mommyhood I can't tell you how much your long, well-thought-out reply means to me.
I don't know if you were searching for a post like that when you were going through your 'troubles'? - but everything you've written is exactly what I wanted to hear.
I hope you really are through it? Is all well now still?
What chimed most positively, was the part about it being a phase, and maybe there is nothing much we can do (within reason) to try and sort it all out, but instead we might have to ride it all out until the end. I have a strong feeling that this is the case here too. I'm hoping against hope that our 'phase' will be as shortlived as yours (though I don't know from your thread how long you'd been dealing with it before you posted?) Here we are about 3-4 weeks into the horrendousness.
'New' discipline ideas are just not working very well for us right now as she's almost never receptive to reason. So...aside from the bare basics (bed, food) - we are trying to hang back a bit from introducing a bunch of rules...though I'm keen to set some limits as soon as we can on some things though. Charts and things are such a helpful tool, it's just a matter of getting the time to make them. (Making things with her seems to turn to custard - she'll want to watch videos on the computer, or waste ink by printing google images out...then will throw a tantrum about something etc etc).
We do have better days sprinkled in with very bad. I think we're basically alternating days at this point. Maybe, maybe it is the beginning of the end?
Thanks so much for your list of ideas.
We are doing a 'ticket' system for video's. She gets four tickets a day, and usually, unfortunately, chooses to spend them all just after breakfast on four epepisodes of Curious George. This has two negative consequences: 1: That we are late doing anything in the morning, and she is also very grumpy after them, and doesn't want to go anywhere (e.g. preschool). Partner and I discuss whether to make 'morning tickets' and 'afternoon tickets' - but I think it would be confusing, and unfair now that we have already put the control into her hands. Partner disagrees, and fair enough, as it IS a problem. 2: She will then ask for more tickets all day, and has minor meltdowns when told she's run out...but so far we've only given in on a couple of days....out of pure desperation. Most days we can resist and distract...and she does understand the finality of 'No tickets left'.
With the 1-2-3 Magic - what is the basic idea? I've spent far too much money on parenting books of late.... (not sure any of them have helped!) - so if you'd be willing to summarise for me...? I'd be very, very grateful.
I love your ideas about planned activities. She's very reluctant to 'get her hands dirty' for some reason (literally and figuratively) and sometimes I think this makes preschool less interesting for her because she's not used to being creative and getting messy. I will think of some things to buy...like your wee list.
We are pretty consistent with routine - or rather we used to be. Eating has become a new struggle of late, with her refusing to sit down in her chair for meals....this affects the timing of everything. Ditto the bath refusal some nights.
We have managed to bring her sleep from a dismal 10.5 hours a day (unheard of before this madness) to 11.5 hours...better...but not 12.
My current theory is that she is going through a period of worrying about me disappearing or something.
It's undeniable that she is very clingy to me right now. A lot of the shouting is directed at Daddy, or at me to do something instead of him. She seems to be needing me to be constantly present for the smallest of tasks (eating, going outside...whatever)....which is a bummer for our preschool concept of course. I think I mentioned how she even wants me to hold her hand whilst she's eating (!?) sometimes. I just don't know where that is all coming from really. Either preschool separations have scared her...OR this is part of the 'development' phase.
She also insists I pick up a toy (or whatever) that is right in front of her. When I refuse...it sets her off forever...so I've been reframing it a little in my mind - as if she's testing to see if I'm still going to be there to help her...all the time, with anything and everything....as part of her current insecurity problem.
Ditto, multiple times a day, she will ask me to carry her from one spot to another - often in the same room!! Mostly I try to say no and ask her to walk herself...and of course this sets off a howl-storm of epic proportions. Almost always I give in and carry her and the toy and do it anyway...
I'm including this in my new theory (my theory only applies when I'm feeling generous about all this though) - i.e. she's worried I don't love her or I want to get rid of her or something, so is testing, testing, testing that at all times.
(Edit to add: The carrying thing is a big problem actually. I put my back out in August, and have had lots of problems ever since, including daily pins and needles and sciatica. I shouldn't be carrying her at all!! - I think she now weighs about 14.5 kilos. BUT...I cannot bear not to - the rage and the upset just goes on and on and on and ON. Plus I can't help thinking she simply just NEEDS it. It is another one of the things I keep thinking we'll deal with AFTER she has gone through this crazy period. She used to let her father lift her in and out of her cot...but he's not allowed now...but that's nothing to how many times I pick her up and carry her around during the day at the moment. Sigh.)
OR - maybe she is deliberately just pushing boundaries, in a more classically 'naughty' way - it really is very hard to tell.
I've talked to her about how I'll always be waiting for her at home etc. She does get it, but obviously not on some fundamental level. It's hard though as she really doesn't give me even a minute to myself throughout the day, unless we can persuade her to go out with her Daddy for a while (which, 3-4 weeks ago...she did most happily...as he's the big adventurer and takes her to exciting places like the beach).
He also used to take her to 'town' a day a week, and had been doing that for a couple of months at least, where they did the grocery shopping and went to a playground or such - and the last two weeks she has point-blank refused. One day they just came home after getting halfway there...kid having an incredible meltdown. My heart was a bit broken as it was 5-6 hours of freedom and relaxation for me...and I have NEVER gotten that much of a break before this started happening. 3-4 hours max it's been before the 'town' trips. That's all I've had over three years...just 3-4 hour breaks here and there. And now town trips aren't happening. Not only that, but he used to take her away for 2-3 hours every morning for a walk or to the beach..and she's started to refuse that too. It's all getting very depressing.
Luckily I don't have any work on for the next two months!! (I work from home...and need that time to do work).
With preschool - they have offered us lots of options....
I can stay with her for mornings only (a full day for us would go from 9.30 to 2.30 and they are not really allowed to do half days) for a few weeks and try separation again next year. OR, I can withdraw her. OR we can try the dump and cry approach - me not at all keen on that. OR...they also have a 'playgroup' on Monday mornings only...where the teachers are not there, and parents must attend, but it is set in the preschool. We are trying this tomorrow, in the hope that she'll start to feel more comfortable there...but also get the concept that the other days are parent-free.
Every day is still so unpredictable. I try not to let it all get me down...but I'm having a rough time trying to stay, or maintain any positivity. Partner is much better and keeps reminding me she won't be like this forever...but for me, another week would be forever, and too long - and then I fear that it will go on and on and on. I'm getting angrier more quickly than I was, because a lot of the time her behaviour is infuriating - she'll throw stuff...shout...cling...run around like a crazy person....etc.
But I should take heart from your post on that score...that it will pass.
It will pass.
It will pass.
It will pass.
Jolly well hope it does!!!
The only positive thought I try to cling on to, apart from the above, is that I read somewhere that when they go crazy (usually at their half birthdays), they are disassembling themselves (like a tower of blocks) - so they can add new skills (blocks) on. Instead of neatly adding them on top...they have to go through an entire personality destruction...before they can rebuild.
I'm just hoping that she starts rebuilding soon - before I lose the plot entirely. I am very close to it.
I also keep thinking I should just shower her with love, and love, and more and more love - but a) this is hard to do...she's not all that receptive, and b) I'm getting so wound up and cross that's it's doubly hard. I'm trying though....as per my theory. I want her to know that I love her, throughout all this...in spite of it all...whatever...whenever.
I have to go now as I can hear them coming back from their short walk.
There are many things I haven't gotten around to I think, and my post is a bit jumbled and rushed...but I've run out of time.
Thanks so much again for taking so much time!!
I really, really, appreciate it.
Edited by Grover - 11/9/13 at 6:07pm