Thursday, May 01, 2008

Candy & Crackers

At about 4:30am this morning, I heard Bryce call out and kind of start to whine about something. Jason was in the shower and because I wanted to prevent him from waking up Caroline I hauled my self out of bed and went to his room to find out what in the world he was whining about. (Times like these I REALLY wish he'd let us close his door but that makes him freak out - at least Caroline has consented to a closed door again.) So I go in there, he's sitting up with his eyes open crying and whining. I asked him what was wrong and he says:

"I want candy and crackers."

WHAT? And he goes on to repeat it over and over.

"I want candy and crackers! I want candy and crackers!"

I told him we do not eat in the middle of the night and he could have a sip of water and that was it. I went to get it and he cried again for candy and crackers. Thankfully, the sip of water must have made him a little better because he only asked for candy and crackers one more time and then he laid down.

I'm telling you, this child has been so difficult lately and I blame it on his age and the allergy season. He had another stellar beginning to his meal last night where he refused to taste it and we began the same ritual of having him sit there until he did. Finally, he consented to eat a bite if I filled up the spoon, which I did and he ate it. Then all was well and he ate a yogurt.

He had another HUGE meltdown this morning over teethbrushing and he screamed all the way to Cathy's. I feel terrible bringing a screaming child into daycare, but fortunately Cathy and I see eye to eye on dealing with tantrums. Seeing he was not going to calm down for me, I sat him in a chair and told him he would sit there till he calmed down. Of course, I had to put him back about 5 more times and remind him he had to sit there and then I left. Cathy said he sat there for 15 more minutes screaming and then realized that everyone else was eating breakfast and not paying him any mind. So he stopped crying and told Cathy he was ready to eat and he's been fine ever since.

I'm coming to realize that a HUGE part of parenting is weathering your kids' storms. They have to understand that you will not give into a tantrum and that a tantrum does not phase you (even if it is killing you on the inside). I practiced this two other times this morning when Caroline wanted something and I wouldn't give in - she followed me around crying and yelling, but I ignored it and magically, she gave up and then proceeded to pick out her clothes, dress herself, and brush her teeth without any assistance or prompting. Clearly she's getting the message after realizing that mommy and daddy aren't going to give in.

Jay and I watched a very well timed Supernanny last night where an 8 and 11 year old were still throwing tantrums like little kids and hitting their mother. It was very clear to see that the kids continued to act this way b/c their parents always gave into them and it wasn't until the parents stopped that the behavior improved. It gave Jason and I the reminder that what we are doing is hard and having to listen to your kids scream, cry or just be angry is difficult, but it has to be done for them to understand there are limits. So I guess I should thank the Supernanny for the reminder of how important the work we are doing really is and that even if it doesn't always feel like it's working, being consistent will eventually pay off. I think we're finally starting to see it in Caroline since her tantrums generally don't last as long. Of course, I probably just jinxed myself on that one....


Christine said...

Go team mom and dad!!! Isn't it amazing when a real humdinger of a tantrum just fizzles out when they realize you aren't going to give in?

H. said...

I work with so many kids at school whose parents have not done what you and Jay are so diligently will see the benefits! Follow through is one of THE most important things you can do for children. Also, those natural and logical consequence...if Bryce chooses not to eat dinner, he'll be hungry--that sends a very clear message. I'm not saying its easy...I am sure when Gretchen gets older I'll be crying to you...but I know from the kids at work that those who have missed out on these parenting skills are *miserable* to deal with...and they are turning into miserable people.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever find out why he wanted candy and crackers? Was he dreaming? While it's not funny that you had to get up, it is a funny combination! :-)
That Brycey!!!!