Thank you all for the further food for thought. I think I either need to accept bedtime bear, and be calm and happy about it - or if I can't...then be prepared to follow through somehow. Since she generally lets me go still within a reasonable amount of time (5-10 mins max) - and I don't have to do other things, like rub her back for hours, sing songs, or sleep in her cot with her!! maybe I should count my blessings and just work on my own emotional temperature and responses to things.
Any tips for that? Keeping my cool when my life is just a big slice of stress-pie at the moment?
First off, you absolutely can't fight her on all of the rituals and routines - that's very age appropriate and she will grow out of it. If there is one thing in particular you really can't stand, you can try distracting her a bit with something different, but it will probably lead to a new ritual to replace it. I think that remembering that we don't need to micromanage things can make a huge impact on our own psyche as well as theirs. There is no reason why some of our "jobs" can't be turned into play-like adventures. It's a lot more motivating for the kids, and it can relieve some of the pressure we feel to have to have things done a "certain" way. Kids couldn't care less about our schedules and why should they? They have their own agenda and their instincts require them to follow it - and that is right now to learn how to live in and manipulate the world around them, and that very much includes pushing boundaries. (And yes, the more you "give in" to the "last time" not actually being the last time, the more she is going to need to test it. If something really *is* the last time, use that phrase, but if it's not, then try to avoid saying it. Otherwise, like you said, it won't really mean anything.)
Secondly, the bolded part about you being stressed; my son absolutely reflects my stress levels. I think most of the time he "acts out" is actually him just not knowing how to respond to my stress. When he was a baby I really didn't need a lot of "me" time to reduce stress, but as he has transitioned into the "testing boundaries" phase, I need a lot more time to myself. Just to reduce my levels of stress because it is mentally exhausting to have to think like a two year old and negotiate on their level and always be a few steps ahead so that you can avoid problems. If you can find ways to try to reduce your own stress levels about things, I guarantee that you will see at least some improvement in her behavior.
Hopefully you get things figured out!!
Mommy to DS born 11-10-10 And DD born 6-3-13
I have an update for this thread and issue.
I wish the problem had been solved in some gentle way by ME - but it seems my headstrong daughter has taken matters into her own hands. (Perhaps the friction and bad dynamics of it all has gotten to her too?)
Anyway - we had an incident during a daytime nap yesterday. She got a toy with a small loop on it's head (the kind of loop you don't bother cutting off...because it seems to small to be a danger). She got it stuck on her wrist - didn't have her nap because she had a silly tiger stuck to her the whole time. She didn't call out or get upset at all...but instead played with all her cot toys (of which there are a few, but smallish). When I got her up, she asked me to remove them all and put them on a shelf. When questioned carefully, she insisted she didn't want them in her bed anymore.
I left bear in the bed, but she was all: "No. Put bear on the shelf too. I don't cuddle him anymore....I don't want him in bed." (She has two other fave toys at the mo that get the bed cuddles).
To cut a long story short. I asked her what we were going to do at night time. No bear to sit up etc. She replied that we could just do kisses and say goodnight.
Me, ever the cynic - was all ready to reinstate bear at the last moment - but NO - it went as she said it would. First night in MONTHS and MONTHS - just simple cuddles, kisses, and then a nice loving goodnight.
No silly games. No stressed out mummy.
Not only this - but one of my other niggles was her having a bottle of milk AFTER she cleans her teeth in the bath. (The best I could ever do was get her to rinse her mouth with some water after the milk). I've been foreshadowing changing this routine for ages. Mentioning it to her daily. Perhaps she got sick of hearing about it, or perhaps she got sick of the water rinsing.
Last night she decided on her own that she would have the bottle downstairs, after dinner, but before her bath - so she could clean her teeth.
No milk for stories, and whilst she automatically reached out for it...she was fine doing it differently.
I don't know what the moral of the story is....maybe, not to panic - as things will change anyway over time?
I'm feeling very grateful at the moment that she has singlehandly eliminated one of the most stressful moments of my day. That stupid bear was killing me. Hopefully I'm not speaking too soon, and all goes well today too.
Thank you sweetheart.
May all your decisions be so timely and wise! (ha! as if!)
Love it. I do think the moral is things will always change! AND if you have a child of a certain kind, and you respectfully let them know what you also need and expect... then maybe they will decide when they are ready. And hopefully she will stick with that decision! When my kids have made decisions like that for themselves, they generally do mean it and stick with it. Glad to hear the new turn of events!
I sooooo hear you, and I am sure my mother did as well. Only one child of mine has a "lovey" and it is for sure a pain. My mother "forgot" my lovey at a play date when I was two, and I am still irked about it (just about the fact that she really did throw away something that I clearly loved) and I remember being mad and hurt about why we couldn't just go and get it for years later--we lived in the same town.
Anyway, I know it was a hard slog. Now your kiddo can grow up and not remember anything about this time, and definitely won't be fixated for life on where their special lovey is. Even if this new pattern only lasts a short bit, you are doing good work with your child.
My grandparents once threw away something I really loved....have never forgotten that either! Funny creatures...kids.
Bear used to be the toy-of-choice. Now he is rejected. In his place are two toys she recently chose for herself at a toyshop. Both cheaper and nastier than the bear...but, who am I to argue against a fake-fur penguin and a now-very-squashed and grubby caterpillar?
I should add one thing that I remembered after I posted my (her) success.
Which is that the two days prior to the BIG change, I had threatened (I did do it very gently...no shouting or anything) to remove bear from the bed altogether because of the silliness. I said this maybe on about three different bedtimes. It had the instant result of her just wanting him sat up for the last time (and it was) - i.e. curtailing the whole process....then, maybe she thought about it - thought to herself somehow that the whole rigmarole was just not worth the hassle? I will never know her exact thought processes, but we're four days into it now....sailing along all happy at bedtimes (kinda - well, much happier in that regard anyway) it seems the change has stuck. Hurrah!
I also got my first ever spontaneous "I love you mummy" that first night - and this now happens at every bedtime!! Woohoo! Who knew that would take nearly 3 years?
Now all we've got to sort out a little bit is her dropping her daytime naps (have another thread on this) - but am giving up hope a little on this one. Boo hoo.
That, and general behaviour, which has gone very toddlery and out-of-control-defiant of late. So, ha ha, I guess we swapped a nicer bedtime, for all the other annoying things! Damn!