Mia has been challenging me very much lately. We were very lucky in that we never really experienced the "terrible-two's" stage, but oh my word, the "throttling-three's" sure is making up for it...
I'm not sure if she's just testing her boundaries, whether it's just a phase, whether it's to do with the impending arrival of a baby sister - or probably a combination of all of these... But I am at my wit's end, my patience is running on empty, and mommy-guilt is at an all-time high.
Everything is a fight! To get her to go to the toilet when she wakes up in the morning. To get her to settle on a choice of clothes for the day. Then she insists on choosing her own panty and taking ages at doing so. I've stopped giving her a choice as to what she wants for breakfast, as it's just easier to prepare what I have time for, some mornings I can do oats, some mornings we need to do Pronutro if we're running late, some mornings we have time for her to take her time over her marmite toast.
Luckily she goes to school happily and easily - although once we get there she does hang onto me as I put her lunchbox in its place and sign her in - but she kisses me goodbye and doesn't make a scene. Pick-up time is also easy. The only issue is in the car - she insists on getting in and out by herself - which actually suits me just fine because it breaks my back to pick her up and load her in... But by doing it herself, she sure takes her sweet time, finding an old biscuit and eating it, taking her shoes off and putting them back on again, or just standing in the car looking around, or sliding out of the car at a snail's pace...
Then, nap-time. She still needs her nap. She snoozes from about 2pm til 3h30. If she skips her nap, she's miserable by late afternoon. But she really is starting to resist having her sleep - once she's on her bed she's fine and content, but getting her to stop whatever she was doing when naptime arrives is the problem. She says no, she cries, she throws things. Then when I shout at her she cries even more and I feel like a villain.
Supper time had been relatively easy a while ago, recently she's become even more fussy. I'm so over having to beg and plead to get her to eat a decent amount of food!!
Then, when we tell her it's bathtime, another fit of yelling no, crying, us shouting. Once she's in the bath, she's happy as a pig in mud, keeps telling us she's not finished bathing yet ("just three more hours", she says!) until we have to start being all firm and pulling the plug and lifting her out of the bath amidst her protests and tears. I can't, I can't do this anymore!!!
Now, I really want to get this under control before baby Ella arrives. Because if this continues, I will soon be crazy person.
I realise that I literally don't know how to handle her - as Wyn tells me, Mia's the boss of me. I let her get away with things too easily, I give in too easily, I am too lenient with her...
We have a few options open as discipline methods. I'm not keen on giving hidings. It's just not in my nature. I have previously once or twice given her bottom a smack, but I feel so bad afterwards. My heart just breaks if I see that precious lil face crumple up and cry. (See, I'm too soft!!) Wyn doesn't mind giving hidings, but it hasn't often been necessary. Mia has always reacted very well to our tone of voice, and being quite obedient if we speak to her firmly, and she hates it if we raise our voices to her.
We haven't ever tried the naughty corner/ naughty chair approach - it just hasn't ever been necessary. They use this method at school, so I think it should work at home too. I just need to figure out at which point in the battle-of-wills it is that I send her to the naughty corner - once again, I'd probably be too lenient.
Another thing we could try is taking away perks like her late-afternoon tv time, her after-dinner ice lolly that she loves, her bath toys, or her bedtime story.
This morning I tried to reason with her. Explaining to her how it doesn't have to be a fight the whole time, I don't want to fight with her, but I need her to listen to me, when I ask her to do something, she mustn't say no and get cross, she must say yes mommy... At the end of this lil pep talk I asked her if she understands. She said, "I don't understand why you are shouting at me." Aaaargh!
I just really want to focus on getting a hold on handling this situation better, and to not feel so out of my depth. I have come really close a few times during this last week, to really "losing it" and wanting to rant and rave and yell and shout - and I really don't want that to happen.
Mia is a sensitive, perceptive, intelligent child. I really think she's just realised how she has me wrapped around her little finger, and now that she's pushing the limits and I'm resisting, we really are bumping heads and clashing. And it's not nice!! I've always hated confrontation. I like to get along, I like peace, I like quiet and calm. Oh dear.