Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One step forward, one step back.

I’m in a bit of a quandary. Is it right to be proud of a child who overcomes a negative personality trait? On the face of it, I think of course!, but then I think about the other kids and how they never made me jump through hoops in the first place…

Well, whatever the correct answer, I’m feeling proud of P at the moment. You see, one of his biggest problems is (not daring to type ‘was’ just yet!) cutting off his nose to spite his face. He’s one of those people who imagines your heart will break, if he punishes himself. For instance, on Monday evening he wanted to watch a movie, but we said no because it was too late for a school night. So with much drama and noise he stormed off to his bedroom shouting that he wouldn’t watch anything then!

I’m sure you can imagine how devastated I was. Not.

He’s been like this for as long as I can remember, and no amount of logic has ever tempted him onto the road of common-sense. Until last night.

We were at the dinner table and he asked if he could go to the canteen today. (The ‘canteen’ is a crappy café at his school which offers the children total rubbish to eat, at exorbitant prices. The boys are allowed to go once a week, based upon certain conditions) Unfortunately P lost this weeks canteen, after he refused to eat several of the meals offered at our own dinner table last week.

When his father said no and reminded him why, P froze mid-mouthful and stared at his plate. It might have ended there with the usual (him refusing to eat any more, him not getting an after dinner treat, him loosing canteen next week, him storming off to his room), but he chose last nights meal, in fact it’s his favourite.

So for five minutes I coaxed, cajoled, and pointed out how foolish it was for him to miss out on a dinner he likes, AND forgo his treat, all because he couldn’t get his own way. And after all, it wasn’t like his behaviour was going to persuade us otherwise! Finally, as J pulled a face at him and told him how silly he was, I asked her to be quiet and explained P reacted like this because he was too young to understand he was the only one missing out. He actually tried arguing with me (which still makes me giggle now), but as his standpoint crumbled so did his resolve.

In a final ditch to get his own way, he offered to eat his dinner in return for a treat and canteen today. And though our response hadn’t changed, I could FINALLY see a flicker of reason showing in his eyes and I quickly pointed out that next week’s canteen was still up for grabs.

A stony silence followed, broken only by J and S arguing over the last of the nan bread – which I wouldn’t allow them to eat until I was sure P didn’t want some with his dinner. As the minutes ticked on, the rest of us cleared our plates and we had to resolve the P and nan bread situation, so I counted to five with a warning it would all be over if he didn’t speak up.

I got a begrudged whisper, ‘Alright!’

And with that, he grabbed the bread and wolfed down his meal!

To say the BH and I were pleased is an understatement. With P, this is a real step forward! In fact we were so impressed that half an hour later the BH went and had a chat with him to praise his newfound maturity, and how as a special reward he could go to the canteen today.

So now he’s a happy boy, and with a bit of luck, long may it last!

And I bet you’re wondering what the ‘one step back’ is about (go on, pretend!) Well that’s to do with S. Funny but the eldest of each sex are easy compared to younger, and S is the younger. And the youngest – which she really enjoys!

Last week I mentioned how she had peed on her rug and ballet kit, because she didn’t fancy the toilet anymore. There wasn’t any reason for it, like sleepiness or something. And we’re quite sure of that fact, as she’s taken to peeing where the mood takes her. So far her favourite place is on the bathmat, which I concede in not the end of the world as the floor is tiled and the mat can go in the wash. But that’s not the point! Apart from the worry of where her next mood may lead, my bathroom’s starting to smell like a public loo! (Which I really ought to go and scrub instead of sitting here.) Anyway, one step at a time, forward please.


Blogger Tim-tambolini said...

Sounds like you have your hands full at your house. I thought one child was enough! But peeing where ever the mood strikes!!?? Now that's something to embarass her with at a much later date.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:04:00 pm  
Blogger Daisy Mae said...

Hurray for P! Sounds like he got some understanding of cause and effect. Another milestone.

My daughter (she'll kill me for this) used to sqaut down and pretend to tie her shoe when she had to pee. Then she would go in her pants. I would try and take her to the bathroom when I saw her pretending to tie her shoe but she would balk and swear she didn't have to go. Granted she was 3 and 4 at the time but it drove me nuts! I'm glad she doesn't do it now. (and so is her husband I'm sure)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:37:00 pm  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

When Jake was a toddler, he used to put his finger into his throat to make himself throw up. He did this as part of a tantrum, usually, but soon he realized he could get a reaction by putting his finger in his mouth and merely threatening to throw up.

Karen caught on pretty quick. The next time he tried this, she told him, "Uh-uh. I'm on to you! I know you're not really going to make yourself throw up."

Whereupon he stuck his finger all the way back and puked all over his highchair. Karen learned not to dare the kid.

As for peeing anywhere you please . . . I know how to respond to puppies who do this, but not children :(

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:42:00 pm  
Blogger Who is this Dave? said...

Do keep this blog, and show it to S when she's 18. Ideally in front of a boyfriend. She will love you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:46:00 pm  
Blogger mm said...

I know how to respond to a kid peeing wherever, whenever she wants to. My daughter went through it, too, and at about the same age. Assuming you've eliminated a UTI as the problem, make her clean it up.

It'll take her an hour. She'll scream bloody murder. But make her carry the mat to the washing machine, put it in, put in the detergent, wipe up whatever is left on the floor, change her clothes, wash the wet ones...

(This works best if you can not look mad while you're doing it.)

She'll figure out pretty quick it's easier to just use the toilet. I've been there, Jona. I feel your pain. :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:17:00 pm  
Blogger The CuriousKat said...

I never went through the peeing on the rug bit, but cutting off the nose to spite the face was a regular occurance. What they don't understand is that they aren't punishing you for not getting their way, they're punishing themselves! Maybe now that he's been rewarded for making the concession, he'll look at things in a new light!

Oh, and the Butterfly Wings were okay because our butterflies always had a spare set hidden away!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 7:00:00 pm  
Blogger FTS said...

I recall throwing some tantrums as a child, but never used self-starvation or peeing as tactics. How um... creative? lol

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 8:15:00 pm  

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