Please help me and my just-turned-three-year-old. We are butting heads, and I want so desperately to stop, but somehow I can't. The two biggest issues involve her 9 month old twin sisters, so I will start with these, but they represent a general antagonism that is running through our days.
Purposely waking up the babies: she does this all the time. From going into their room, to talking really loud, to insisting I get her something when I'm nursing both babies. I have talked a lot (too much?) about how much better it is if the babies sleep, that then she and I can have alone time together, that we'll do something fun, that when the babies get up they will be rested and happy and we'll all enjoy ourselves more. Tonight I feel HORRIBLE. I was nursing both the babies and she was talking, asking silly questions. I said about five time that as soon as the babies were asleep, we'd take a nice shower, read a couple of books and then snuggle up in bed together. But she kept talking and woke them up, so while they fussed I gave her a quick bath, put her jammies on and put her in her bed with no book. (Dad is working tonight.) Oh, my heart aches, so I know I did the wrong thing, but isn't that a natural consequence? And what am I supposed to do with the two unhappy babies she just woke up? I told her that I would come and check on her as soon as the babies were asleep, and I did, but she was already asleep.
Taking toys from the babies: This is getting ridiculous. When the babies were little, I talked about how that wasn't nice, how just because she is bigger than someone doesn't mean she can do whatever she wants to them. But now that they are bigger and she is really making them mad, I'm losing patience. I started this (STUPID) policy this morning of every time she took a toy from a baby, I was going to take one of her toys and put it away. By afternoon, her room was about cleared out. Clearly, not effective. So I said, "Caroline, I'm going to go in your room and put all your toys back, because it is not kind to take things from people," and I wanted her to promise me that she would try to be nicer to her sisters about this. She promised, and while I was in her room putting her toys back, she took toys from the babies and got them both screaming mad. What is the natural consequence in this situation, other than the fact that *I* have to deal with two mad babies?
Caroline has always been incredibly opinionated, intense and persistent. Things are just getting more complex. How do you break these power-struggle cycles? I'm so stretched to my limit and this is wasting even more of our time and energy.
I know this is long, so thank you if you had the time to read all of this. Please, please any help would be so appreciated. My heart is breaking.