Monday, November 13, 2006

Losing It

You read my last post, yes? So you think our little boy is a saint? HA! You think I've got my mommy superpowers all lined up in a row? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAAHAHAHAAAA!

Raising one child was cake. I could focus entirely on his needs. Consistent discipling was a top priority. Now with Laurel in the mix, it's a whole different story. Let's fast forward to a current example of disciplining meltdown:

Ian's playing with his trucks, while Laurel and I decide it's nursing time. I get situated with Laurel on one end of the couch, using the soft, pillowy arm for support. She latches on. It is peaceful, with the occasional beeping and rumbling truck sounds from Ian.

A couple minutes pass, Ian knows something's up. He springs into action and heads our direction. He sees Laurel and I on the couch and knows...absolutely, positively knows that he is in the presence of MILK! I can see the gears turning in his head and try to distract him, "Hi, Ian! Are you playing with your trucks?"

"Mommy, I need milk and Teletubbies."

Not wanting to disturb Laurel, I simply state, "You can have milk in a few minutes."

"Mommy, I NEED milk and Teletubbies."

"Yes, you can have milk once Laurel is finished."

He looks at Laurel. "Laurel's all done. I NEED MILK AND TELETUBBIES!"

Trying to be sympathetic to his needs, I stroke his arm with my one free hand while cradling Laurel with the other so she won't roll off my lap. "Hey, bud, you can have milk in a few minutes. Why don't you play with your trucks or trains." I'm really hoping he can be distracted by his toys.

"NO! I NEED MILK AND TELETUBBIES!" With that exclamation, he decides to get up on the couch. He tries to squeeze between my body and the couch's arm. His efforts cause my body to jostle about, unlatching Laurel who consequently rips my nipple off in the process. I'm in pain and I can feel my body getting tense.

"Ian, you can sit on the couch, just go to the other side." He continues to push and squirm his way up.

"Ian, go to the other side!" My voice is starting to rise. Still he tries to push himself up onto the couch.

I decide to move to the other side. Laurel grabs my shirt and hair as I slide over. Once situated, I try to relax and Laurel begins nursing again. Ian is now up on the couch watching us from the opposite end. It's not long and he slides over to us and tries to squeeze his body between my back and the couch. "Ian, stop that!" my voice getting louder.

He continues his shenanigans, and I desperately yell out, "Ian, get down or you'll go to time out!"

The pushing and shoving continues. I hoist Laurel and I up again to move to the rocking chair where there is absolutely no room for Ian to try anything. He follows and decides to climb up into my lap with Laurel. "Ian, STOP THAT NOW!" I've lost it and my voice is shrill. Laurel is startled and begins to cry, soon followed by Ian.

I feel like a total heel. I cuddle and try to comfort both of them, wailing screams ring in both my ears. Once they both calm down, I go to the fridge, get Ian a sippy cup of milk, and turn on Teletubbies. He settles in and I am able to nurse Laurel once again.


Reliving this horrifies me. It is absolutely unacceptable for me to lose my temper with a two year old. I made so many mistakes, and I often think of how I should have done things differently. For example, knowing how much Ian loves milk (and it's not like he's asking for soda), I should have thought ahead to get him a cup to drink while Laurel was nursing. Just the milk would have pacified him, no TV necessary. Another big boo-boo, was threatening time out. There was no follow through, and unfortunately I've let that happen too often. I need to be consistent in order for it to work.

The good news, I am continually learning from my mistakes. And, thanks to the blogosphere, I read about others' dilemmas and find out what did and didn't work. Those of you out there sharing discipling problems, successes and techniques, I send you a humongous hug and thank you.

I'm a firm believer: It takes a village to raise a child.


Mary P. said...

I don't believe it's "absolutely unacceptable" to lose your temper with a two-year-old. What matters is how you express it, what you do with it. Negative emotions are a part of life, and Ian will be helped to learn to deal with them if he sees you dealing with them, too.

If you never let him see you angry, then you teach him that anger is always wrong, an emotion he is not allowed to feel. That's not true, nor is it healthy. There are times when anger is an appropriate response. When a child aggresses against me deliberately, I will let him/her see that this angers me (NOT, let me be clear, by frightening or bullying him/her). My response teaches the child that I will not tolerate being physically attacked, but it also shows the child that it is all right to refuse to be abused.

