It's okay Mara. Always good to know there are others in a similar boat getting frustrated and wishing for a translator!
I thought the baby stage was much easier too.
I have a friend who always has creative solutions. If someone is hitting something then she'll give them a pillow. "I can see you want to hit. You can't hit my bookshelf but you can hit this" kinds of things. then she's trying to honor the desire as much as possible.
For diaper changes, one of the Pantley books mentioned having the diaper sing and stuff. That worked pretty well. Standing diaper changes (for pee only!) work well too. I remember being pregnant with Tom and being scared because Sam kicked so much during diaper changes. She was about 2.25 or 2.5 at the time, totally resisting potty training, resisting diaper changes, resisting sleep, you name it, she resisted.
At 7 she still has a strong personality I keep reminding myself what my mom says - that she won't let anyone walk all over her.
My biggest struggle is to not use my size to overpower them. It's not nice. It gets the job done, and in a safety situation I don't mind scooping them up, but picking them up to move them just to dominate isn't nice. It's also not working as well with Sam anymore. She's VERY strong (she's in gymnastics and has been since she was 3.5).
When I feel like I want to just throttle them sometimes I can say "Mommy is pretty grumpy. Can I have a hug?" and then we both feel better after a minute. Sometimes I just need to leave the room though and I'll say that I'm too angry to talk right now and I need a break. Then after a couple minutes I feel human again and can go back.
As for the toddler ages, try to have as much room as possible that is a "yes" area - meaning there aren't things in it that they can't touch. We had a gate through part of our living room for a while, so that Tom had free reign over part of the room but then as it transitioned to the dining room he couldn't get over there. Then it was less stressful for everyone because we weren't always having to stop him from doing things.
In many ways a 3 year difference is good, but it can result in a whole lot of ripped up books when child #1 is looking at paperbacks and child #2 can still ruin a board book
Natalie & Dan - June 2, 2001
Samma - Nov. 5, 2004
Tommy - Oct. 19, 2007
Baby sign has helped us a lot too. Teagan doesn't have many useful words. Her "naming" vocabulary (as Mara put it so well) is exploding as of late. Pointing to pictures and yelling "TURTLE" is freaking adorable but hasn't helped with the whining. Teagan will sign "All done", "more", "water", "food", and "please". "Please" is really helpful. If she's reaching for something and whining I can ask her to sign please and she calms down, rubs her belly (so cute!), and looks at me. It gives her a second to realize that communication is awesome and ends the whining (if she then gets what she wants).
We abide by the "baby safe" zone. Our entire house is one big baby safe zone. It significantly reduces the number of "NO"s we use. When we're out she's remarkably conscious of asking before she touches things. I have no idea how we managed that. If I figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know.
Rheannon! Good to see you over here Something I do with Teagan and plants is have her smell all the flowers. If thrills her, is stinking cute, and keeps her from ripping them out. Even if your plants don't have flowers, perhaps you can teach him that there's another activity to do with plants. I'm all about trying to find a way to let her satisfy her urges in a safe (and less destructive) way. Teagan has her remote control that she can throw/chew/jump on. We hand it to her when she grabs our new universal remote. If she hits the cat or one of us, we say no firmly and then redirect with petting and hugs. I feel like its important to let them know that there's a right way to do things rather than just informing them that they're doing it wrong.
Having that yes environment has been a BIG struggle for us since for 2.5 months we've been living in a temp apartment with bare rental furniture (and pretty much zero storage). We were living out of suitcases and boxes and had no way in the teeny tiny apartment to limit him to a toddler safe environment. I'm really hoping that once we complete this move, get into a house, and get our furniture delivered out of storage we can get back into the yes environment we had last fall. I know this has negatively affected us. *sigh* Only so much I could do!
Now if only we can survive the next few days with my ILs who believe that toddlers should learn early to not touch what isn't theres, sooooo definitely not a yes environment to say the least.
I totally get the yes environment- but I can't very well remove the couches from the living room- and she's climbing on the backs of those in a very dangerous way. She has her own playroom- everything inside is hers and it's pretty much a fully "yes" space- except when she just starts tearing her own stuff up. I mean, ok they are her toys, and if she wants to destroy them... but really? We have made a very conscious effort (after someone on my BB brought it up over a year ago) to not even use the word no... we say, "That is dangerous" or "that is not yours." But, she doesn't seem to give a flying monkey's bum anymore.
