Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Dealing with "MAMA! I WANT It NOW!"
A lot of great comments about the upcoming presidential election on my last post.

I think that it's great people feel very passionate about the issues, much better than a nation full of apathetics.

However, at some point the debate gets to be too much and I need to pull away from it all and focus on other things- Things that I have personal control over.

Sometimes with elections I can feel like things are so much out of my hands. So I came up with a list of ways I can personally improve my life and the world.


I am not doing well at these at all.

This morning I was making sandwiches for lunch boxes. I was so excited to try out my kid's new lunch boxes. Ya. I am as pathetic as that- a new lunch box makes me excited.

Anyway, I thought I would just make an extra sandwich for Piney's breakfast since I was making peanut butter sandwiches for my sons anyway.

So she comes in the kitchen and I cheerfully tell her that I have made her this sandwich.

She starts up, "No! Mama! No! NO!!!! I want TREAT cereal! I won't eat it! I want cereal! CEREAL!!"

I know from experience that if I give her the sandwich now she will throw it on the floor and refuse it. If I make her skip breakfast than she will be more cranky, whiny and irritable than usual to deal with and will not let up demanding cereal for the next few hours.

So I silently get out the cereal for her.

Then we take M to work so I can have the car today because I need to go to the grocery store.

On the way home Piney is yelling, "I WANT to go to work too!! I don't WANT to go home! NO! I don't WANT to go home! NO!!!!! NO!!!!!!" This demanding is non-stop until we pull into our parking spot.

I have to pull her out of the car because she is refusing to get out, and drag her to the elevator and up to our apartment.

Inside I turn on the TV because I know Sesame Street is about to start. There are still a few more minutes before it starts, but she wants it to start NOW. Piney: "I WANT to watch Sesame Street NOW!" repeated 100 times every 30 seconds. She is so angry that it hasn't started at the exact moment that she wants it to that she goes up to me and hits me as hard as she can in the arm.

Up to this point I have been patient and not gotten angry, but this is where I lose it.

Ya. I suck.

Any advice?


Blogger Melissa said...
I think that the first thing you might do - and I'm pretty sure this has been suggested before - is just not give her the sandwich or the cereal. Sure, she'll be cranky if she doesn't eat, but maybe (with enough of you standing your ground), she'll finally get the picture. Giving in to her demands like that only breeds the behavior. It's tough, I do know that.

As far as her wanting things & wanting them now, that's just totally appropriate for her age. She's very egocentric right now, which is SO FRUSTRATING for us adults - but she just can't understand another's point of view...much less why a TV show doesn't come on when she thinks it should!

So I think you have 2 sets of demands here - the ones that you can control (and just have to live through till she "gets it" that you won't give in just because she's demanding)...and the demands that are a result of her young child brain thinking the world revolves around her.

And you don't suck for losing your cool; you're human afterall. We all have our breaking points - mine probably would'e been first thing in the morning! haha

Anyway...hang in there!

Blogger Heidi said...
You lasted longer than I would have.
I agree with Melissa above. She may be hungry and cranky (thus harder on you), but you do need to stand your ground from the beginning.
Hard, I know, I'm going through it TWO! ;)
Good luck!

Blogger kim said...
Sorry I do not have any words of wisdom to offer you... I am too spent. Hang in there!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I have a 2 1/2 year old, who folds her arms and sticks her lip out when she doesn't get whatever NOW, so she doesn't get it at all. It is hard and she doesn't understand, yet, but soon she will and she will be a better kid for it, because, well, she is 2 and doesn't get it yet. If she yells at us and is nasty, she goes to the timeout step, case closed and she is told "we do not talk to other people like that". If she comes out of time out and apologizes, she may get to watch a show or get the food. I hope this helps, I'm sure you've heard it all. I read your blog everyday, even though I am not a blogger myself. We all lose it a little, so you are not along. Good Luck! Deb in MD

Blogger Melissa said...
Another thing I thought of this morning as I was getting ready for work:

If cereal is a viable option, and knowing that she will likely hate the choice you pick for her, why not just give her 2 choices from the outset. Maybe you can say something like, "Piney, you have 2 choices for breakfast. Cereal or a sandwich. Which do you prefer?" And just let her have a choice from the outset. We simply have a policy that includes 2 appropriate choices and asking politely, but no demanding/whining from the kiddo. (except that for him, treat cereal is only a viable option on the weekends)

Usually, Iliya eats oatmeal for breakfast - but I can think of one instance when he was eating oatmeal for breakfast and my husband was eating toast. Iliya decided he wanted toast instead of oatmeal, and he asked politely (instead of whining, which is the big deal in our house, rather than demanding) Nathan swapped with him.

