So my 20 month old twins have gradually turned into little personalities, with my Daughter (no, not my favourite contrary to popular belief, but great for entertainment value), is considered the bright, funny one (takes after me clearly) and my Son (AKA. Satan), is the naughty one who doesn’t pay attention to anything (takes after his Father). My dilemma with these two began a few weeks ago when my Son started bullying his twin Sister (whos very gentle and walks around kissing and hugging everyone… adorable really, even if I am bias). His bullying can vary from pushing her, to biting, shoving, taking all her toys (only to throw them aside the minute he takes them) and basically watching what she does all the time. They both have his n hers tricycles and instead of just using his one, he has insisted on taking hers (which is pink) and not letting her even get on the damn thing.
He also tries to take her now adopted Blue one and has been seen hiding both just so she can’t play with them. My daughter, bless her, even asks him if she can “sit” on the bike, patting the seat to see if her brother will say yes. His normal response is a lot of tears followed by a tantrum, by which point she can’t be bothered with all the drama and walks off. If she doesn’t like something, he will copy her. If she laughs, he laughs. OMG…the frustration of not being able to leave them alone for a second in case he hurts her is driving me insane.
Plus, his behaviour at nursery has taken a turn for the worse. For those of you who have experienced the joys of expensive Play-groups (also the Devils work in my opinion) run at your local school or nursery, will know how the morning pans out. First, theres about 15 minutes for “free play” (ie. play with whatever toy they have there & normally includes a fight between a couple of 17 month olds at some point), followed by arts, crafts, story telling, snacks and music. If I wasn’t pregnant, I swear I would have my nifty hip flask, filled to the brim with straight Vodka, hidden inside my skinny jeans…just to get through it all. Now my Son, recently re-named Satan for his charming antics at school, has been seen kicking & screaming (yes, me with my big pregnant belly & him look a right pair) as I’ve carried him down the school hallway, because he wont share a particular Toy Car which has become the bain of my life. Whenever I turn up for these damn play-groups, I see that green plastic car, that is big enough to fit a toddler in, and he makes a beeline for it. Once he’s sat inside that thing, NO ONE can get him out without a huge show of tears, screaming and hitting. He wont share it with any of the other kids and if he climbs out, only to see another child approach it, he runs right back to it and jumps in! When you try to get him out for “floor time” with the Teacher, he has what I can only describe as an emotional breakdown ….plus you can feel all the parents eyes on this little display, thinking, “hmmmm…. that poor cow”, while they smile sympathetically over at me.
Later that same day, while having his compulsory Gina Ford lunchtime nap… I was alerted to him shouting non stop from his cot. When I walked into his bedroom, what did I witness? My Son, Satan/I Houdini, had managed to not only get out of his zip up sleeping bag with has popper on the side (he has a habit of climbing out of his old ones so this was one of the stronger ones), and had taken his shitty nappy off, smearing it all over the cot, himself, the walls and pillow, Cuski etc etc etc. I think I let out something along the lines of “HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!” , then shouting to out Helper to get her arse into our room to witness Hell. I then handed her my ,now covered in shit son, while I dealt with the sheets…. if I was near him at this point, I think I would have lost it, so while she gave him a hose down, prison-style, I cleaned up his bedroom (gagging at the stench). What did I do that night and every nap time since this episode? I sellotaped that cheeky monkeys nappy on. Yes, that right…. I wrapped it round him about 3 times, not tightly of course, just strong enough for him not to rip the damn thing off again.
So, as of last week, I have started reading, not one but three books on how to basically kick your toddlers arse without physically doing it. Trust me…. the last few times at school, I have carried that boy out with gritted teeth praying I don’t lose my cool and just hand him to someones mother asking her to take him home before I go fucking insane. As parents are we even allowed to say that about our sometimes annoying little angels? Therefore, after a few sample tries of books on my trusty Kindle (love that device… fucking genius if like me you read a shit load at night when the whole family are finally asleep), I found a couple I liked. One book which has the hardline, no bull-shit approach I particularly love, talks about the whole “Time-out” thing. You know, basically putting your kid in a cot, on a naughty step, or wherever that works, without any toys etc until they stop being little ungrateful punks.
Sooo…. for the past week, my mission has been to break this boys spirit and get him to (a) stop villainizing his poor sister, (b) stop showing me up at friggin nursery school & upsetting all kids around him in the process, and (c) to learn to share toys (damn it!!). Today was our first trial run at school, and aside for a couple of moments at the start of the morning (ie, when we first walked into the play-room and both of us clocked that damn Green car), it went ok. What did I do? Well, first of all, he can’t put his foot in that car from the moment we arrive because that causes all the crap to begin with. As we arrived at school early today, I was tempted to run ahead of him, his sister & our Helper (thk fk for her being there) just to cover that damn car in a blanket (or anything I could find) just so he wouldnt see it. But then I thought, no way. This boys gonna learn whose the boss (FYI. ME) and plus, its not fair hiding it from the other kids. He’s gotta learn right? Plus, me running at this stage in my pregnancy would have looked like a poor imitation Santa Claus going for his morning jog (I was wearing red today … minus the white beard). Apart from him screaming to high heaven when he realised that his bitch of a mum wasn’t letting him get in his favourite toy car (he lay on the floor screaming), I literally carried him over to the toys on the other side of the room and told him “its this, or your cot. Chose now”. He stopped crying IMMEDIATELY. So….the little git does understand me when he wants to. Thats 15-love to me. We’ll see who wins this match in the end (I suspect it’ll be him in the long run).
My words of wisdom on how to deal with “strong-willed” toddlers so far is this …. give them one warning and then put them in time-out, for anything from hitting, to screaming for nothing. Show them that sort of behaviour is not acceptable (until they get to my age in any event). Every cause has an effect, bla bla bla. OR, just drink your way through it. If you’re drunk… you wont even care, thats what nannies are for afterall right?
I’ll see how things pan out at our next group session on Wednesday. I have to admit I’m dreading it….and not just because the Teacher has a moustache I can’t stop staring at.
ps. I can’t believe the stores are starting to sell Christmas stuff already!? Where’s the year gone?!
* Top photo taken from the site http://www.laughitout.com/2009/02/parenting-not-for-everyone.html