When they turn into three-nagers.
I officially appear to have a three going on thirteen year old in my life. As Fatso is moves into the terrible two’s FAR too many months before his second birthday (OCTOBER LAWRENCE OCTOBER!), the Beast has started developing an attitude that one can only describe as a teenager.
Whilst Fatso might be unreasonable in the collapsing on the floor screaming following you around, arching his back, flinging himself out of your arms kind of way, the Beast is slowly moving away from that, and if I’m honest, I’m not sure I like this stage any better. Don’t get me wrong, he still flings himself on the floor, or kicks the door when he’s sent into the hall, but now he’s started answering back. He’s also so dramatic with it, I fluctuate daily between being REALLY REALLY angry (my friend commented that my counting to three never used to be through gritted teeth with an underlying growl), and having to try really hard not to laugh mid telling off.
He doesn’t just cry or look upset when I say something, nor, and I suppose this is more important, does he listen and take heed. He frowns, juts out his jaw and in a tone of voice that is worse then nails down a chalkboard, he retorts. Below are a few examples which have happened over the last few days.
Me (whilst on a play date at somebody’s house): “THEODOREEE, I’m going to count to three, and if you don’t come down those stairs I will take your magnet away…ONEE….”
The Beast: “DON’T START COUNTING….”
The Beast: “I SAID MUMMY…DON’T COUNT, I DON’T WANT YOU TO COUNT”.
Or perhaps, I’m at my friends, and I’ve just told him if he doesn’t put his coat on he’ll not only lose a magnet he’ll go in the hall (I KNOW, I KNOW a double punishment seems harsh for what appears to be a relatively small battle, but this happens every time we leave their house). I’ve crouched down, I’m holding onto his arm so I can position him to look at me while I attempt to reason with him.
The Beast: “get off me, I SAID GET OFF ME MUMMY, LET GO OF MY ARM”
He went in the hall.
It’s lunch time, he’s not eating his dinner.
ME: “Theodore, eat your dinner please”
The Beast: “NO – you eat YOUR dinner first Mummy”
Then I stupidly enter into the conversation “I am eating my dinner, see, it’s nearly all gone”
The Beast: “Shuush Mummy, you’re disappointing me, I don’t want to look at you any more” before averting his eyes and looking across the room.
What’s the most frustrating thing with this current phase is that I’m starting to hear myself in him. I have told him frequently (because I know it has more impact then ever being sent in the hall), that I don’t want to look at him until he calms down. I MAY have also told him he was disappointing me. I’m getting the impression that this stage is sent to remind us that our parenting techniques can be repeated, and therefore scrutinized in public. For example, nursery is totally aware that he’s sent to the hall for three minutes, because he’s sent
other children toys to the hall at Pre-School. That was embarrassing. Especially as he says the telling off bit in a FAR more fierce voice then I do. “You woz sent to da ‘all, coz you woz BAD, STAY THERE FOR 3 MINUTES, OKAY?” before SLAMMING the door. Now, I don’t slam the door, not since the time I trapped his fingers in it.
So what do I do as my children mock me with my own words? Do I learn from it? Do I heck. I find another phrase or technique to use that he will eventually be thrown back in my face. Like, when he refuses to get in the car, driving off and leaving him on the side of the road (with my friend next to him). That’s only been relayed to the grandparent’s so far I think.
Oh – and before you ask. How do I discipline the fat one at the moment? Well, I often find just putting him down and walking away from him works. This usually results with him (if he’s crawling), stopping and putting his head on the floor and sobbing. Alternatively, if I put him down on his bottom he tends to bend his fat head and shoulders forward and sob like an old man. That’s like a stab in the heart if ever there was one. God knows what I’ll do when I get to the putting him in the hall stage. He’s stronger then me, he’ll have the door off its hinges in no time.