This morning the diaper change became SUCH a struggle that I completely failed. I ended up throwing the diaper I was trying to put on her on the floor in an absolute rage, and walking away. I may also have vocally expressed my rage with some loud noise. She was scared- none of my aggression was directed at her, but she's never seen me so angry. She then ran around naked for probably an hour, which ended with her peeing, not on he floor, but on a cushion, and then splashing in it.
I am beyond frustrated and ashamed. If someone had caught that scene on tape, I would be mortified to have anyone see it. I keep trying to bring myself back to center and see her for who she is... a small child, only 22 mos old, finding her boundaries, and pushing those (people) she loves the most. But I find myself totally losing control and seeing her instead as some kind of evil little being. I am just not coping.
Mara & Joel, 2009
Remember you ARE doing a great job by just recognizing your difficulties and wanting to do better. Some days keeping them alive should be celebrated as a success.
Aiden was trying to jump off the back of the couch before we moved. I'm not sure what the answer to that is other than having a place where they can climb safely. Which let's face it most of us aren't able to afford or have the space for toddler safe climbing equipment. I was trying to hit up the park when I could, but the weather didn't always cooperate. *sigh*
Where's that Toddlers for Dummies book?!
Mara! You're an awesome mommy. Don't you forget that. We ALL have those moments. One night, Teagan was endlessly bothering me with constant nursing, whining, and kicking. After about 3 hours of that I got out of bed, yelled to my DH, "Deal with her. I'm going to the other room or I'm going to throw her out the window!" Having the occasional irrational rage moment does not make you a bad mommy. It makes you human. Just like how we have to accept that the rambunctious evil little munchkins controlling our every move are actually just very young little humans with young little human needs and limitations, we have to accept that we too are humans with patience limits, a limited supply of energy, and in your case, pregnancy hormones.
Jackie, you're so close to finally having your "normal" life back! Your ability to hold on to your sanity amazes me. I WISH there was a Toddlers for Dummies book but since they're all so different, we'd need Teagans/Aidens/etc for Dummies
One thing we've worked hard to cultivate in Teagan since she first became mobile is a sense of caution. If something she's doing (say, rolling around on the bed or climbing the arms of the couch) isn't likely to result in serious harm, we let her. She's had a few minor spills but those spills have helped to teach her about things like gravity. We started teaching her how to get down off her bed safely when she was about 9-10 months old. She quickly mastered it and now we can leave her on couches or beds or playground equipment without constantly worrying and yelling "NO". If she's doing something carelessly I'll tell her "be careful" and she recognizes that as a hint that she might get hurt if she keeps it up. The tiny bumps and bruises she's received by taking this stance are well worth the comfort in knowing that she'll be OK if I turn my back. It also leaves "NO" for serious situations such as running full steam towards the duck pond. My DH likes to take this method a little further than I'm comfortable with. He'll jostle the shopping cart when she stands up (which makes her sit down but really is that necessary?) and keeps talking about giving her a controlled introduction to cactus. I'm not letting that happen on my watch!
And then there are kids like mine who still walk off the couch and bed. I can count on one hand the number of times he's gotten down correctly of a high place. He will learn eventually, right????
Thanks ladies. I was very near melt-down yesterday, and called my DH sobbing at lunch time. But I am like that- I need to get things OUT- so after I did that, I was much more able to deal. But seriously, it's funny you said that about keeping them alive Jackie, because the thought that kept running through my head was like, "Only one of us is going to survive her toddler years!"
Beni has done her fair share of "learning falls".... while my ILs were here on day, she was standing on a chair at the table, which we let her do because she's too short to see much if she's sitting... but, she was leaning on the table and kept pushing the chair back with her feet. Next thing you know she pushed the chair too far and she went off the table backwards, somehow managing to sort of pinball her head off the table and then the chair seat (all wood mind you)....all right in front of my MIL. Awesome. It happened very fast, but of course I felt bad for her. Think she's stopped leaning on the table while standing on chairs? No. Although, I will say, she is more likely to actually just climb RIGHT ON the table now. Sigh.
Mara & Joel, 2009
Beginning to think our kids are twins Mara. That story describes DS these days! He's totally leaned his chair back at the dining room table far enough back to fall! And then repeated it that same day!!!