Someone said my kids were bright and way ahead of the bunch in terms of development. I don't really know about that but I must admit that they do have a head start on the Terrible Twos and every time I hear a whine or a cry, I feel something in me bubble.
I'm supposed to be equipped to deal with it because I understand that discipline is about teaching and correcting rather than punishing. I also know that the way around a tantrum is to distract. So, I'm set. Supposedly.
But in reality, when Baby J insists on whining instead of asking, it drives me crazy. She has developed a whine, even at a young age of 22 months. She uses it for everything. Wrong pair of shoes. Garter on her pants constricting her. She is gesturing at something but we give her something else in mistake. At the same time, she snatches and grabs things from her brother. And this at the risk of getting her hair yanked out from the roots.
And yanked out they will because the Terrible Twos have also descended upon Evan. It affects him differently though. Not so proned to whining, more proned to aggressive outburts, barely concealed rage and occasional displays of violence which manifest in the hair pulling incidents, balled up fists and feet stamping as well as angry hurling of cups, blocks, spoons and anything else within his reach while in a rage.
What do I do?
I put J in a corner till she stops her incessant weeping. When she realises no one is paying attention to her. It works. But only when no one else interferes. That's the problem with disciplining and living with grandparents and great-grandparents. Some one very nicely told me that their role in a child's life was to bless them. Yes, bless them not spoil them but that line is blurry at best and faced with a weepy grand-daughter with big fat tears running down her face, their soft hearts go out to her and they pick her up or worse yet, they give in to her.
With Evan, I do the same thing. I leave him to yell out and chuck his fit because I believe he needs to get it out and I'm not about to teach him to suppress it and suffer the consequences next time. Occasionally, if he works himself into too big a fit, I hold on to him and hug him tight and for some reason, that seems to calm him down. But usually, once he gets it out of his system, he will come looking for some sort of comfort. The only problem is when he takes his anger out on his sister.
Often she deserves what he dishes out to her because she started it. The problem is what the outsider sees is a boy yanking a girl's hair and the boy automatically gets yelled at and punished and the girl gets comforted. The first time that happened, even though he is only 22 months, Evan had, what I swear was a "HEY, NOT FAIR!" look and was plainly indignant. He seems to accept his punishment if Jordan is reprimanded too for taking whatever it is from him. He is even more mollified if she returns offending item but that usually doesn't happen.
All this takes a lot of deep breaths and a lot of restraint and patience. On my part. By the end of the day, it takes all of me and some of Packrat, to not yell at them and tell them to shut up and lose it. On the occasion that I have, I have felt guilty and bad for taking it out on children who are barely rational and do not really understand the implications of their actions. Right now, to them, their brand of barely established logic runs a long the lines of "want-make it happen (action)-get".
And it is exhausting. I sometimes try to hide from it. But I know, I need to intervene because they need me more than ever to draw the boundaries for them and that is a responsibility I'm not willing to cede to anyone else.
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