I had to come here and post a big thank you to everyone - I have been a long time lurker and short time poster, and wanted to give a little 'rah rah' to the GD way with a small success story of my own, based on advice I read here.
My 18-month-old started struggling after meals whenever I would go to clean him up before he could get out of the high chair (I usually give him one towel to wipe his tray himself and "clean himself up", and then I finish up).....he would flail and thrash, and hoot while I tried to fend off his blows and I start to get more and more aggravated and flustered...getting to a place inside I didn't like very much, blood pressure rising, etc....
Then, about a week ago for some reason a lightbulb went on and I remembered a piece of advice someone gave on a different issue, where they said instead of matching the frustrated child's intensity, go in the opposite direction - get down on their level and start whispering - it throws them off balance and they're so intent on figuring out what you're doing they forget about what was upsetting them...so the next time we were ready to clean up, I started getting aggravated just anticipating the struggle, but instead of standing over him and struggling with him to clean up, I squatted down, got really close to him and started whispering, "I know you hate this part, you want to do it all yourself..I just need to get in the nooks and crannies,..." etc. etc. and it WORKED! He was so fascinated by my whispering and acting kind of silly, that he stopped struggling and I was done in about 30 seconds. Now I do it every time - he gets his towel, does his thing, then I lean in, whispering about cleaning up and other silly stuff, and we're done in no time!
SO - THANK YOU!!!!! I am SO glad I found MDC and have gotten many wonderful ideas of how to handle challenging situations.