Over the weekend we got a glimpse into this "terrible twos" business. I took Lilly to a jewelry party where there was supposed to be another little girl for her to play with. Unfortunately that friend and her daughter weren't able to make it at the last minute, so Lil was left to the display of shiny jewelry to occupy herself with. Ay ya ya. Every parent has those public moments when they are torn between allowing their child to explore and keeping them on too short of a leash. A little exploration is a good thing-- that's how they learn. But I also worry about her bothering people-- in this instance, I didn't want her distracting the lady from her demonstration, what with all the yanking of the hangers that held pretty blouses donned with multiple necklaces, front and back! By the time she yanked one off and checked it out, the shirt, hanger and necklaces were in a big tangle and I had no idea what went where.
So I'd shorten the leash. Have her come sit back on my lap. Ask her a couple distracting, engaging questions. Until she wopped me in the face with the two pens she snatched up along the way. With everyone watching, I quietly told her that wasn't nice and she needed to be gentle with mommy. She leaned in for a hug... and bit my arm. Big ol' bruise. I wanted to cry, it hurt so bad! I was embarrassed and MAD at the same time. I blew it off and kept her at a distance until the end of the demo. No hugs necessary!!! Thankfully once we were free to mingle, she made lots of friends in the kitchen and was back to her normal self.
But this is becoming a problem-- daily. She only hits and bites me. I'm glad she's not hurting anyone else, but why me? And I'm still figuring out what works as far as punishment, but in the proccess I'm not being consistent. If I redirect, I'm ignoring the real issue, which I feel needs acknowledgement. If I react sternly and tell her "No!" she laughs and tries it again. I'm somewhere in between showing her that she's hurt mommy and that it's "Not OK" and... time outs.
Ohh, time outs. How do you even effectively time out a toddler? You spend more time getting them to sit back down that they completely forget what they're even there for. And Lilly thinks it's fun! So tonight I stuck her in her crib, which I always said I wouldn't do-- I do NOT want to ruin our great sleeper by punishing her in bed. But how else do you contain a 1.5 year old? She fake cried for about 10 seconds and then went to town draping all of her blankies over the rail. I went back in, asked her "Do we hit Mommy?" Bam. She got me again. Out I went, closed the door, fake crying ensued for 10 seconds and then back to play.
I have no idea what I'm doing or if I'm doing it right. I feel like I'm all over the place with her discipline, but does anyone really get it right on the first try? And once I figure out what works for her, will it stay that way? Probably not. So I just take a lot of deep breaths, mutter under my breath, silently beg God to give me strength and hope that the next day is better!
How do you handle this stuff???