Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A New Wave of Frustration

Every time I think "This isn't so tough. I think we could handle another kid", I get worried and prepare to buckle up. Lani and I were just talking about how kids are in a constant state of phases. There's a good phase, followed by a tough phase, then a tantrum phase, then a breakthrough which results in a good phase. 16 months into this and I've got that much figured out.....I think.

When Will and I got home from visiting Lani, we walked right into a rough phase. A phase of Will trying to communicate with us and tell us what he wanted. It was full of tantrums that were almost non-stop at times. That lasted almost 2 weeks. These phases, for Will (and us), at least, usually mean that his whole world is turned upside down, including sleep. All of his energy gets focused on the new skill about to break, so he has to re-learn, and we have to re-teach, sleeping, while we are sleep deprived and frustrated. It is a rough phase for everyone.

Then last week it was our great phase. He was happy 90% of the time. Full of smiles and laughs along with the few words he's managed to eek out into conversation to help us figure out what the heck he's asking for.

Now we're back into a little phase of frustration. Only this is new. Hitting is on the top of the list, followed by 4 time outs in the last 24 hours. Sometimes, yes, it's sporadic and he just gets excited and arms go flailing and one lands in our face. Last night, he was the most deliberate he's ever been. Hubby told Will to put this big truck on the floor instead of rolling it on the coffee table. He gave Hubby his "punk face" as its now called (puckered lips, squinted eyes...he just looks like a punk because he's not happy about what you just told him to do, or not do), got up, walked 4 steps and smacked Hubby right in the face. TIME OUT!

This morning was equally as entertaining... We are all eating breakfast nicely. Then he decides he's done eating and proceeds to start throwing his food on the floor. Admittedly, I yell "NOOOOO! STOOOPPPP!!!" too loud, which I know doesn't help, but I can't help it. It is my gut reaction because I hate cleaning up half of his plate of gooey, half chewed food off of my kitchen floor, walls, chairs, etc. Sometimes it's like a windshield wiper turns on and there go his arms, and there goes the food...everywhere. I saw his "done" look and sound, so I asked him "Are you done?" and what does he do? Throws his yogurt with the spoon on the floor. SPLAT! But then he takes another bite of bread. Ugh. Fine. Eat some more. I say, again, calmly but with conviction "When you are done, say 'All done!'" and I do the sign for "done", kinda like Jazz Hands...

Not more than 2 seconds later, there go the wiper arms. Are you kidding me?! That's it! TIME OUT! I cleaned off his hands and face quickly, yanked him out of his high chair, and in the new - most effective - time out spot he went. He was having time outs in the corner of the living room. This works when the TV is off, however when it is on, it's a great TV-watching spot... So today we are using the corner of the kitchen. He could sit and watch me clean up his mess as I proceeded to tell him "This is bad! Do not throw your food! Bad! When you are done, just say 'Done!'", and he sat in the corner and cried.

As awful as it sounds, when he is crying and half wiggling in the corner, I feel like I'm making progress. It's when the time outs are quiet that worries me because he's not getting it. This morning, I got through to him...I think.

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