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Jan 10, 2011

Denial

As expected, I am dealing with this rotation in which I am not exactly excelling by trying to deny its existence. Today was better, partly because I had an awesome and very social weekend for once in my life and mostly because my day was broken up by both clinic and conference and then ended on the early side. Regardless, let’s pretend it isn’t happening, shall we? Denial is the best of the coping mechanisms.
Starting around Christmas morning, as I think I’ve told you, Colin became inexplicable possessive of certain things. Specifically his favorite things: The MaiMai, a Lightning McQueen book, his Thomas and Toby, certain foods. This is sometimes funny, such as in the evenings when I get him dressed for bed and upon taking off his shoes and socks that I found “my feet.” He gets fake mad and giggly and insists that they are HIS feet. This escalates into a tickle fight that I always win and that always ends in Colin saying “No tiggle! Hugs!” Or tonight, when Colin was singing Jingle Bells, his favorite carol, to himself and he got to the “Hey!” part but didn’t say it. So I chimed in with a lively “Hey!” He turned around and looked at me with equal parts disgust and pity and said “MY hey, Mommy.”
However, this weekend, Colin learned that he can better defend his favorite things when he accompanies the “MINE” with a smack. I think that he knows this is bad, because he usually starts smiling and blinking his eyes in a puppy dog way afterwards in hopes that his charm will blanket the trouble he’s in. It doesn’t (although sometimes it is close) and he now spends approximately 30% of his waking hours in Time Out.
This consists of me lifting him up immediately and placing him on the floor sitting with his back against a wall away from his toys and such. Then I get right up in his face and say something completely inane like, “Mommy is putting you in Time Out because you tried to hit. That’s Not Nice.” I never feel so stupid as when I talk like this. I lose all sense of pronouns when I start off with “Mommy…” and never know if I’m supposed to stick to the third person or switch mid-sentence. He clearly only understands every few words I say anyway, so maybe it doesn’t matter. So he sits there for a minute or two and cries big, fat tears. When I go sit by him and tell him to come sit on my lap, he immediately goes in for a sweet, salty tears kiss, just to make me feel bad.

KATIE!
Do you know why Mommy put you in Time Out?

COLIN
No.

KATIE!
Mommy put you in Time Out because you tried to hurt me… Mommy. That’s Not Nice. Is it nice to hit people?

COLIN
Cookie?

KATIE!
Look at Mommy, Colin. It’s Not Nice to hit people. Do you understand?

COLIN
No.

KATIE!
Colin, say “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

COLIN
Sowee, Mommy. Trains?

KATIE!
Colin, say, “No hitting.”

COLIN
MY trains, Mommy.

KATIE!
Colin… hold still. Look at Mommy.

COLIN
Mommyyyyyyy! Dooooooown! TRAAAAAAAAIIIIINS!

(tears from all)
We had friends over last night for dinner and they brought along their very sweet one year old. It was my first experience being the mom of the bully in the room. Colin is usually the youngest and, as such, is usually the one having toys stolen from him or being left in the dust or being pushed around for fun. But last night, Colin was the one saying “MINE” to everything that the poor little crawler touched and, though we managed to keep Colin from hitting our shortest guest, he still spent some time in Time Out after hitting me when I tried to keep him from eating those little capsules you put in water and they expand to be the shape and, presumable, size of cars.
In the aftermath of all these episodes, however, he is still sweet and loving, which I find very confusing. How do you stay mad at a kid who keeps coming up and asking for kisses? How do you consistently discipline a child who looks like a cherub crying for the souls of the lost? How do you keep from laughing when he sobs into your shoulder when you refuse to refill his ice cream?

Parenting is full of these questions.

Questions that I can deal with. Infectious disease? No, thank you.

5 Readers rock!:

med neophyte said...

Two year olds have the attention span of goldfish. So it isn't only acceptable, it is appropriate to scold them one minute and hug them five minutes later.

Jessica said...

I love this post...this is exactly what I go through every day with Ben. You captured this struggle perfectly in your writing, Katie :)

Pennsy said...

Funny, but as I read this, I realize that I still relate to the women in my life using these stragegies. When you're two, it's cute. When your fifty, it's psychotic. That's just not fair.

Erica said...

I hate to tell you that this phenomenon hasn't completely gone away for even the most brilliant, charming 5YO I know. The only difference seems to be the pronouns. Dislike.

mary martha said...

From Erickson stages of development:

Infant
Trust vs Mistrust
Needs maximum comfort with minimal uncertainty
to trust himself/herself, others, and the environment

Toddler
Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
Works to master physical environment while maintaining
self-esteem

Preschooler
Initiative vs Guilt
Begins to initiate, not imitate, activities; develops
conscience and sexual identity

School-Age Child
Industry vs Inferiority
Tries to develop a sense of self-worth by refining skills

I think he is precocious and developing quickly!!!

And Bob it is not psychotic, its pathetic!!!
<3