not listening!!! Mommy!"), Yes (Okay, you say...), or No (Yes!)?

Right now we're at silence.

However, ignoring my child for an hour or two a day was not my idea of gentle, loving discipline.

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Of course, on the otherhand she is also a human being and she has a hard wired instinct to survive, so she won't go hungry, will she? Sometimes we think they need to eat, but they obviously don't...so let it go. Just leave it open and available for when they are hungry.
Yeah, that's what I'm asking, can I just let her go and forget about it, screw her health? Six hours of sleep all week, no square meals? Tough luck.

Quote:
"mmm Nah, Mommy doesn't like to argue. Go argue with your teddy bears while I get your sister to sleep, and then mommy can do something fun with you, whatever you want, okay?"
Her answer: "NO-kay, haha!"

If that worked, I would have stopped posting here two years ago.

I mean, seriously? Just tell her my feelings and expectations in a quiet, loving way with an alternative for her?

Hahahahahahahahahah.... sob.
post #57 of 285
Thread Starter 
Quote:
.before you wind up in a facility for a nervous breakdown with your kids being taken care of by grandma.
I dream of this, not because I'd get to rest, but because I'd get revenge on her for all the crappy parenting advice she gave me. "Just listen to her..." "She needs another hug..." Another reward for yelling? Okay. Really? Maybe. She is so little, after all...

Which all resulted in her thinking that she ran the place. I still worry that if we hadn't lived with my mom for a short time a year ago, during which I was constantly told I was too harsh, and my mom made a show of always giving in because it wasn't "the big stuff... don't sweat the small stuff..." she wouldn't be this way.

I'd LOVE my mom to have to deal with this attitude now. Hah.

Not gonna happen, though. I wouldn't let her ruin them with her overt love and passive aggression. They'd be with my sister. We have a will, LOL.
post #58 of 285
Okay, just know you are NOT alone. Most of us with 5 year olds here giving advice are talking from the exact experience you are dealing with now. EXACTLY the same struggles and battles.

The tactics we offer up were practiced consistently and steadily as possible for YEARS, not once and magically POOF...YEARS of patience and meditation and grey-hair inducing fits of wanting to tear our hair out. And we STILL are fighting our way through with larger and larger patches of sunny in between the tempests.

We came from where you are now to where we are now, our children being no easier than yours, I assure you, and it really does take that long, and it really IS worth it. Keep the faith...but for your own sanity get someone to help you! You're only human.

It breaks my heart to read you say that EVERYTHING counts. That just can not be true. It can't be good for your state of mind to think like that. That is just WAY too much pressure for any one person to bear and is totally impossible to maintain! You must be ready to crack up!

It takes YEARS to instill values in a child. Rinse repeat ad nauseum. There's a reason why children don't start school until 5 or 6 and in many (IMO more) civilized countries as late as 7 or 8 and why they are not considered grown ups until 18, and in many places as old as 21. It takes THAT long for them to learn it...and often they then have to go out for the next ten years and totally mess up everything and re-learn it through their own experience. No one gets it right in an afternoon, or a week, or a YEAR, or even a decade. No one.
post #59 of 285
Thread Starter 
Oh, and I'll just spam my own thread, why not.

I know I sound tired and at the end of my rope. I am. Baby is still not sleeping through the night. DH is in training and not calling because DD doesn't want to talk to him. I know it's hard for her.

And it goes back and forth. We do have good days in which all the normal GD stuff works. But when she gets on that track... that defiance... then nothing works.

And it is SO hard for me to turn everything off and think, okay, she wins this one. I mean, I know she loses in the long-run and that it's not zero-sum but if I leave her alone she thinks she wins. No matter what, she gets her feedback, her positive feedback, that it was worth it. So do it again. She's unconsciously setting it up. I know she's not plotting, but I also know that she is incredibly emotionally attuned and her brain is always looking for ways to "win".

I think I will sign her up for all-day preschool for the school year if I can. We can't afford it but at least she can enjoy herself all day without feeling the overwhelming compulsion to challenge me because I'm not able to play a game with her while I'm broiling chicken. Maybe I will also get her tested for a behavioral disorder and get myself meds. (Meditation sounds nice... I really will try more often.)

Obviously when I'm getting suggestions that sound ridiculous to me it is not because they are ridiculous, it's because there is something wrong with ME or HER and I need to get out of denial and just admit it. All your suggestions are supposed to work and if they don't, something has to change.
post #60 of 285
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
Okay, just know you are NOT alone. Most of us with 5 year olds here giving advice are talking from the exact experience you are dealing with now. EXACTLY the same struggles and battles.

The tactics we offer up were practiced consistently and steadily as possible for YEARS, not once and magically POOF...YEARS of patience and meditation and grey-hair inducing fits of wanting to tear our hair out. And we STILL are fighting our way through with larger and larger patches of sunny in between the tempests.

We came from where you are now to where we are now, our children being no easier than yours, I assure you, and it really does take that long, and it really IS worth it. Keep the faith...but for your own sanity get someone to help you! You're only human.

It breaks my heart to read you say that EVERYTHING counts. That just can not be true. It can't be good for your state of mind to think like that. That is just WAY too much pressure for any one person to bear and is totally impossible to maintain! You must be ready to crack up!

It takes YEARS to instill values in a child. Rinse repeat ad nauseum. There's a reason why children don't start school until 5 or 6 and in many (IMO more) civilized countries as late as 7 or 8 and why they are not considered grown ups until 18, and in many places as old as 21. It takes THAT long for them to learn it...and often they then have to go out for the next ten years and totally mess up everything and re-learn it through their own experience. No one gets it right in an afternoon, or a week, or a YEAR, or even a decade. No one.
It does count. You don't know her. She remembers. SHe brings things up from months, even YEARS ago. "Remember that one time when we went to the zoo and you said I could have popcorn?" That was 15 months ago. FIFTEEN MONTHS. One popcorn decision and I'll suffer for years until I feel comfortable with popcorn with a baby.

And... I'm sorry, but is there a kid missing in your signature? I see two kids, one six and one around 6 mo?

Was there ever a time you had a newborn babe and a toddler at one time?

Quote:
No one gets it right in an afternoon, or a week, or a YEAR, or even a decade. No one
I don't have a decade to get her to bed. I don't have a year to get her to get in the carseat and put on her harness, or at least let me do it. I don't have a week to get her to obey the command, "Put her down!" (regarding toddler sister).

I have to be successful at these things or it's considered neglect.

And htat's why she challenges them. Amazingly, "Please and thank you" are easier. Why? Because it's not a big deal.

But if I let seat-buckles and sleep and food not be a big deal, it's neglect.

I lose. I try, she challenges. I don't try, she pushes the limit to the limit to the limit and she's not healthy or safe. No matter what, I lose.

She might grow out of it. She might not. Her dad never did!
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