Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Parenting Dilemma

I need help.

Baby Bean is gradually getting better in his daytime sleeping (night continues in the same pattern, two or three brief feeds a night - I don't think he is hungry, I think he loves to nurse, but I am a breastfeeding mom so I need to honour his hunger cues). He takes a nap in the morning for about 45 minutes at roughly the same time each day and then sleeps a couple of hours in the swing in the afternoon.

I have been reading "The No Cry Nap Solution", which I find to be a very helpful book and one of the ideas is that you watch for the sleep signs and at the first sign the baby is tired, you put the baby down and the baby will magically fall asleep. This is beginning to work for us, not always and not without some help but after what we went through with Pk and sleep, I will do ANYTHING to make things better. On the other hand, getting Baby Bean down for the night has to be done by daddy. He is like an addict - if he smells milk, he is not going to sleep. I can get him down in the day but at night, it never works. Dh rocks him down for me, we put him in the swing to get him into a deeper sleep and then he is ready for bed.

Here's the problem. Pk seems to be determined to wake him up. This morning, when I was trying to get him down, she came into the room at least six times and tried everything to get my attention - bringing noisy toys, yelling, jumping on the bed. I was ready to kill her. On Tuesday nights, dh has a meeting. Normally, I just rock the screaming boy until he either gives up and dozes off or until dh gets home. It's not my favourite evening of the week. Tonight, dh managed to get him down just before he left and we put Baby Bean into the swing, which is right by the computer. Pk was watching her evening t.v. show and I thought I would take a few minutes to read my favourite blogs. She came running over, yelling at the top of her lungs and, of course, woke him up. It was one of those "stop and pray before I commit murder" moments.

So, here's the question. Is it unrealistic for me to expect her to follow my directions when I ask her to be quieter when I am trying to get him down? Before you suggest it, let me say that we have tried tying doing fun stuff with mom to Baby Bean going down. This morning, she had been asking persistently to be allowed to paint and do glitter and we had agreed that once the baby was down, I would devote myself to her and we would paint. She is getting quite a bit of one-on-one mommy time, this isn't that she is being neglected. I am having trouble deciding what would be appropriate here - I am angry, really angry, and she digs in so I don't know what to think. I have tried to discuss it with her (she changes the subject), I tried to role play it with her tonight but she just kept insisting that the toy in the swing that was supposed to be Baby Bean was hers and she wanted to take it out, and I haven't had the heart to impose a strict punishment since I wasn't entirely convinced that my expectations are reasonable. I want to lower the boom (actually, I want to run screaming into her room when she is sleeping a few times to help her to experience it from the other side but since I would then have to deal with a hysterical child, I don't imagine that I would get much payoff).

So, am I being unrealistic? She is three (just turned) and she is part of this family and from where I see it, much of what goes on here revolves around her and she needs to learn that sometimes, consideration for others will crimp her plans a bit. Tonight, I refused to read to her - I explained that daddy was out and that, when mummy is alone, if Baby Bean is awake and upset, I don't have time to read. Is that harsh or am I being too easy on her? Opinions would be very welcome.


  1. I don't think it is too much to expect of her. I think, generally, parents expect to little of their children, excusing and blaming bad behavior on age. I expect a lot of my girls, and they are beginning to live up to those expectations.

    I don't really have any advice for what you should do, but I think there should be a consequence for waking him up.

  2. I do think she should be able to do it - they are gaining some self-control, though not a ton yet, and she is a smart kid.

    That said, when PP was three years old she was famous for challenging and testing every line, so you may be seeing some of that as well as some acting out over changes and so on.

    Certainly stick with it and try to reason it out with her about how she will have privileges if she helps, how you are depending on her, and how she will lose out on things if she's not going to do as you ask - all of those combined are pretty powerful, and she is certainly ready to understand, if not consistently comply!

    But, still, three takes patience and sometimes sending them to their room to avoid jail time. If it makes you feel any better, I yelled A LOT the year PP was three. I really wasn't happy with my parenting at all that year, but there are limits to human patience, and three-year-olds will push well past them. Give yourself some slack, too - you are under the stress of a new baby AND a three-year-old. you aren't Gandhi! Who is? (I mean, besides him, obviously.)

  3. It's so interesting. We have noticed a clear pattern with Pk - when she is approaching a new milestone, she is unbearable and then once she passes it, things really calm down. As I wrote in another post, she went from being basically not toilet trained last Wednesday to being in underwear for all but sleep in four days with only two accidents and now she is a different child. I have fingers and toes crossed that we have passed this big hurdle and things will calm down.
    You are right, though, Kittenpie, right now, it feels all about rewards and consequences. It's not really a way of parenting that I especially enjoy but it works. We are noticing that after more of the battles are won by the grown-ups, the resistence is diminshing.
    Love the Gandha comment!

  4. I don't know, it is difficult sometimes I think to know what to do in that situation. I'm fairly lucky in that my daughter doesn't go screaming into where our son is sleeping, and when I put him down for a nap, she is there with me, watching me put him down. "Nigh nigh" she will say as we leave the room.

    There are times where she wakes him up... mainly when she doesn't realize he is there, sleeping. Then she will proceed to tell me he is crying, which I find adorable, haha.

    I guess I don't really have any advice... sorry...