I'm sorry to hijack your comments. I guess I just have some pretty specific thoughts on the behaviors you described... and you may've tried everything I mentioned. But the bottom line is that you have to decide what the limits are in your house...and you must be strong and stick to those limits.

I know you've got plenty of experience with 3 other kiddos besides Piney, but I am the oldest of 4, and my mom always says that she tried to parent us all similarly and it worked to a point...but when she realized we all needed different parenting strategies, it worked much better. And then when my youngest brother (the most headstrong of all of us) came along, she had to throw everything out the window and start over with him! :) I always smile when I think about that.

ANYWAY, hang in there!!

Blogger Mrs. Pagett said...
I let my kids get a way with a lot more than they should. So giving advice probably isn't the best thing for me to do, but here goes anyway. I don't think you should let her speak to you the way she does. I tell my kids, "You do not speak to (mom/dad/nana/whoever) like that, when you can act like a nice girl/boy, then we can TALK about it." My hubby says, "no, no little hippo, we don't act like that here", or the last part gets modified to fit the situation. It's cute and usually makes them laugh. They also get time out, one minute for each year they are old, and counting (1,2,3) stearnly. Not that anything happens at three, which is funny. I guess they just don't want to find out what might happen (timeout) if they make it to three.
What ever you decide to do, make sure it works for you two. Just like the same reward doesn't work for all kids, same is true for discipline. Parenting is the hardest job ever, and unfortunely doesn't come with an employee handbook. Good luck. When and if you find what works, please pass along the good advice.

Blogger clowngirl said...
I would definitely not engage in power struggles over food: she needs to eat something and the '2 choice' idea sounds reasonable.

Buy some good earplugs and stand your ground. Be brisk and insistent during tantrums, and if she crosses the line (as long as she knows where your 'line' is), use consistent consequences.

And if YOU have a tantrum later, don't beat yourself up over it. We all lose our marbles once in a while.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
My "Princess" (right now calling her that is a joke!) is doing the same type of things. Today, her dentist mentioned that it (seems to her) to be a girl thing....even more so a FIRST girl thing-regardless of the birth order.
I don't know, but I am about to pull my hair out over the tantrums and screaming and ugliness that is coming out of my child. My boys just weren't this way...they had other issues, but were never as strong-willed as my daughter. We don't give in, but still she persists and it seems like we are walking on eggshells nowadays just to keep the peace. She will literally wake up ticked off at the world!

I do like the choices thing Melissa mentioned...but WE have tried that (with things like clothes and shoes) and she will say "neither!" If it were food, I'd say "don't eat, then!" but she HAS to get dressed, so what do you do then???

Jen, I feel like I am right there with you SOOOOOOO many days!

Stephanie- "Mom" to 3 boys and a very picky princess

Blogger Melissa said...
Stephanie - I'm not a proponent of this, but I was just imagining - IF she chose neither, and you said, "okay, neither it is" and let her walk outside with no clothes on. She would definitely get looks, comments, etc. - maybe enough for her to see that she does need to wear clothes in order to not be embarrassed... and maybe even enough to actually choose one of the choices you pick out for her!

I'm really not saying you should do that...because, well, for obvious reasons... :) but it sure would (likely) get the point across!

So aside from suggesting something you just can't really get away with doing... I don't have anything for that. It sounds like you're doing what you can (just making it through this stage) for the time being.

And now, I will hush. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
off topic but sounds needed for the day :) I was forwarded this by a friend Sorry about the length

> *Invisible Mother......
> *
> It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously, not.
No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
> I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

> One night, a group of us were having dinner, > I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me and said, 'I brought you this.'
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her

*'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - And I would discover
> No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
> These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
> They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
> The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
> I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.
> It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've
baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.
> And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.


Blogger Lisa L said...
It is ok to 'lose it' now and again. Its not a perfect world, and none of us are saints. If kids don't see mom lose it now and again, what a shock it will be when confronted with someone 'going off' at them in the real world. Please don't be hard on yourself. Kids know our pressure buttons, and they use them. Alot of the suggestions have been excellent. The 'choices' thing for foods etc. Just continue to be 'kind but firm' as you always are and this too will pass.

Blogger sandy said...
Yes, I also think it's okay to lose it occasionally. When the twins were younger (and even now, but less so) they would test me and test me... and I would finally lose it and yell at them. Ack! And then I figured out that I could show them the mommy-patience meter. I would show them how much patience I had left with my hands (a lot) or my fingers (very little), and let them know that when that patience was used up they would have one very unpleasant mommy. They caught on and they may have calmed down (sometimes). But it helped me too because it caused me to take a moment to see where I was at, and if that's truly where I wanted to be.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
ah, it's a hard one. first we get exhausted from the constant desires we can't meet for our little one. and also feeling as if there needs to be more gratitude when we are working so hard.

