I'm at my wits end. Again, actually. And I know it's all my(and DH's) fault. I really do.
When DS wants something, he hits, or throws stuff, or otherwise goes nuts. He does other damaging things on accident though too. DH gets bothered when DS does things on accident (like spilling milk or water or juice when he wants to pour it, or food when he's eating). I know it's an accident, and honestly, DH has his share of spills too. I get upset when DS breaks something or spills something because he's being careless, as in, going nuts, or not paying attention to what he's doing. I know I shouldn't, but it bothers me that he thinks its fine to run around the house, and that nothing bad will happen(i.e. he wont break anything).
Right now, he's sword fighting the air with a vacuum attachment. It puts me on edge and makes me nervous(because I expect it to go flying out of his hand and into my face at any moment) but I let him play with it because he does need to play and get energy out and whatnot.
Earlier today, he somehow knocked the entire vertical blinds rod thing for our sliding glass door off the window. Most of the blinds are messed up, and I'm still upset about it. Both because most of them are broken, and because this isn't the first time that he has messed with and broken blinds. Usually, he runs into them, or pulls on them, and they fall off. I'm tired of it. Today, he was twirling around in them, and pulled them hard enough for them to fall down.
Recently, he's also been spitting. On me, DH, on things (like the table). He also throws anything and everything. He hits you whenever he feels like it. These behaviors aren't limited to when he is upset. Maybe he's bored? But he does this even when we are playing with blocks, or reading a book, or playing with other toys. I'm tired of it, but I'm at a loss as to what I can do. I feel powerless. And I think it's ridiculous, because I'm his mother, and should, therefore be respected. (and I also know that it's a ridiculous notion to just expect respect from anyone...)
And all of this just keeps feeding on itself, I'm sure. Today, it's driven me nearly to tears. I think it's worse (for me) since we've been having a diaper-free day, and I couldn't leave him alone or he would pee, because I would forget to take him to the potty, or I wouldn't notice him start to pee. Today's low point was putting a diaper on him, and I told him he was acting like a baby(sitting on the coffee table, touching the tip of his urethra, because he knew he had to pee and he thinks its cool to put his hand in the way so the pee hits it, letting a few drops out, and then a puddle), so he had to wear a diaper. It was bad. I was upset and frustrated. I'm still upset in general about how the day has gone. Mostly because I'm sure he doesn't think anything of it. I think we both need a nap, really. Our sleep schedule has been so off lately, though he does still act nuts when his sleep is regular...
How do you respond when he does things that you've asked him not to do? For example, when he's twirling around in the blinds what do you say? What do you do?
He only twirls around in the blinds, meaning, plays with them, rarely. Usually, he accidentally, but on purpose, runs his riding car into them. So I tell him, be careful of the blinds, if you run the car into the blinds, we'll have to put the car away. then he does it again. then I tell him ok, if that's how we're going to play with the car, the car has to go away, and I put the car away in a room he can't get into, with him running after me trying to get it back(I'm walking, but I walk fast) and I remind him that he isn't allowed to run into the blinds, and if he is going to use the car to do that, the car has to go away for a while. Sometimes he'll bring the car into the kitchen, and run into me with it. The car gets put away in the same manner, usually because he runs into me in the kitchen.
BUT, by the time I've allowed him to run into the blinds, or into me, and I tell him that the car is going away, I am already on edge, because even though it consistently happens, I am astonished that he keeps on doing the same thing. So usually, there is frustration and yelling tones in my voice, even though I KNOW that being frustrated and yelling doesn't help, and that, strange enough, getting yelled at eggs him on.
Let's see, when he is actually playing in the blinds, I tell him "DS, we don't play in the blinds" he keeps playing. "DS! why are you still in there? Let GO!" cue dragging him out OR a blind falling off, or both, and DS being shocked and going "uh oh" because a blind fell off. Of course it fell off, it's about the 10th time this has happened.
I feel like it's my fault for yelling at him (well DH's too, or maybe more so, but the point is that I don't think it's completely DS's fault he acts this way) and that DS needs an outlet, though I don't know what that might be. Well, I would suppose it would be running around outside, but he refuses to ever come back inside once he goes out, making him only want to stay out longer when we do go out. The last time I took him out by myself, he clawed at my face. This was maybe on monday? And I still have the scratch marks, and it still hurts.
Back to the spitting, it's not only US who he spits on/around. The other day we were at an indoor playground, and he spit at a little girl who was looking at him(I suspect he thought she was wanting to ride on the toy he was on?)
Yesterday, when the whole blind thing came down, I was in the kitchen and didn't realize what that sound was(him in the blinds) until I heard the crash and went to the living room.
