DD1 is 4 and has been cooped up in the house for 2 days with us (DD2 is 2 and DD3 is 7mo) because of snow. while i had some fun activities and the occasional pbs show she was obviously bored and it really was too cold to go out for very long (12F atm). so she pretty much been following me around the house as i do stuff, telling me all about how i'm doing things wrong. at first i tried to explain each thing but it quickly turned into "mmhm but i like to do it this way". i was putting a lot of energy into my explanations but she was't relenting so i had just switched to acknowledging her complaint instead.
this was the best one of all however:
I do a workout tape every weekday and she never gets to see me do it because she is usually in preschool. I usually do it while the younger ones are sleeping so i don't accidentally kick a child. this time though, DD3 was awake and wanted to be held so I held her for part of the workout. this meant that when the nice lady on the screen wanted me to do arm movements, i couldn't because the baby was in my arms. DD1 starts:
"mama, you're supposed to wave your arms like this"
"mama, move your arms like she says"
"can't, i'm holding your sister" (meanwhile, the baby is shrieking in joy, from being bounced around)
"mama, use your arms"
I stop, look at her and say
"I know i'm supposed to, but I can't right now, I'm holding the baby" and I resume
this is where she absolutely melted down, crying with deep sobs, couldn't even talk for a few because I was doing it *wrong*
tell me, oh wise mamas, how do you deal with the all knowing child? i suspect that i just need to take each situation as it comes.
how do you make them feel good about themselves but at the same time not let them walk all over you? i know that I myself am worn out, these three don't give me much time to recharge, and that's part of why it is getting to me that i'm so 'wrong' all the time. not just that but the endless explanations of what she is doing and the narrations and 'why?'.. i'm losing patience and that's not what our relationship needs.
4 year olds are intense. how do i handle the intensity?
I wish I knew! I've been telling dd a lot lately that she can not get upset with me for not reading her mind. If she wanted to do something a certain way and doesn't communicate that, and then I go do it the "wrong" way, she'll freak out. I think it might be starting to sink in a little. This afternoon she chose some cheddar bunnies for a snack. She got out the box and then went to the bathroom. I put a handful of them on the counter for her while she was gone, and when she came back she lost it. SHE wanted to take them out of the box the way she wanted them and my pile of bunnies was some sort of personal affront or something. She started to shove them away when I stopped her arm from going any further and reminded her that she is can't get upset about this--it's not fair to me if she doesn't tell me what she's thinking and then gets angry because I didn't know what she was thinking. I told her she could eat the bunnies I gave her or none at all and then ignored her wailing for the minute or two it took her to pull it together and eat her snack.
We have several interactions like this a day. Some get under control before she falls apart, but there are plenty that aren't. It IS exhausting! Another thing I find I've been saying a lot is "you don't get to make that decision" or "you don't get to tell everyone else what to do."
I can't believe I just logged on and this is the first post I saw! I am so glad I am not alone and that, perhaps, my daughter is not crazy (though soon I may be)!!!
Today we had a great day. My daughter danced at a mall to a local musician. We had lunch out together. We came home and played that she is Dora and I'm Kai Lan. We were a good hour into our pretend play when she said Dora wanted to draw a house. We took turns adding parts of the house. All was well until I drew a chiminey and my daughter lost it! She started yelling at me that she didn't like that chiminey and started completely melting down!
Later when she calmed down we talked about how next time she could say she doesn't like it and suggest we start again instead of losing it. We are having a lot of these kinds of situations lately. She will be 4 next week.
I have no idea what to recommend. I just wanted you to know you are not alone!
Yes, it does feel better to know this is common. Some age this is! (Though I say that about every age.)
She's also had a few meltdowns in preschool and always for the most random things - when she doesn't get the pink scissors or when her broken red chair was replaced by a new blue one. I feel bad for her teacher, she's got more than one 4 year old to deal with at a time!
I try now to prevent any things before they happen. On the way to school we talk about colors. I offer snacks and water and remind her to use the bathroom (gah, that's another one -- why do they hold it for so long!), and most importantly, I try not to let her get too bored. I did some reorganization and now have short crafty things she can do, playdoh, lacing stuff, etc. Especially while dinner is being prepared! Worst time of the day for everyone's tempers.