Monday, October 17, 2011

I Need To Work On This

Yesterday was a toddler rollercoaster of a day. Almost two is hard … for both of us. Sunshine started off the day in destructo toddler mode. All her books thrown on the floor, then all her wooden puzzles, the pieces thrown all over, then she started throwing around her mega blocks. At one point I picked up her puzzles and put them back on her bookshelf. “Noooooooooooooo!” she screamed, and threw them all over the floor again.

My awesome 10 year old mother’s helper came over at 10:15. We have a great arrangement. She comes over for two hours on Sunday mornings and plays with Sunshine in her room (with the door closed so she can’t see mommy), so I can get some chores done. She gets $5 an hour for this. It’s awesome! Yesterday I didn’t really do much in the way of chores, I relaxed a bit with my coffee, took a shower, and got myself ready to go out without a toddler hanging on me. At the end of the two hours Sunshine’s room was tidy, and she’d had a great time.

I gave Sunshine lunch, organized the diaper bag, and off we went for the afternoon. Yesterday was the Bolivian Day parade in our neighborhood, so we watched the dancers for a while, which she loved, then hit the subway. I was hoping she’d nap on the way to Manhattan, but no go. I'd told her in the morning that I would take her to ride a horsey on a carousel. She kept excitedly saying “horsey!” But when we got within sight of the carousel in Bryant Park, she started bouncing like crazy in her stroller, pumping her fists, shouting “HORSEY!!” She had a great time! She rode the carousel THREE times! I was planning to move on after the second ride, but she had a poopy diaper, and I convinced her to cooperate with the diaper change by telling her if she cooperated she could ride a horsey again. Shortly after this she finally fell asleep in her stroller. It was about 3:25. Late for her nap, but my plan was to keep moving, so she wouldn’t take too long a nap so close to bedtime. (At daycare she reliably naps from 12:30 to 2:30. On the weekends, all bets are off. She fights naps like they are the devil.) While she was asleep we headed uptown and with her both napping, then awake, we wandered around the Upper West Side.

We really had a lovely afternoon out together. It was a perfect Autumn afternoon. She’d had enough of the stroller on the subway ride home, but I managed to entertain her well enough that she didn’t melt down. When we got home, Sunshine’s friend who lives around the corner came over with her mom for a brief play date. She started throwing things on the floor again. Grrr!

After they left (mini meltdown when they left, as Sunshine HATES goodbyes), I was getting her dinner ready. In my defense regarding what came next, the pain killer I’d taken for my back earlier in the day had worn off, and I try not to take more than one a day, so I was in pain, tired, and hungry. There was a container with food I’d just warmed up on the kitchen table. I turned just in time to see Sunshine grab it off the table. “Nooooooooooo!” I screamed. But it was too late. The food was all over the floor, and splashed on the table and chair legs. I kind of lost it. I yelled at Sunshine about how she needed to listen better. I told her to go to her room (mainly to keep her from walking through the mess while I cleaned it up). I am not proud of the way I yelled at her while I cleaned up the mess. Dinnertime was not easy. We were both cranky. Bedtime wasn’t too bad. We had some good cuddling, and she was really tired, so went to sleep fairly easily.

It wasn’t until a couple of hours later, when I’d decompressed a bit that the guilt and remorse crept in. She’s not even two years old yet. Kids spill things. Yes, she probably knew she shouldn’t have grabbed the container, but she didn’t spill it on purpose. Unlike the way she was throwing things around her room, this was an accident. Mom fail.

This morning I talked to her about it. I told her I knew she didn’t do it on purpose and said I was sorry I yelled at her. She patted my face and gave me a hug. I hope she understood my apology.


Kristin said...

Honey, you are only human. We all have moments when we lose it and yell and we shouldn't. You handled it perfectly by telling her you made a mistake and you are sorry. While she might not have understood every bit of the apology (or maybe she did, some kids do), if you continue to use this tactic, she will learn a valuable lesson about adults not being infallible. {{{Hugs}}}

niobe said...

What Kristin said. Kids are tough. Toddlers are really, really tough.

Tiara said...

I love that you spoke to Sunshine about it & apologized. She may not understand it now but that kind of parenting is going to mean so much to her. I say, Mom Pass!

Billy said...

I agree with Kristin - we are all umans. I've lost it at my daughter and felt very sorry afterwards. I do hope I'm learning to be better next time, but still. And I agree it was a good thing you spoke to her about it, whether she understands or not. Even if she doesn't, it gives you practice for such talks in the future..

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Burrito does things wrong a hundreds times a day, no that's not accurate, definitely more than a hundred a day. 100% are just being a toddler and non-malicious. But, 5% are non-malicious yet really hurt someone or threaten his safety.

This evening, out of nowhere he walked up and pushed his sister to the ground. She wouldn't topple and he kept pushing and pushing until she fell. I told him that what he'd done was wrong, no anger but firmly. For the very first time, he showed an expression that I swear was shame. I am really ambivalent about having made him feel bad about himself.

To build on Niobe's comment, toddlers are really, really tough. Spirited, high energy toddlers are really, really, really tough. Trust me, I have two different kinds simultaneously, and the spirited one is incredibly harder, particularly when there are no other adults to take over (as was the case for me tonight but usually isn't the case).

Also, weekend days are really long.

Anonymous said...

I empathize 100% - mainly because this happens to me too, sometimes. I am a single mom by choice to a spirited toddler who is pretty well-behaved most of the time, but at mealtimes she just seems to turn into this kid that knows how to push all my buttons. Sometimes it's throwing things intentionally. Sometimes it's begging for a particular food, then screaming "I don't want it!" as soon as I give it to her. Or the opposite, saying no to something and then crying because I didn't give it to her. She plays with her food and then cries because she now has food on herself - every little spill sends her over the edge, but she continues to spill things on purpose anyway.

And yes, I've lost my patience many times and yelled at her for those things and other things that weren't really done on purpose. I wish I had more patience with her and could keep from raising my voice as much as I do, but when I'm exhausted from a long, stressful day of work, or still groggy from a night of not enough sleep because she woke up every 2 hours, and there's no one else around to help, I have a hard time being supermom. It's OK to have those moments from time to time, and your apology was the perfect follow-up to a very human and common reaction to toddler behavior.

- Tashia