Sunday, January 19, 2014

Not In Charge

I'll admit it. I'm not in charge of my child.  I'm not sure where I went wrong, but P is definitely in charge.  It seems his will is stronger than mine.  He can reduce me to tears.  The stubbornness is epic.

Yesterday he went until 5 pm on 1 PediaSure and flavored water.  Because he only wanted chocolate milk and I won't let him live on that. Then he acquiesced and ate some crackers and a banana.  He eats only a few things.  He WILL NOT try new foods.  How he continues to grow is beyond me.  I can't force him.  I despair of him ever eating like a normal person.  It just seems to get worse the older he gets.  Typical conversation: "Want chocolate milk."  "You can have crackers or a banana or 'juice'..." "Want chocolate milk."  "No, I told you what you can have."  "WANT CHOCOLATE MILK."  "No."  "Want juice."

He refuses baths a lot.  This is a kid who normally loves baths and swimming and water.  But god forbid he be clean.  Sometimes I just can't deal with the battle, so he just gets dirty.  Last night I sucked it up, dealt with the screaming, writhing mess of my near-preschooler, and got him in the bath.  It was horrid.  Most times I just don't have the energy.  He wins.  I surrender.  At least in the summer he was in the pool everyday so I could pretend he was clean.

Sleep.  He wakes up every night.  Many nights he crawls on the couch with Hubby (who sleeps there because it makes his back hurt less), but often he decides it's party time at some godawful hour.  And throws a tantrum if you don't give in to his want for the phone or the tablet or whatever.  Last night he was pulling toys out and generally making a racket and a mess.  At like 1 am.  Hubby usually deals with him, but those nights we are all affected.  I swear he has insomnia.

The TV.  It's his.  The battle is not worth it to me most of the time.  He screams, shrieks.  He is horrid.  And god forbid we don't give in to a whim.  Hitting.  He hits.  Time outs?  Won't stay in them.  "Stop that or you get a time out.  Do you want time out?"  "Okay."  You can see how effective this is.

I'm not sure where I lost the disciplinarian battle.  I try.  I really do.  Maybe it's just toddler/preschooler hell.  Perhaps in the next year we will see some improvement.  I can hope, right?  It's normal for them to be evil and horrid at this age, right?  I've heard the terms Terrible Twos, Terrorist Threes, Threenager.  I get them.  I do.

I should note that he is also incredibly loving and has a great laugh and is such a joy a lot of the time.  But I feel like he is definitely in charge and as though I have failed as a parent because my toddler is in charge.  Oy.  Parenthood is not easy.  Rewarding, but hard as hell.


  1. Oi. Sounds rough. Here are some thoughts -- though I'm sure you've already considered most of them!

    With the chocolate milk, have you ever tried simply saying, "I said 'no' to the chocolate milk" and then refuse to engage in the conversation any more? If you offer him options and he turns them down, that should be it. Move on to the next topic -- then he'll learn that he can't engage you on this topic _and_ if he says no to the options he doesn't get anything at all.

    Would he tolerate being wiped down with a damp cloth better than being in the bath?

    With the TV, I'd honestly consider just getting rid of it. I'm sure any enjoyment you get out of it isn't worth the hassle the fights make!

    Good luck as you persevere through this stage.

  2. P reminds me of Bobby a year ago in so many ways. I don't say this lightly, and I don't want to offend, but have you had him evaluated? I still go back and forth on whether or not Bobby is truly autistic or just has autistic behaviors due to something else, but I can tell you that therapy has been a godsend.

  3. I have to agree with Michele. Some of this could be just terrible toddler stuff. But kids on the spectrum can be very precocious (like P's reading). They can be very rigid (like P is with food and baths and activities). It might not be a bad idea to look into an evaluation for him. Great things can be done with early intervention therapy; I really wish Riley had been diagnosed when he was younger.

  4. I do agree with aryanhwy, if there not a behavioural issue (very valid point raised by Michele), then you should not engage. I know it's really hard, Oliver must be calling mamma about 200 times in 20 minutes, seriously, and we are in the "why" phase too. Sometimes I just say "because I said so" and leave it. If he doesn't engage with time out, than you take time out. You leave the room and tell him you need time out as you are feeling angry and need to cool down. He has to leave you alone. With Oliver we said that the kitchen is a cry-free zone. If he wants to cry he goes out in the corridor, if he wants to stay in the kitchen than stop with the whining.
    Big hugs

  5. I'm so glad the other ladies that you might know better were able to express what I wanted to the day you wrote of his obsession with letters and reading. These, along with many behaviors you just described, are red flags for spectrum tendencies. I am an early intervention speech pathologist and have enjoyed reading your blog for some time, but didn't feel comfortable laying that out there since I don't know you well. Please know that early intervention is a wonderful thing. It sounds like P is very high functioning and you could just use a little guidance on how to deal with some of the sensory sensitivities he might have that are interrupting eating and other routines, like baths. Best wishes.


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