The trick is responding to the anger appropriately and using it to fuel something constructive. Anger is not always a negative, nor does it need to be destructive.

Anonymous said...

Ian's milk and teletubbies = my pepsi and oh yea, Beer. ; )

Mommy off the Record said...

I can totally see this happening to me someday when I have a second child. I have a quick temper so I'm sure I would have trouble keeping it under control in that situation too. I like your idea of thinking ahead, though, in order to prevent the situation from happening in the first place. That is probably the best strategy and I will keep it in mind for the future!

Tracey said...

I liked your ending. I gasped a little when you didn't time out and rewarded with the milk and the teletubbies; but your follow up thought was good. You have seen what can happen, now you can anticipate it and next time, maybe, before nursing Laurel just tell him "I'm going to start nursing, do you want something to drink and to watch television while I do so?" Get him settled and go! I have 17 and 14 year old sons, you learn to stay a step ahead, but lol you have to learn that, I don't think it comes naturally for anyone. :) Good luck and good post.

Elizabeth said...

Great story. Thank you for sharing your learning experiences.

Jennifer said...

You have no idea how much relief I've gotten from reading this. Although I'm so sorry that you, also, have to deal with this but it just seems that whenever I get myself in a feeding situation with my youngest then my 3-year old immediately needs something! It's insane! You're right, though. Anticipating it happening and being prepared is always the best...(sigh) just more to strive for when you've got little energy.

Good luck, and pls. keep sharing your insights! They're very helpful to mamas like me.

Pendullum said...

Takes a village and a big honking glass of wine...
wait that is afer you stop nursing....

Binkytown said...

You are not helping me with the whole two thing! I'm terrified! Not really, just dramatic. What you did is perfectly understandable. Sometimes mommas need to get their way too.

Freckle Face Girl said...

I don't think that you reacted so badly. It is perfectly ok to be human. :)

Damselfly said...

Huh, I might have done the same thing. I hate getting up while nursing, especially when my baby is in the zone.

Lady M said...

You had a lot to handle at once and did the best you could! Hang in there.

We're in for a tough few days. Q's been pretty sick, so we've been indulging him in his favorite foods (so that he'll eat) , favorite DVD (helped keep him calm and not coughing), and let him have a pacifier even when he wasn't napping. Now that he's healthier, it's going to be so *fun* adjusting those habits.

carrie said...

If I had a dollar for each time I settled in with a child and heard that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that someone else would need something, and lo and behold, it happens - well, I'd be too busy spending time on my private island with three nannies to read blogs!!!

You did the right thing, it sounds like he was trying to get your attention more than anything else. It wasn't really about the milk or Teletubbies but the fact that he wanted to see if Mommy would do what he wanted, so he didn't feel left out. I could be wrong, but it seems like that always happens while juggling more than one kid (or even with a singleton and you are focusing on something other than the child). Hang in there!!!


Knitting Maniac said...

Shoot, I would have opened the other side of my bra and told him to have at it.

But then, I go for the shock factor.

Seriously, though. Kids want and crave attention, and it doesn't matter whether that attention is positive or negative. They just want it. I don't think that you losing your temper is a defeat. It is a reminder that we, as mothers, have needs, too. Your need at that moment was to tend to your second child. He didn't want you to have that need, so the only way he knew how to deal with that situation was to be demanding.

We all have to do what is right for OUR child. Because I would have offered my other breast doesn't mean that is the right way to handle it, especially if he had been weaned a while ago, and depending on your viewpoint on extended nursing.

But the "need" wasn't the milk. It was the "need" to be noticed. And you handled yourself JUST fine.

Hey ... when you add a third in there, your motto becomes "if you hear screaming but don't see blood coming down the hallway, they will work it out amongst themselves."

Really ... it does get easier with time and age (of the child).

Jenny said...

Don't forget that an excellent lesson you can teach your child is that even you can lose it occassionally and that you have to work at being patient just like they do. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself whenever I lose it a little bit.