At least I think this is normal two year old behavior. We're struggling in several areas but in general she LOVES to push boundaries and laugh while doing so. When I am firm, she smiles and often continues her behavior. It is so maddening and it's hard not to take it personally. I remember when I was little and I wanted nothing more than to please my mommy (and my mom remembers me that way, too). So I feel so hurt when she does this to me over and over throughout the day. It's like every time I turn a corner I am met with resistance and it's exhausting. And then out of the blue she'll charm the pants off me and use very good manners at mealtime (Mommy you're good at cooking, I love this! and "May I please be excused?") and will brush her teeth, wash her hands nicely, etc. But currently it feels like more often than not, it takes an act of God for me to get her to comply (get dressed, put on shoes, brush teeth, change diaper, walk out the door, walk in the door, sit down, stand up...even when I am doing something fun like playing with slime on the floor and I say, "Come over and check out this ooey gooey cool stuff! Wanna play with me?!!" she runs in the other room and yells, "I'm running the other way, ha ha ha ha!" Clearly she is very purposely doing the opposite of what I want. I know she wants to sit down and have my attention and I know she wants to play with ooey gooey stuff. But, really? She'd sacrifice that just to assert some power and run the other way? Is this just terrible two's?
But here is the situation I came here with tonight...
She desperately wants to go pick up the milk with her daddy at the health food store once a week. (Our raw milk is delivered there). She loves the people there and really enjoys her special time with daddy and takes pride in carrying out the heavy gallon of milk all by herself. So we mentioned that it was time to get dressed so she could go with him and she ran away and hid under the table. We try to gently coax her out. Then, we just give her some time. Then dh and I casually talked about how fun the errand would be while within earshot of her. And then it's ultimatum time...because honestly, I needed a little break and I needed her to go with him so I could get to some basic chores that went undone all day. So I say, "You can walk to your room to get dressed or mommy will carry you. Do you want to walk?" She chooses to walk. Okay good. Then once placed on the changing table for a diaper change and stuff, she starts arching her back and rolling over (and laughing hysterically) as my husband is asking her to stop. She's kicking her legs and doing a pretend cry thing - just acting like a banshee. Everytime he gets a leg in the pant leg and starts on the other leg, the first leg comes out and he starts all over again. Then she starts crying for real and I say, "We're going to get dressed but if you keep screaming at daddy and kicking him, then you'll have to have some time in your crib." She carries on and I place her in her crib and walk out as she screams and cries. **she's had no sleeping issues and loves her crib, even chooses to lounge in there for an hour after she wakes in the morning. But she hates her crib during times like this. If you read to the end you might understand why I'm avoiding a big girl bed.**
I come in about 2 minutes later, bright and sunny. "Hi darlin'. Okay, it's time to get dressed. You ready to get going?" "Yes, mommy. I'm standing up. I'm ready!" So I go to get her and she plops down to where I can't reach her. I ask her to stand up and she does. As soon as I move my body towards her, she plops down again and laughs. My back is killing me and I don't even think I have the strength to pick her 36 lb body up while she's being that resisitant. I say, "Looks like you're not ready yet. I'll come back later to check and see if you're ready then." She screams and cries again.
Meanwhile, the damn store is gonna close and I am getting so angry because I have GOT to get some things done and we are out of milk! In times like these I've tried to just stop everything and hold her and talk to her and be super gentle. It doesn't make a difference and at some point I feel like no matter our appeoach, if we say it's time to get going...it's time to get going. I go back in and she stands up and lets me take her out. We get on the changing table to put her pants on and she starts to roll over again and laugh. When I place her back she starts flicking her legs (and not purposely, but is kicking me). I say, "Darn, you're still not ready to get dressed. Back in the crib you go." She's screaming bloody murder in the crib again. Daddy happens down the hallway past her room and she immediately stops screaming to say, "Hi Daddy." which indicated to me that she was not in fact dying despite sounding like it.
So the last time we get her out, she gets dressed, still pretty wiggly, but manageable and more what you'd expect from a 2yr old. DH reports that she was sweet and polite in the car. She loved going into the store and greeted everyone, she easily got into the car seat at the end. She burst into the front door saying, "Look mommy, I brought you some milk. I'll put it in the fridge for you!!" Clearly, she enjoyed the outing and needed to get out of the house. But, WHY oh why does she make it so difficult when she knows she loves going? Many of our outings start this way no matter how much prep we give her, no matter how much choice we offer, no matter how calm, fun or loving we are and no matter how fun the outing is going to be.
She's also the type of child who would just bolt from me in a store. Once when my mom was supposed to be holding her hand while I was helping my other dd, she just turned the other way and got back into the elevator we'd just exited. In a hospital...all alone on an elevator at age 2! Often she flops her arms to purposely get in my way while I'm trying to buckle her car seat belt. I know she's two and I'm an extremely patient person and I have tons of experience with children and even a degree in early childhood development! I should know what to do! She's so loving and so clever and sweet. But she is driving me CRAZY. And I don't know how to handle her boundary pushing or her downright defiant (and dangerous when in public) behavior. Any of you wise mommies have some advice?
Edited to add..I think I was afraid to ask when I first typed this, but...is my child just badly behaved? And (gulp) have I just been a dopey parent and somehow let her turn into this? Or does this sound kinda, sorta normal to you other moms?
Edited by Dot-to-Dot - 3/8/12 at 6:49pm