Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Caleb's Corner: Terrific Madness!

Let me start by wishing a Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the FABULOUS women who have children in their lives! You don't have to be a  biological mother to be a mother figure in someone's life.  It takes a village to raise children and we are all  part of that village! Thanks for being strong, courageous, thrifty, and kinda crazy!

My mommy!

In my almost 34 years of life, I've realized that there are certain situations or stages  you JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND until you are fully entrenched in them.  Two things in particular that I didn't totally grasp until I was completely immersed were parenthood and marriage.

I don't care how many books you've read, classes you've attended, words of wisdom that entered your brain, or examples you've listened DO NOT fully "get it" until you are IN IT! Real life experience with parenthood and marriage will cause you to examine how you may have judged others, and challenge (but not necessarily change) your belief system and your upbringing.

My dear sweet  Caleb will  be turning two years old soon. He has morphed into a challenging, hard headed, willful, foot stomping, tantrum having sometimes angry little boy.  I found myself being irritated by him a few weeks ago.  For the first time in our relationship  I had an attitude with him.  I didn't want to talk to him.  Are there any witnesses out there? Or am I the only one???

I don't think of myself as a push over, easy, or soft mom.  But I'm learning I need to change my strategy in dealing with Caleb during this stage of life.  They call it the Terrible Two's....or the Terrific Two's.....I'm renaming it Terrific Madness!

How does a sweet, cooperative, easy going child turn into a spunky, quick, willful person who has quite the vocabulary and opinions that are shared often (good and bad)?  Okay...okay....I've been called spunky, willful, opinionated and sassy in my short years on this maybe he's getting some of this from me??????

Question:  how do you fuse training and discipline with facilitating an emerging personality and not break the child of who they were created to be?

Cooperative Caleb

I'm still reeling from what happened the other night when Caleb kicked, hit, spit and yelled at me.  I had to stop in the midst of the madness...pray....and try to maintain my sanity!! Words cannot describe how I was feeling.  Each offense resulted in a disciplinary action....but the brotha kept coming!! Now when Daddy showed up.....Caleb was a changed toddler.......hmmmm.....Am I not as effective as Daddy?  My honest answer is: Yes...I am not as effective as Daddy!  This is a dynamic that many of my friends have observed in their homes as well. Whew! I'm glad I'm not the first! There seems to be something about the male presence that keeps children in check. 

I don't fully understand this dynamic, but it is clear that Caleb pushes me to my limits...and does not do the same to his father.

Children are complete and utter sponges.  I nicknamed Caleb my Hype Man tonight because before I could finish the last syllable of my sentence....he was all over it! Every last word I said he repeated! He can sing songs, knows the cues for saying "please" and "thank you", and can tell me what his Granny said about "no lips"..."kiss only cheeks".......So what behavior (good or bad) is he picking up from me and others around him (especially at daycare)???

Ever heard: Do what I say...Not as I do??? That's foolishness because what you do is more meaningful than what you say to a child...or anyone for that matter. 

Here's a real life scenario:
Me: "Come Caleb"
Caleb: runs in the other direction or ignores my command.

Caleb: "Come Mommy"
Me: "I can't Caleb, I'm doing something right now".........

After a few times of me reprimanding him for not coming when I called I realized something: "I don't come when he calls me".  He's replicating my behavior.  I'm not re-enforcing what I need him to do by not responding to his requests.  He is doing what I do.  So now....I come when he calls me. If I am in the middle of something I go to him, explain what I'm doing and tell him I'll be back in a few minutes.  He's still not coming 100% of the time that I call...but he's almost  2 years old...I'm just shy of 34 years old.  I have to model the type of behavior I want him to have (not the other way around).  He's only been on this earth for 2 years.  It is my responsibility as a parent to TRAIN him.  To TEACH.  To INSTRUCT.  It took a little while for him to stop saying: "I want banana" and to start saying: "May I have a banana please".  It's going to take time for the rest of it to fall into place too.  Especially with this Madness phase!

Children are like mirrors.  They show you the good, bad and the ugly parts of your behavior, habits and choice of language.  If you are a conscious parent you will understand (or try to figure out) why your child is either mis-behaving or displaying wonderful traits.  You will figure out how to be more effective and be willing to capitalize on your mistakes to ensure the relationship formed with your child is healthy and beneficial to him/her  as they grow into adulthood.  I'm praying I won't be the cause of a childhood trauma Caleb will need counseling for later!  Have mercy! Has anyone found the manual yet? :)

 Mr. Fresh Mouth....

I have a lot to learn for sure.  This Terrific Madness stage is throwing me for a loop and I've realized that  I'm not as patient as I thought.  I will be doing some research on this stage of development to better understand what's going on in his handsome little head!  I will be prayed up and well rested so I can help thwart the madness before it spins out of control.  I must confess....his behavior has added to my level of stress. Caleb has always been in the stress-free category.  Time to pull out the 11 tips (The Health Journey: 11 Natural Ways to Eliminate Stress )! I can't let this little guy take me out!!! I have to get it together!!!

Any thoughts, suggestions, or tips for those currently in or that have survived the Terrific Madness stage??? All help is welcome! :)