Friday, September 9, 2016

Ugh to Parenting

Guess what guys! The daycare was closed this week, and I was #blessedbeyondmeasure to be able to stay at home with 2 kids by myself all week. If you can't see the sarcasm in that last sentence, you are not a parent. Thursday afternoon I was prepping dinner, baby in Exersaucer and Everett doing...God knows...I should probably check on that...he was chasing the dog with scissors. Life is good. This was the exact moment I knew I was ready to go back to work.

The week could have been worse. We have been working on Everett's temper tantrums and they seem to be getting better. And by better I mean less frequent, but when they do happen they can be out of control. They always end with plenty of hugs and kisses, but getting there is sometimes trying. Meanwhile, the baby just laughs when he flies off the handle. I guess it can look funny when the rage isn't directed at you. I promise he's the sweetest kid out there, but he's still a toddler, and toddlers are kind of the worst.

Honestly, our biggest struggle is keeping him engaged. He gets bored very easily, and this is when he starts getting naughty. His mind is very technical, so having him channel energy into productive activities is key. Watercolors are a big hit, as is being in the backyard digging. Running around at the park can work, but it takes a lot of convincing to get him settled once that activity is over. I'm considering Legos (Duplos), but I don't know if the mess is worth it.

I have also found that giving him freedom to make more choices in his daily life has been key: he can go outside and play with his digger if he comes in for lunch after 10 minutes. And communication is so important with him, so I have to remind him that he can always play outside after a nap if he still wants. We also let him pick out all his clothes, pick out one or two toys to bring on car rides, choose one small activity for the day, give him 2 options for lunch and let him choose, and we let him pick the dinner menu once a week.

I am thinking of developing an incentive program. We have had some success with a positive reinforcement technique using the timer. We set the timer for 20 minutes. If he is a good listener and doesn't throw any fits, he can have a gummy bear when the timer goes off. Then we set the timer again for 30 minutes doing the same thing. After this, we set it for 40 minutes. He generally forgets about gummy bears and timers by this point, and he is conditioned to good behavior (like a dog with a bell). It works well, but I'm not sure bribing with candy is the best method. I wish toddlers weren't so hard!

Anyway, my 6-day weekend was good. We visited the firehouse, picked apples at Greenbluff, went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a fun crafting project together, harvested and canned lots from the garden, visited Grandma, took walks/runs, went to a birthday party, took a city bus ride, had time at the park, visited a friend's new baby, and did story time at the library. Good week, but I'm ready for a break from toddlers for a bit.

And this week's public mega-tantrum? Everett wanted everything Bob Ross from Hobby Lobby, and he wanted the whole store to know about it.

Meanwhile, this one was a complete angel all week long. Seriously, she's the best baby.

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