I agree with some of the other posters about choices. Also maybe saying, you really want the tv show on now and it's hard for you to wait. maybe by describing how she feels will help. and maybe giving here some choices of how she can pass the time more quickly, like getting a favorite doll or stuffed animal to watch with her, or a drink of water.

i think sometimes it's hard to be little and told what to do all the time. especially if you do something out of the normal routine.

good luck. i've been there too and hope you find something that works.


Blogger Lea said...
I give choices but, after a reasonable amount of time, I let them know that if they do not make a choice then I will choose for them. I give plenty of time and reminders, when possible. For meals/snacks, if they do not make a choice, I make what I feel like making. Benjamin ends up in this situation a lot lately because his answer to "what would you like" these days is frequently "porcupine":). If they then complain about what I fixed, the answer is always "you don't have to eat it but this is what I am cooking/making" and/or "you don't have to eat it but you have to sit with us at the table". I have yet to see them not eat it:) and I have yet to give in and fix something else.

I also work very hard to make sure we have a good attitude around here, as much as possible. If one of the boys comes to me whining about something they need help with, I will politely ask them to go back to where they started and try it again, asking with a nicer attitude or without whining or whatever. They usually think it is fun to have a do-over and they do very well with it. If they have been asked to pick up toys and they are displaying a bad attitude about it, we work on that too is various ways.."please do it with a nice attitude or you will do it again" or calling them to come back and start over, if they are taking a toy back to another room.

We are not doing much TV yet but if the boys threw a fit as you describe about a program not starting when they wanted it to, I would warn them to have a nicer attitude or we will turn it off.

We try not to let the boys talk to us like that. We try to teach them to speak politely to each other and to us and we try hard to model it, although it is not always easy and I am not perfect by any means. There have been plenty of times that I have apologized to them for being grouchy (this morning:), for having my own bad attitude, for losing my patience or not speaking as nicely as I should, etc.

I am usually fairly consistent with this type of thing because it is a pet peeve of mine and I think children are happier if they learn to have good attitudes about things but nobody is perfect and I have "lost it" plenty of, they know I'm not perfect too:).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
OK, you can start by not buying $23dollar lunch boxes! What a waste!

Anonymous dawn said...
I am shocked that you are being bullied by a little kid! How is your child gonna learn how to behave if she is bossing you around?? You have to life experience - you are the adult - children today get whatever they want and do not know how to act when they don't get their way. Life is full of disappointments down the road - it is your job to teach your children how to deal with the small ones now so that life will be easy to handle as they get older!

Blogger Lisa L said...

Its hard to receive cruel comments. Go easy on yourself. You only have her best interests at heart.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You have to lose it every now and then. You can only handle so much.. I get more nervious when I see people trying to hold everything in all the time. Brighten is 5 and will still test, not as much anymore, but when he sees a friend do something or say something he gets that look, like... hmm.. I wonder if its ok now!?!?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Patience - Ugh I have the same issue - I usually give options (and yes I have given in) I read somewhere that the stronger the conviction or the child the stronger the leader he/she will be. I just keep telling myself I am raising a VERY strong leader of our future and then scream. Good luck.

Blogger Denise :o) said...
I just wanted to tell you Ivan is doing the same type of things you describe. He's very demanding and I do stand my ground and don't back down. I know that when he gets angry I need to remove anything and everything that he could possibly get his hands on because if I don't he will throw it as hard as he can to the ground. The hitting is the norm around here. I get hit dozens of times a day. Tonight, he was made at me and tried to pull my earring out of my ear. I've tried everything from spanking (although I will deny it to the day I die if my social worker ever asks that!), time out, time in, taking items away... you name it. None of it works. I don't think his behavior is typical 3 year old behavior. I think he has bigger issues that I will continue to deal with as he gets older. It's funny because I'm the one that does stand my ground and does not let him get away with the whinning, telling me no etc etc and I'm the one that gets the hitting, spitting, biting, scratching, hairpulling...

What I'm trying to tell you is this is something that you'll have to figure out on your own using your own methods. I think standing your ground alone isn't going to cut it. I've tried that and stick to it and it doesn't help my situation any. Just know you are not alone!!!! (((HUGS)))

Blogger Denise :o) said...
PS... I loose my cool to, especially with the hitting! We're normal I think.

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