After I wrote the previous post, I waited for DH to come home, and I left to do some much needed shopping. As I'm leaving, I can see DH trying to fix the blinds, and DS looking like he's helping. He probably was helping, he likes to be helpful, and I encourage that, ask him to help me with things when I know he will probably be interested in it.
I'm usually able to control my anger/upset-ness, but some days, and these past couple of days/weeks it's been seeming like all the days, my temper has been very thin. And, hey, look, our sleep schedule has been messed up for the same past couple of weeks(more so these past couple of days). I think I need to get out by myself more often, because it really did help yesterday. Too bad I always fee too tired to get out :(
That sounds super frustrating. Are you into the "time out" thing? He loses the car, but still has access to the blinds unless he has to go somewhere else. Maybe a time out on the stairs away from "the scene of the crime"? Or is there a way to block off that part of the room entirely and just make it a non-issue?
About the spitting, that one sounds to be quite problematic. When he spit on the little girl what were the consequences? That's a serious one and in my book would get an immediate trip home.
The blinds are in the living room, there's really no way to keep him out of them. We put up some curtains, and that seems to be helping, he forgets that the blinds are there for the most part, though he's played in the curtains once, for like 5 seconds. But, it hasn't been a big problem.
I'm not a fan of time out, but it's become a sort of necessity. I don't do the "I'm mad at you/that was bad, so go into time out!" But one day, he was frustrated/acting out, and we do do a ok, let's take a moment and calm down. When he's acting out, I sometimes remember to ask him if he needs to calm down, then, if he can't control himself, I tell him he needs to go and calm down(there's a bench we use). I briefly tell him why he needs to calm down. Sometimes I'll sit with him, we'll read, or he'll read or play quietly. He will usually just go sit there himself when he needs to calm down if I remind him.
The spitting. He was with DH, I was in a store, they were playing. DH came in the store with DS mid tantrum, telling me he couldn't handle him anymore and if I was almost done. We left the store, and he was ok, so we went back to play(in an area without other kids). He started tantrum-ing again, so we left, and we told him we had to leave because he was acting up, and that we could come back another day when he wants to play calmly.
My one suggestion would be to do less talking and use more non-verbal methods of dealing with your son. I would stop reminding him about things like playing in the blinds (because, honestly, how often does he really listen when you say it?) and simply stop him, gently, but firmly, from doing the behaviors you don't like. (Which, if your anything like me, is usually what ends up happening after talking yourself blue in the face anyway.) It sounds like he's a pretty physical child, so maybe non-verbal "reminders" will work better with him than verbal. I also find that being non-verbal with this stuff helps me because I can be physically calm where I might have otherwise used a sharp tone or raised my voice or something else that just makes things worse. AND it helps me to feel like what I'm doing has a result, rather than just listening to my own ineffectual voice. Same thing with the tantrum at the store - just take him away. If he's having a tantrum, he's probably not going to hear a word you're saying until he's calmed down, but your calm, soothing physical presence may help him get through it.
I'm so sorry you are at your wits end. Children have a knack for finding our weaknesses and probing them until we are acutely aware of them. I try to use these weaknesses exposed by my daughter and try to make a better version of myself ... but it is no picnic and there are days that I just want to explode.
In general, though, I'm not a fan of time-outs or any other sort of punitive punishment. It may not sound like it but your son would perhaps benefit most with positive discipline. Tell him what he can do. Maybe try taking a vacation (mentally) from your current techniques and spend the day looking at the world from his perspective. Toddlers are becoming increasingly aware of others emotion and your reaction may be something he's trying to figure out ... so he repeats things that get a rise out of you.
It is much easier to be patient with a child when you understand what they are NOT capable of. Placing adult expectations on children is like a time bomb waiting to go off. Eventually they are going to disappoint. Spilling, pee incidents and curiosity in general about anything they see people get a rise out of is par for the course. But once you accept that these subjects are in progress it is easier to find the strength to cope with them in your daily routines.
In my opinion, the best thing you can do is take care of your needs so you can be present and patient with your son when he needs it most. The next time you find yourself on the brink stop and ask yourself "What do I need?". It can be as simple as a cup of coffee or as complex as a husband who listens. I strongly recommend getting in the habit of identifying YOUR needs in a situation so you can problem solve a way to get those needs met. As a mom it is easy to put off your needs to meet those of your child but in the long run your child will suffer far more from an unhappy parent.
Perhaps one of the greatest things I have learned from my daughter is her ability to state her needs and have them met so quickly. She's taught me a lot in that regard.