Had such an eventful week where the grandparents came to visit with us. We did the touristy thing where we took them to street fairs, had a trip to Legoland, checked out Seaport Village, went out for yogurt, checked out the malls, and even went to visit the famous BBQ place in town. All of this would have been that much more amazing…had my folks not been FROM this town initially before moving north. Haha! Regardless, it’s new to do all of these things with their grand kids.
It was a treat this time for them to see their oldest grand child entering in to Kindergarten. She has a new-found love for Legos and really enjoyed building these 800+ piece sets with her “G-Pa” and “G-Ma” as the kids call them. Watching my parents patience level at an all-time high was a little unusual for me, I guess it’s true what they say, the relationship between grand parents and grand children is truly unique and special. They also got to witness Sebastian and how much his vocabulary has increased in 4 months. Now speaking in full sentences and repeating words with more than six syllables. This little two year old continued to make us laugh with his dance moves and his antics.
However. He’s two… and there were several fits along the way for no reason whatsoever. I mean, there were reasons, but they were not really good reasons to cry (are they ever when we’re talking about toddlers?). He knew that he had attention, he knew that there were multiple people around, so naturally, he is seeing what he can get away with. I’ve come to the conclusion that children will act up more around their grandparents/people with high levels of patience.
It’s a struggle for us because while I am all for discipline, I don’t want to be spanking my kids all day long or punishing them over things we can just talk about. Didn’t that bother you as a child? When your parent would yell or spank you over something that.. Hey Mom, can’t we just have a conversation about this? It puts my husband and I in a bind occasionally when it comes to raising our own kids, especially since we know they are able to understand us. However, this does make for a tough time when the child’s will to get their way is stronger than your will to get yours. At times I cave in and think, “ohhh it’s just a little ice cream.” Or, “Well, it’s just one more cartoon they wanna watch.” I forget that the point is that I said NO initially, and the child isn’t taking that seriously. It confuses them when you change your mind as a parent, so really, you cannot get mad at them for trying. The trick is to really hold firm to your rules and to stand your ground when they are tested. Since we fail to do this from time to time, naturally, the kids will act up.
Case in point: cotton candy at the street fair. Sebastian is going through a phase where he wants his OWN everything. He wants to hold his own ice cream cup, he wants to make his own yogurt, he wants HIS OWN Leap Pad and his own games. This is not completely our fault, in fact, I kinda blame his sister. She didn’t want to share with him for so long and even with constant correction would tell him (when she thought we weren’t looking) “This is mine Seb! Get your own!” Do you know how much cotton candy they give out in those bags? Enough. I wanted them to split a bag. Seb didn’t want to split. Tough. We split it and placed his in a separate bag. He knew it was split and insisted we buy him his own bag because we took some out to give to Amelia. Absolutely not. And if you complain again, you can’t have any. Oh, that did it. He didn’t stop crying and pouting for 20 minutes. In public.
When your child is throwing a tantrum like this in public, you have several options as a parent. You can carry them off to a dark corner and handle it. You can bring them to the car and have a stern chat with them. Or you can let them cry and look like a crazy person there in front of everyone. I weighed the situation and chose the latter. There were 6 of us, I wasn’t going to hold up anyone’s day, the car was 8 blocks away, and you know what? There were no dark corners. It’s also tough to really mother your kids these days in public with all these other parents around waiting to call CPS or judge you for raising your voice to a child. Seriously. Let parents do their jobs. Let them parent, mind your own business unless it’s clear child abuse. This time though we were just in awe over this little kid with Batman face paint wailing in the marketplace over… not wanting to share. So I let him. People walked by and chuckled, it was hard not to because Batman doesn’t cry, and it looked too cute. Sadness looks cute to some people I guess. Many parents came up to me and said, “ohhh they really cry for anything at that age”, as if that was some sort of comfort. After about twenty minutes.. his crocodile tears were barely falling any more, and as his mouth was open and wailing I popped in a piece of cotton candy. Initially he wanted to cry a little more, until he tasted that goodness. It started melting on his tongue and he couldn’t help but enjoy it. Do you want more, Seb? He nodded, “Yes mama…” Will you stop crying? “Yes mama…”
After he was happily eating cotton candy, I knelt down next to him and asked him why he was crying. “I just wanted my own Mama.” I said, I understand that Seb. But some times you cannot have your own, some times there is only one. Do you understand that? Then he tells me, “so can you buy me another one?” -_- That’s not the point Sebastian. The point is Mommy said share, so next time I tell you to share, can you just listen to me? He nodded. Whether he does this again or not, I have to at least explain this to him the first time. If he acted up again over something else, the next step will be to not budge and not give him any, in fact, I will eat his share right in front of him. This is what I wanted to do in the first place but thought the wailing would increase and, well, it’s kinda mean. A two year old would just interpret that as his mommy being mean.
Does this method make me mother of the year? No. Not an award I ever aspire for. It was really just a situation you roll your eyes to. Keeps my blood pressure low. There are times when you really have to take action and reprimand.. but there are so many cases where it’s just not necessary. If we were at a restaurant and he was doing this? Different story, I would have taken him out, and I have in the past. But a loud street fair where only the people in your immediate 4 foot radius will notice? Shoulder shrug is all you’re gonna get from me. Okay, maybe an eye roll and a couple irritated looks.
All I am saying is that I’m continually learning. I grew up where the rules were strict, too strict at times, and being fearful of my parents didn’t make me trust them. I don’t want my children to flinch when I approach them thinking, “uh oh, am I gonna get pinched?” There’s also that saying, “know thyself.” I know that when I am angry and irritated, I don’t make the best decisions. I also say things I regret later on that day. I am still constantly learning, and that’s okay. You do what works in your household. Jeff and I just don’t want to be bringing out spanking paddles unless it’s ABSOLUTELY necessary and dire that they never do ___ ever again. Every situation is different. I also prefer that the father takes on the discipline, but realistically it’s me who is home all day with the kids. By the time Jeff comes home, chances are I’ve already gotten over what I was upset about, and wouldn’t want the kids to be in trouble. Choose your battles. Choose your fights. Choose positive outcomes in where they will not only LEARN but they will not fear you.
Can other moms relate to this back and forth debate I constantly have with myself in my head? Anyhow, here are some snaps from the day <3
From Batman to Sadman in a matter of minutes.
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